Beyond “Voicing Over Pictures”

CNN’s Dan Rivers, one of few Western journalists able to report from Myanmar last week, tells Howard Kurtz on yesterday’s Reliable Sources why he decided to show his face on camera (thereby alerting government to his presence/identity ):

[W]e spent the first 24 hours doing reports anonymously and then we decided collectively with my managers at CNN that we were going to have much more impact in our reporting if I could look down the barrel of a camera and tell people directly how bad the situation is rather than just voicing over pictures which tends to kind of wash over people. A lot of disasters get covered, you know, you see a lot of the terrible scenes from around the world. It is much more effective television and effective communication if I can sit there and people can see me at the scene and [I can] tell people directly how bad it is.

How bad is it?

As Rivers reported last Friday:

It feels as if this government is trying to stop the world from seeing what’s happening here…[T]he macabre… contorted bodies that litter this landscape… No evidence of any aid. We have to leave this area before we’re arrested. The people we say good-bye to are without help, have little food, are profoundly traumatized…. living in fear of this military regime that seems determined to hush up the scale of this tragedy.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.