In this candid, intimate account, an award-winning 20-year veteran NPR correspondent takes readers behind the scenes of the major events of the time, showing what it's really like gathering the news on the front lines.In this candid, intimate account, an award-winning 20-year veteran NPR correspondent takes readers behind the scenes of the major events of the time, showing what it's really like gathering the news on the front lines.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-07-24 This absorbing review of newsworthy events and intriguing people by an award-winning reporter is also a subtle manual about journalism. Even as Burnett looks back at his nearly 30 years as a newsman, the essays remain immediate. In "Katrina: The Big One," not only does he detail how "the bizarre becomes normal," he explains how satellite phones work. When embedded with the First Marine Division Band in Iraq, he conveys the disorientation of a sandstorm as well as the difficulties faced by reporters in handling misinformation, bad news and "the lubricant of war fighting" profanity. Turning to Waco, Tex., Burnett assesses contrary depictions of David Koresh's and the FBI's actions and considers the implications of the journalists' adoption of the terms "cult" and "compound." In Guatemala, he suffers the disquieting sense of "imperiling everyone we interviewed" and the frustration of being "an eyewitness to history [while unable to] get through to my editor." In reporting from Kosovo, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Burnett places his translators and fixers in the foreground: "People don't realize how much of what they learn about foreign news involves this invisible but indispensable link in news gathering." Radio depends on words, not pictures, and Burnett, an NPR regular for 20 years, brings that auditory clarity, imagination and freshness to all he touches. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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