CB: How has covering war, terrorism, political intrigue, and natural disasters prepared you for this assignment?
SG: I have been covering and leading coverage of big, complex stories for many years. During the past six years as AP bureau chief in Jerusalem, I have led a large group of journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. I have also helped lead our coverage in Iraq and Afghanistan, and my experience includes covering a number of disasters, including devastating landslides in Venezuela, an earthquake in Colombia and hurricanes in Mexico and Puerto Rico. I spent over a decade in South America covering the drug and guerrilla wars, and spent quite a few years in Asia as well. I hope these experiences have given me a deep understanding of our core mission as journalists - to bear witness and to tell a story, and to do so in the most interesting, compelling way possible.
CB: The effects and consequences of the spill will obviously be with us for a long time. So, is this a permanent position, and how might it change over time?
SG: I expect the position to last about a year, but it could go even longer depending on how long the crisis lasts. Clearly we’re talking about months and years, not days or weeks, when we look at the devastating, long-term impact on life in the Gulf of Mexico.
CB: This week the Project for Excellence reported that, “After a brief absence, the Gulf oil spill returned to the top of the news agenda last week. But the level of recent coverage suggests that the story that has dominated the mainstream media for more than two months is finally losing some steam.” As time goes on, how do you keep the public engaged with this story and guard against reader fatigue?
SG: This is another big challenge - to find fresh angles and new and compelling ways to tell the story. By focusing on the lives of real people, by uncovering stories that no one else has told, or by investigating omissions and wrongdoings that are of keen interest to the public, I believe we can keep the public engaged.