Reporter’s Pocket book: Masking Russia’s Ukraine battle as an American correspondent

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Reporter’s Notebook: Covering Russia’s Ukraine war as an American correspondent


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ODESA, Ukraine — A man right here in Odesa who imported furnishings was now serving to refugees. I interviewed him for eight minutes. I used to be in search of a 15-second soundbite. He talked about individuals who arrived from bombed-out cities with nothing.

After the interview, the photographer, Pohl, went to movie tables of empty sneakers lined up in pairs. The furnishings importer came to visit to me and mentioned he was Jewish.

Then he mentioned in English, “It is like a second genocide. First they kill us as a result of we’re Jewish. Now they kill us… as a result of we’re Ukrainian.”

Usually, essentially the most pivotal sound bites occur proper after the digicam goes off.

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits a coaching base of the Nationwide Guard, as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues, in Odesa area, Ukraine June 18, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout by way of REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

I received used to creating one-minute thirty-second experiences in Chechnya. Two soundbites, a standup, three graphs of observe. Begin with the strongest video, put the blocks collectively, a minute thirty.

Then it was movie, have a look at video, write to photos, edit, feed a taped report, a several-day course of. Now it’s speak, dwell over photos.

The position of fixer is close to the underside rung in TV. Normally you already know two languages and assist a Western crew get round in a nasty place. Then, fixers study the following job up. They do not fly dwelling. Areas of unrest like South Africa or Yugoslavia produce a era of producers and reporters.

BORIS JOHNSON MAKES SECOND SURPRISE VISIT TO UKRAINE

A Ukrainian serviceman looks at a self-propelled howitzer on a road in the Kharkiv region on May 17.

A Ukrainian serviceman seems at a self-propelled howitzer on a highway within the Kharkiv area on Could 17.
(Sergey Bobok/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

My first job as a fixer was to inform the Russian driver when the American correspondent needed to return to the bureau for lunch. When low on rubles, the American correspondent would ask for “googles.”

“Get me some googles,” he would say, forward of his time.

Subsequent, I held a light-weight on a well-known anchor in Crimson Sq..

UKRAINE GRANTED EU CANDIDATE STATUS, FIRST STEP TOWARD MEMBERSHIP

TOPSHOT - Ukrainian soldiers rest at their position near Lyman, eastern Ukraine, on April 28, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Ukrainian troopers relaxation at their place close to Lyman, japanese Ukraine, on April 28, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photograph by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)
(YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

“Good night from Moscow,” he would say, then repeatedly. I can nonetheless hear it. Gorbachev had simply resigned from the Communist Get together. 9 occasions, Good night from Moscow. Good night.

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Air raid siren right here in Odesa, a protracted, regular whine. It took me a second to appreciate what it was. Folks continued to stroll on the sidewalk in a traditional tempo, moms with youngsters, small canines on leashes. They anticipate the missiles will fly over Odesa.

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