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Worst most shameful reporting of all time.

If you want to know another reason why our business is in the crapper read this shite from Haiti in Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/11/haiti-in-the-time-of-cholera.html

I barely have words to describe my feelings.

by les stone at 2010-11-14 18:08:05 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

wow

really disappointed to find out that they don’t even have a comments section at the end.

by Allan Lissner | 14 Nov 2010 18:11 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
oh, correction, there is a comments section. i must have missed it the first time.

by Allan Lissner | 14 Nov 2010 18:11 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Les, this seems to be making the rounds on the web, and kicking up a lot of dust.

I’ve never been to Haiti – I know you’ve spent quite a bit of time there, but anyway – I’m not getting the reaction.

The most unusual thing about this report, as far as I can see, is its honesty.

Why’s everyone so angry at the writer?

by teru kuwayama | 14 Nov 2010 20:11 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Teru, there are so many reasons to be angry. One of largest for me is his self indulgence. Writing this in first person about himself and his many insecurities in a News Magazine such as Newsweek is in my opinion amateurish at the very least and disrespectful of the people and the many serious stories going on here. There are great writers who have written about Haiti for many years who really know the place. Writing such as this has no place in serious journalism. I think the editors at Newsweek should be totally embarrassed.

by les stone | 14 Nov 2010 20:11 | Claryville NY, United States | | Report spam→
By the way I’ve been here in Haiti for 3 weeks and maybe that colors my perception, but I’m not the only one upset over this. I usually don’t weigh in on threads on lightstalkers, I just felt strongly that something should be said about it.

by les stone | 14 Nov 2010 20:11 (ed. Nov 14 2010) | Claryville NY, United States | | Report spam→
My reaction was much the same as Teru’s. It may not be great writing but at least it doesn’t make a claim to a fake objectivity.

by DPC | 14 Nov 2010 21:11 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
When the Newsweek merger with The Daily Beast finally takes place I’ll bet that Tina Brown won’t let a story like this one get published….

by [former member] | 14 Nov 2010 21:11 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
I think the article reads more like the diary of a privileged and sheltered American being exposed to “Poverty” for the first time than the report of a serious professional journalistic publication. It’s the self-indulgence Les mentions, combined with the the utter lack of respect for, or interest in, the people whose stories this writer was claiming to be there to report on.

The way he freaks out and is so obviously out of his depth would be comical if it were a fictional satire on duckrabbit’s blog, but the fact that all those people had to stand around and watch this Newsweek correspondent having a panic attack at the mere sight of their presence is just outrageous. What did they do to make him feel like he was living through “a bad horror movie”? they had gathered around the white SUV and spoke in a language he couldn’t understand … and they smiled back when the driver “did something crazy. He said hello to them. He smiled.” The horror!

And then the guy tries to appease them by throwing beef jerky at them like he’s being attacked by a pack of mangy dogs!!??

the photographer, meanwhile, had wandered off on his own doing his thing without any confrontation by the looks of it.
I did have a good laugh though at the writer’s “note to budding journalism students: never let the photographer decide where you’re going on assignment.”

by Allan Lissner | 14 Nov 2010 22:11 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Not having been to Haiti, I’ll admit my own opinion on the subject may not have the backing of some of you on Lightstalkers who have been there…but I agree with Les and Neal, the writing leaves a lot to be desired.

“Earthquakes? Cholera? Hurricanes? What’s one more dead woman on the road after a kid has seen all that?” That may be the attitude the writer’s come across, but without some kind of connection or quote to a local who expressed it, it almost seems like it’s the writers opinion. The further in I read, with the writer spending most of his time within reach of his SUV, the less impressed I am.

It just strikes me as an incredibly insensitive story written by somebody without any emotional connection to the people he’s reporting on. The first person narrative just doesn’t work.

Again, I haven’t been there, and maybe I’m coming down too hard on the guy. My own writing is terrible (probably why I stick with the photo side of the business.) At best, I think he would have benefited from a seasoned editor.

by CS Muncy | 14 Nov 2010 22:11 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
@ Allan Lisssner: agreed, but maybe that’s exactly who the reporter is and what he felt. In that sense it’s honest reporting.

by DPC | 14 Nov 2010 22:11 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
@DPC: You can be an honest reporter and still be a mediocre, insensitive writer. I read this thing over again, and now I’m just kind of pissed. I agree with Allan, he does present the image of a privileged white guy who’s never been around poverty, doing his best to avoid it in a giant SUV and spending most of his time in the hotel. I could very well be wrong about all of this, but Jesus…if the guy had tried to throw me some beef jerky, in that kind of situation, I probably would have gone nuts, too.

His photographer, on the other hand, seems to know what he’s doing.

by CS Muncy | 14 Nov 2010 23:11 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
for me it’s just that there are so many stories that are important — to spend time making a story that’s more about you than the people who you are reporting about.

perhaps it’s honest but it’s still trivial given the context in which it is published… and to be trivial about haiti is distasteful.

by Mark Ovaska | 14 Nov 2010 23:11 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
I’m not saying that what he is is good, just that I would rather it wasn’t hidden.

@ Mark Ovaska: perfectly coherent good points.

by DPC | 14 Nov 2010 23:11 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
You know, I think this may be something that most readers would actually relate to well.
Sure, he doesn’t come across as hardened or experienced for the situation, but then again, most Newsweek readers could probably relate to the urge to stuff beef jerky and fivers through a cracked-open window to get away from a situation they saw as potentially hostile.

by [former member] | 14 Nov 2010 23:11 | Pajama Factory, 17701, United States | | Report spam→
Wow. I agree with you Les. I’ve been to pretty much all the places this writer has gone to and it sounds like such a joke. It seems he did all the typical stuff that’s been reported on a million times. The writing sounds like some 20 year old just got plucked off the mainline and dropped into an area where poorer people live. The writing just perpetuates stereotypes and does not do anything to give an in depth story of a Haitian.

I agree this reporting is not helpful at all.

It reads like some “wow look what I did” The story is about him not the people for sure. I understand the whole readers can relate to this. But I wouldn’t consider this journalism or at least journalism that does anything to broaden ones understanding. The readers already think they’d be terrified if they were in Citi Soleil, they already thing dead bodies lie all around Haiti like trees ect ect. So what’s the point? Seems like self indulgence.

by Joseph Molieri | 15 Nov 2010 02:11 (ed. Nov 15 2010) | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
DPC: “maybe that’s exactly who the reporter is and what he felt. In that sense it’s honest reporting.”
CS Muncy: “You can be an honest reporter and still be a mediocre, insensitive writer”

i agree with both of these comments. The thing is, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to see a report like this on, say, MTV or something like that. But seeing this published in Newsweek does surprise me.

I know the attitudes expressed in the article are not at all uncommon among many privileged people traveling in unfamiliar places, but it’s not that common to see it expressed so ‘honestly’ in writing, and then published in such an influential publication for millions to see.

Admittedly, I haven’t picked up a Newsweek in years so maybe I’m expecting too much. Can you imagine Nachtwey, for example, refusing to get out of the SUV?

by Allan Lissner | 15 Nov 2010 04:11 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
I think we may be missing something important here.
Tuttle did write a more traditionally reported piece as well: http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/08/inside-haiti-s-cholera-zone.html
The first person “look at me” narrative appears to be a web-only blog-style account.
More and more publications are ask their reporters to do these, a lot of us hate it, some of us enjoy it.
In any case, our editors tell us that the readers like them, that they generates web traffic. (Mind you, I don’t know how they can tell if that means people like it — many of the hits on this Haiti piece were people clicking on links like “Take a look at this shit …”).
Now, obviously, the unique page views figure is not the only way to judge the quality of writing, and I agree with most of the previous posters that this was pretty cringemaking stuff, but if Newsweek thinks it can make enough money to fund this guy’s first article by dragging in the punters to read his shitty second one, then that’s what they’ll have to do, no?

by Dave Clark | 15 Nov 2010 11:11 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
This is a letter a friend of mine wrote to Newsweek, she has given me permission to put it here, she is not a photographer. BTW, everybody makes good points here in this thread, thanx everybody for respecting each others opinions:

I had to look twice at the author’s face to make sure it was an adult and not a high school aged " budding journalist" who wrote this piece. I am not sure when Newsweek decided to send writers of this caliber on assignments into complex, sorrowful, urgent, intense areas like Haiti – for their “first trip to the country” so they could work out their issues with people of color. Yes, that seems to be the overwhelming theme of this piece of garbage. The author is scared and then he realizes he shouldn’t be, they are just poor people and if you throw some five dollar bills at them, they will leave you in peace even if you break into a visible sweat while the ignition turns over several times before allowing you to escape from the faces of your racist fear.Then you can cry for them from the edge of your nice clean hotel bed as you ponder their fate as the hurricane begins.

Please, someone send a book on the history of Haiti to this man! Please, someone inform him of the billions of dollars of aid that has never made it to Haiti since the earthquake, of the way the world has turned its back on this country after an earthquake so crippling and horrible that it actually created an opportunity to rebuild this nation in a safe and reasonable manner for the first time in hundreds of years. Someone tell him about Monsanto sending their patented seed “donations” that Haitian farmers burned. Someone tell him about the children who cannot afford the annual school fee that is probably equal to the amount of five dollar bills Mr. Tuttle managed to find in his money bag, which I am sure was carefully strapped to his stomach for safekeeping. His full stomach. Oh, Mr. Tuttle, save your tears from your comfortable hotel bed and help the people of Haiti by surrendering your pen. You have no business writing about what is happening there. Absolutely. None.

Ronni Blumenthal
Sarasota, Florida

by les stone | 15 Nov 2010 12:11 | Claryville NY, United States | | Report spam→
i could be wrong, doubtless i will be told that i am but,

the article has served its purpose, at first it seemed honest yet poorly written though would you accuse salinger or hemingway of being bad writers because of their choice of words, their style differs from the norm and is accepted as such. this is perhaps the point, it is not written in the ‘typical’ journalistic style. it doesn’t list the facts in the usual deadpan style, it gives you an emotional report.

it tells a story of a writer who is in a situation out of his depth, not out of his depth due to his inexperience but due to the gravity of the situation in haiti. he doesn’t have to tell the reader that he returned to his safe hotel, that he cried, that he gave people $5 bills that were fought over. he does so because that is the story he wants to tell. a story of a devastated country, of the futility of his presence and one of media fatigue where you are expected to pay well for a story.

i won’t deny that its simplistic, possibly amateurish “sounding” but it gets the point across in a way that has a greater chance of striking a chord with the majority of the american public.

for those accusing him of being self indulgent, perhaps you should read the article a second time, especially before you attack mr. tuttle personally.

by sbramin | 15 Nov 2010 13:11 | warsaw, Poland | | Report spam→
@SBramin: I’m not attacking him personally, or at least I hope I’m not. Having re-read his article multiple times, I’m attacking his style of writing, his method of pursuing the story, his treatment of his story subjects, and the decision of his editor to send an untrained, inexperienced writer into a disaster area. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice guy, but his writing demonstrates a dangerous level of inexperience that’s ill suited to the environment he was reporting from.

And only because you bring it up, I would absolutely accuse a writer like Hemingway of shameless self indulgence in a great many of his stories. :-)

by CS Muncy | 15 Nov 2010 16:11 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
you have me on hemingways self indulgence, i was referring only to his grammatical style.

i don’t know this fellow tuttle but i feel people (especially on the net) are too quick to make assumptions. he has worked worked for newsweek since 1987, true that might mean he was the mail boy for 23 years but i find that hard to believe.

as pointed out he also wrote a different more traditional story !http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/08/inside-haiti-s-cholera-zone.html

i say he took a risk by writing a different kind of story but that doesn’t mean he should resign.

what i find interesting, is that he doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of the foreign journalist. and one can take it two ways, he is incompetent as some are saying or he did so purposefully because he thinks there is something wrong with the situation. and part of the animosity towards could stem from a feeling of insecurity (perhaps guilt) from other journalists whom make their livelihood on the suffering of others. (i know i am treading on dangerous ground) perhaps he meant only himself, his inability to make a difference, his guilt in staying in a ‘safe’ hotel while others lived ‘on garbage’, the insanity of $5 and what it means to a well off american journalist and what it could mean to a poor haitian.

just a thought.

by sbramin | 15 Nov 2010 21:11 | warsaw, Poland | | Report spam→
I don’t think he should resign, and god knows my writing isn’t particularly good, either. Like I said, my criticism isn’t directly personal, but rather it is an attack on his writing style and decisions on the ground. I believe he made some very, very bad decisions, and in doing so he made the story about himself, and not the people he’s been sent to cover. I understand that many papers are seeking to connect to their readers with a “blog” style section, but even this goes too far. It personalizes the writer in the eyes of the reader while adding nothing significant to the overall story.

I’m not insecure in my position. My job as a photojournalist isn’t to exploit the pain and misery of others, but rather to tell their story in a meaningful way so that readers at home can empathize and perhaps, in small but meaningful ways, help them. His behavior, even if unintentional, degraded the subjects of his story. That’s my biggest problem with the article.

by CS Muncy | 15 Nov 2010 22:11 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
“After an hour or more of interviews standing in muddy garbage, my fear slowly dissolved into sympathy and admiration.”

…oh PLEASE

by Pablo Delano | 16 Nov 2010 14:11 | Hartford, Connecticut, United States | | Report spam→
This is excellent criticism. Especially for someone who is rather new like myself. The dynamics that mark an experienced person reporting in a developing nation have definitely been highlighted here. So let me ask, what would have constituted a good story?

by Andrew D | 17 Nov 2010 04:11 | Minnesota, United States | | Report spam→
Generally, journalism is about reporting the news, not becoming the news.

I think someone mentioned above that the story was more of a blog post and that the writer’s print piece was standard. There are different types of journalism—-entertainment, hard, soft, travel and you could see how the reporting type could have some lateral movement in regard to the writer being a part of the story. So in travel, there is a preference, like the NYT’s Sunday section with the frugal travelers piece on Los Angeles with a bicycle.

There could even be an argument where if a journalist is in that realm of a public figure, hard news reporting might have some softer edges where they have a personal viewpoint and it can come into the story. 60 minutes is a “magazine” news format although it can have hard news as well, like the interview with Obama. Anderson Cooper’s persona could have possibly done this same story and report it the same way and maybe it would not have had generated the same reactions.

To bring this back to what we do—-photojournalism—-some of the best advice given to me, after I asked how close I should get?… was “don’t become the news…” and yet if you adhere to what Robert Capa said “If your photos aren’t any good, you’re not close enough.” It’s a fine line but I don’t think good a pj would have it any other way.

If you pay attention to what took place with the photographer in the report it seems he did just that.

bro

by David Bro | 17 Nov 2010 04:11 (ed. Nov 17 2010) | Orange County, california, United States | | Report spam→
“of all time”??

by Ian Taylor | 17 Nov 2010 07:11 | hong kong, Hong Kong | | Report spam→
The link for the article is not responding. I would really like to read it. Anyone have a copy of the article or alternative link?

by [former member] | 17 Nov 2010 11:11 | Agadir, Morocco | | Report spam→
This is awful.
The worst points have already been highlighted earlier in this thread.
Feeding people beef jerky…
I’m not impressed with Newsweek.

by Bradley Secker | 17 Nov 2010 12:11 | Berlin, Germany | | Report spam→
OK. I managed to get the page.

First of all I cannot understand why this reporter was sent to Haiti. Was he not briefed prior to going? I believe he was being honest about his experiences but the article should never have been published.

If Newsweek wanted a reporter to report than they should have sent someone who had experience working in such an environment, someone with empathy for the people they were writing about. The article is a bastardized example of gonzo journalism gone wrong.

I just spent the last 4 days travelling with a Nigerian man from Mauritania to Morocco. It was a chance encounter on a bus and we became friends(we shared a love of football) I am not going to go into the details but he is trying to get to Europe or Shangri La as he believes it’s a paradise where anything is possible.

He has left his family, sold many of his possessions, is risking detention and deportation to reach this Shangri La so he can provide a better life for his family. We had many long discussions about his perceptions of Europe and the Europeans perceptions or misperceptions about migrants from Africa.

His dignity humbled me. If only the Newsweek reporter had the guts to get out of the SUV and approach the angry men and ask them their story instead of writing his own.

by [former member] | 17 Nov 2010 12:11 | Agadir, Morocco | | Report spam→
If only the Newsweek reporter had the guts to get out of the SUV and approach the angry men and ask them their story instead of writing his own. – Mark Seager

some of the best advice given to me, after I asked how close I should get?… was “don’t become the news…” – DBro

Good stuff.

by Andrew D | 17 Nov 2010 16:11 | Minnesota, United States | | Report spam→
Les, I’m glad to know a real pro is out there (you) and the Haiti story will be covered in a true way.

by [former member] | 17 Nov 2010 17:11 | | Report spam→
Les, thanks for starting this string and getting others to have a look at this utter crap that Newsweek is calling journalism. First of all it is terrible writing and really bad journalism. As Stuart said in his comment on their website: Tuttle writes: “I don’t think I want to know what he said” What kind of journalist would ever write that? He doesn’t want to know what he said?? Is he serious? (Note to budding journalism students: you always want to know what he said.) And Tuttle continues to give out his weak and lame advice by telling budding journalism students not to let the photographer decide where to go? First of all what kind of message and lack of respect is he expressing here? Was he serious when he wrote that? Doesn’t he realize that as he hides away in his SUV with the windows rolled up the photographer is out there possibly in harms way getting the images that will be the first thing people see in the magazine and it is those images that is going to draw the reader into reading his crappy first person account of reality. This is awful journalism at it’s best and should be used as an example in journalism classes world wide of how NOT to write about disasters and human suffering. I really don’t buy the crying on the bed thing either….is this guy serious

by David Paul Morris | 17 Nov 2010 18:11 | Singapore, Singapore | | Report spam→
Andrew well if that’s the case then why bother going in the first place.

When you engage and listen you earn respect. When you stay detached for fear of being beaten or robbed or worse than you will never engage. Maybe if the writer and photographer had rolled up in a beat up local car instead of an SUV and got out and spoke to people than the writer might have filed a completely different story.

by [former member] | 17 Nov 2010 18:11 | Agadir, Morocco | | Report spam→
Sounds like you had a great experience and are on to a great story, Mark…
Tobie

by BignoseTW | 18 Nov 2010 10:11 | Taipei, Taiwan | | Report spam→
Not really. I was shooting something in Mauritania and met the man on the bus journey back to Morocco. The story is well know, economic migrant tries to make it to Europe. I could have asked to accompany him but that would have complicated his endeavour. Just a brief encounter.

Some journalists stay detached but write with empathy while others absorb themselves in their subjects. We all make mistakes and sometimes costly ones but you learn when it’s appropriate to get out and talk.

I remember vividly a situation when I was fresh. I was given a stern talking to by a seasoned journalist for being reckless. I did not know who he was until later that evening back at the hotel.

It was 1998 at a Serb checkpoint in central Kosovo. The paramilitary police were in a fire fight with KLA fighters about half a km further up the road. Several journalists and photographers were waiting at the checkpoint. I was in a car with another photographer and we asked if we could drive on? To our surprise the Serb paramilitaries at the checkpoint said if we wanted to risk our lives and our hire car than we could. We drove on and it was all over when we arrived at the scene. The other group drove up about 10 minutes later and the journalist rounded on us with real anger telling us we were dangerous and reckless.

The journalist was Kurt Schork who a few years later was ambushed after driving past a checkpoint into rebel territory in Sierra Leone and killed. Sometimes your luck is up.

Obviously there are places where it would be foolhardy to tempt fate, driving around Helmand independently, taking a leisurely stroll through the streets of Mogadishu looking for pirates.
Clearly this writer thought getting out of his SUV in Haiti represented the pinnacle of danger but he will never know.
It does take balls to do this job sometimes and admittedly I would be initially wary of walking around approaching people in Haiti as I have never been there. You put the feelers out and slowly build up an idea who and what you’re dealing with. Personally I would not drive around in a white SUV, would be more inclined of going around on a bicycle but that’s my style.

by [former member] | 18 Nov 2010 13:11 | Agadir, Morocco | | Report spam→
Jake- great work: http://jakeprice.com/haiti_cholera/

by [former member] | 18 Nov 2010 16:11 | | Report spam→
@NC, Jake: Agreed. Really great stuff.

by CS Muncy | 18 Nov 2010 16:11 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
wow, not to get off topic, but Jake Price’s stuff is pretty good. He uses the void so well. He makes you want to see what is just out of reach. IMHO, The pictures are good not for what you can see, but for what you can’t. It is like looking in a rippled pond on a cloudy day, and straining to see your reflection, wishing that the image was clearer. Wanting to see.

I spend so much time fighting the lack of light, this guy embraces it.

by Andrew D | 18 Nov 2010 18:11 | Minnesota, United States | | Report spam→
if i were given the responsibility to go to haiti, i certainly wouldn’t have taken pictures of myself standing amidst the rubble.

the whole thing wreaks of amateurism. it doesn’t matter what kind of journalism it is. it’s unfortunate that he wasted his and everyone else’s time writing about himself instead of focusing on the real story.

by Jacob Murphy | 18 Nov 2010 20:11 | Brooklyn, NY, United States | | Report spam→
Your first line hosts a good point Jacob!

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 18 Nov 2010 21:11 | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
I want to agree with most of the comments here so far: It’s not that the writer isn’t being honest or that his attitudes aren’t perhaps typical of a great many people today, they are. What’s upsetting is that he knows this, feels brave enough to write about it, but not brave enough to overcome what he knows are his own biases.

We were all young and beginners once. We made mistakes. We may have been insensitive and stupid. Hopefully, the lessons were learned quickly, and if we wrote about it publicly in the first person, we did so with more self-criticism and sense of our own need for growth.

There’s nothing wrong with first-person writing in journalism, nothing wrong with admitting failure. But recognize it as failure! Don’t defend it, don’t blame the more experienced (or just more sensitive and with better instincts) photographer. Don’t be a tool and a douce-bag.

Kurt Schork was an acquaintance (I want to say “friend” but I don’t want to over-play my connection), an inspiration, and as professional and compassionate a journalist as there was. In his capacity as Reuters Bureau Chief, and in mine as a photographer mostly on assignment for the NYT, I and many others would call him up on a regular basis to see what was going on, and he was always generous and insightful in his comments. I remember the time when we were both stuck for an afternoon at the Serbian Ministry of Information in Belgrade trying to get our accreditations. We made the best of it, the time passed quickly, and I was looking forward to getting to know him better. He was killed a year later.

Beginner correspondents will hopefully continue to have examples like Kurt to guide them, rather than just spew out nonsense.

by [former member] | 19 Nov 2010 00:11 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Alan I sense you are having a personal dig and as usual you have jumped to a conclusion.
Later that evening Kurt Schork approached me and the other photographer in the Grand Hotel in Pristina to explain why he lost his rag. We sat down and with beer in hand he taught me a very valuable lesson. Sorry if you thought I meant to disrespect your “acquaintance” but you have it totally wrong, not for the first time.

We all have to learn somehow and I was fortunate enough to be guided by one so highly regarded.

Anyway back to the topic we all make mistakes, I still make many (writing this reply is probably one of them) and the Newsweek writer may realise this one day. He is not really the culprit though as his employer could of and should have taught him a lesson straight away by not publishing the article and explaining to him why.

Good journalism is not only about the writer on the ground but about the editor(s) back in the office. Ultimately they are the ones responsible for this charade because they allowed the piece to run.

by [former member] | 19 Nov 2010 09:11 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
It is irresponsible to publish this kind of reporting in the context of “Newsweek” magazine. The idea of the news magazine dispatching someone off in a plane from NYC to cover a story has become a bit outdated, hasn’t it? There are knowledgable writers and terrific photographers all over…..or maybe its really about dispatching someone who will come back with exactly the story that the editors already had in mind? Which anyone who has been in this business long enough knows is exactly the case…..and is the reason that newbies or “star” photographers are sent off on these stories. They are easily manipulated and controlled, the one in their lack of experience and the other in the tacit, unspoken understanding that they, for the most part, are not going to rock the boat. The resulting mediocre product speaks for itself.

Where are the Haitian photographers and writers? Lets see, one, Daniel Morel was ripped off by Getty and others, and as for Haitian writers, or even writers and photographers who already have some context are over there, like Les, I would imagine, on their own dime. Richard Morse, who is not a journalist but an houngan and a musician, writes more credible tweets from PAP than anything you are going to read from a “correspondant.”

Take on the Clinton-Bush fund? Take on the Red Cross? Investigate the way that the wealthy Haitians manipulate US policy through the GOP? Much easier and cheaper to cover cholera and election deaths…

by [former member] | 19 Nov 2010 17:11 (ed. Nov 19 2010) | | Report spam→
Right on Andy, to clarify, I’ve been to Haiti about 15 times in the last 2 years and each and every one on my own dime, with almost no compensation at all. There are many journalists who are in same boat and that’s another reason reporting like this is a cruel joke on us all.

by les stone | 20 Nov 2010 00:11 | Claryville NY, United States | | Report spam→
Mark, no dig there, but thank you for telling us more of the story. I was just responding to your mentioning Kurt, and using my memories of him to explain my thoughts. Not a criticism. Actually we are in agreement on this one.

by [former member] | 20 Nov 2010 22:11 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
OK No problem. One does become defensive when they have been on the receiving end of condescending comments.

by [former member] | 21 Nov 2010 13:11 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/photogallery/gallery.cfm?id=4867&cat=audio-slideshow

by [former member] | 22 Nov 2010 12:11 | | Report spam→
Good work guys.

by [former member] | 22 Nov 2010 13:11 | | Report spam→
Thanks all for the thoughtful comments. Re the MSF slideshow, they’re doing tremendous work there, so dedicated and heartfelt. I often think about this one child who was saved by them. He was cradled in his fathers arms, so near to death and because they got the ambulance there in time this little boy will have a childhood, will continue to grow and explore. It’s an honor to be able to support such wonderful work.

by [former member] | 22 Nov 2010 13:11 | brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
It’s Gonzo journalism, right??

by diederik meijer | 22 Nov 2010 14:11 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Jake, yes the MSF doctors do a great job, as they did in the floods, food shortages, AIDS malaria, earthquake, tuberculosis crises (did I leave any out?)— as well as the Haitian doctors I might add, that are supported by Partners in Health— which actually promotes Haitian medicine by the Haitian community (amazing idea, train Haitians to take care of themselves) . The status quo of NGO’s triaging Haiti, while the root issues fail to be addressed should be unacceptable. But each generation now inherits a Haiti that becomes more and more a fait accompli, and this status quo maintained. The goal is that MSF is not needed in Haiti…….this has to be said as the context to your images, otherwise that little boy will not only have no childhood, but no adult life either.

Veterans like Les Stone have been through a lifetime of these images, and its painful for us to see that things are actually becoming worse, and the mainstream news media becoming more and more complicit. That this is the best story that Newsweek can come up with speaks volumes about what is happening at news magazines these days…..an houngan in Port au Prince will tell you more about Haiti than anything you read in the Times. But thats witchdoctor stuff, isn’t it? :)

by [former member] | 22 Nov 2010 15:11 (ed. Nov 22 2010) | | Report spam→
I wrote this in another venue, but I think it’s still true:

This sounds like the sort of story a tourist who took the wrong turn off the highway might tell to a crowd of guests at a cocktail party

by Akaky | 23 Nov 2010 23:11 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
This piece is effective because by focusing on his experience and by writing in first person, the writer allows audiences back home, i.e., here in the States, to read about someone LIKE THEMSELVES, and then IDENTIFY with the writer and consequently, CONNECT with the horrors EVEN MORE than more run of the mill third person narratives-ominiscient, but removed nonetheless from the pains. Consciousness, and the expansion of it so often needs the vehicle of a real, three dimensional PERSON to convey an experience.

by Anna Van Lenten | 24 Nov 2010 15:11 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Whereas Haitians are two dimensional people? Or one dimensional? Or not even people? Sorry – I’m not buying it.

by Scout Tufankjian | 24 Nov 2010 17:11 (ed. Nov 24 2010) | Brooklyn!, United States | | Report spam→
If you feel that Haitians are not three dimensional people in this piece, then you’re correct. I suppose I don’t take issue with that, because it’s so patently not the point of the piece, nor does the piece pretend to make that its point.

Rather than objective reporting on facts, to me the humanity of the piece had to do with the writer’s reactions to what he is seeing and experiencing. That he overrides his initial horrified, defensive posture and listens to people telling stories about their homes being razed, that he breaks down in his hotel room—to me, that’s not a diminished response to his outing.

by Anna Van Lenten | 24 Nov 2010 17:11 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
If you feel that Haitians are not three dimensional people in this piece, then you’re correct. I suppose I don’t take issue with that, because it’s so patently not the point of the piece, nor does the piece pretend to make that its point.

Rather than objective reporting on facts, to me the humanity of the piece had to do with the writer’s reactions to what he is seeing and experiencing. That he overrides his initial horrified, defensive posture and listens to people telling stories about their homes being razed, that he breaks down in his hotel room—to me, that’s not a diminished response to his outing.

by Anna Van Lenten | 24 Nov 2010 17:11 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
If you feel that Haitians are not three dimensional people in this piece, then you’re correct. I suppose I don’t take issue with that, because it’s so patently not the point of the piece, nor does the piece pretend to make that its point.

Rather than objective reporting on facts, to me the humanity of the piece had to do with the writer’s reactions to what he is seeing and experiencing. That he overrides his initial horrified, defensive posture and listens to people telling stories about their homes being razed, that he breaks down in his hotel room—to me, that’s not a diminished response to his outing.

by Anna Van Lenten | 24 Nov 2010 17:11 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Anna, with respect, I need to point out why, and these thoughts are only the beginning, I object to this piece of writing and I use the term very loosely. News used to be information, I think you have forgotten this. If you need to know how this writer “feels” that is more a private conversation in another venue. This is “Newsweek”, news, information, journalism. I would guess that most people care more about the situation in Haiti, not about the situation in this man’s mind. The NEWS is not about his feelings, and his genetic racism I might point out, the news is something else entirely. What he did is “diminish” the situation by giving us a view of his personal traumas, this is not journalism, this sort of “sharing” belongs to his therapist and his couch. And if the reaction of the “people” who you say respond to this sort of manipulation of their emotions is legitimate, then I say that we have been brought low and the intellect of the American people have been brought low, to the point that they no longer see the difference between journalism and entertainment. It is also, again I must point out, bad, ignorant writing and certainly not on a par with people who are professional journalists and really know about Haiti as much as a non Haitian can know. This is another tragedy of of “modern” internet journalism, (don’t let anybody tell you it is changing for the better); ANYBODY can write ANYTHING and it’s journalism. The point being, and I repeat, that it has no place in Newsweek or the NY Times or a plethora of other unfortunately dying professional journalistic venues. Furthermore, the writer does not “override” his horror, he revels in it, thinking that this is how most people might feel. He thinks this is somehow funny and humane, (again substituting himself for the people he is writing about). And you use the term “outing”, how appropriate, yes a picnic gone somehow bad, with ants and mosquitoes ruining his vacation. Now if he was a fine tragicomic writer, and this was on the opinion page, I would have given it a lot more slack, as it is, this is the sort of writing that is, and will always be an insult to journalists and the tragic situation people find themselves engulfed in. He is writing about (Haitians) who now more than ever, deserve a better, more informed, more professional, less ignorant more humane, man, woman, dog or cat to tell us the Information that will allow us more understanding, not entertainment. There is no humor here, his self indulgence and strained cleverness are all too transparent, and I can’t believe that anybody on this thread can take this sort of writing seriously and not feel horrible (in retrospect) for what they might be thinking at the time. Everybody should demand better, get angry, indignant, we have a lot to lose, especially now that we seem to be witness to large nails being driven slowly into the coffin of professional journalism, by the way that includes photographers if I haven’t yet after all this bombast gotten my meaning across.

by les stone | 24 Nov 2010 19:11 (ed. Nov 24 2010) | Claryville NY, United States | | Report spam→
@Les Stone,

Well put. I’m starting to think that this kind of writing is the future of “journalism” that Ed Murrow spent so much time warning us about.

by CS Muncy | 24 Nov 2010 19:11 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Since I’m back on this subject, it’s obviously under my skin, some other things should be said, so bare with me here: So this subject is Haiti, but it could be anywhere, we all have our places we feel passionate about, we might defend against all aggressors, so put yourself in that situation and imagine this writer is writing about your special place, the place you have spent so much time in, so much energy expended, so many risks and so many experiences. Then you KNOW that something is wrong, this is not an intellectual exorcise, this is really wrong, deep in your gut wrong. I feel it in my bones that if this is the journalism of the future then you and I are all sunk, we will just be the silly self indulgent ones, thinking that we are actually doing something important, (we might be anyway) still churning out future “journalists” for a populous that thinks Glen Beck is a journalist and Fox, CNN and MSNBC are real news organizations. Then this writer is the hero for what he is doing as some feel, connecting to people “LIKE THEMSELVES” and “IDENTIFY WITH THE WRITER”, and “CONNECT WITH THE HORRORS”. It’s the lowest common response of an ignorant population to think that this sort of writing and this author will indeed make that happen. Journalism is not third person, or first person, it is good or bad, right or wrong, get the facts right and tell it like it is. Murrow would role over in his mausoleum. I don’t mean to insult anybody, really, but look at this last election, tell me we are not in deep trouble defending smart, informed reporting. In my opinion we are actually losing the language, in which to battle our way forward. Look around you, the evidence is everywhere, no real in-depth reporting left, talking heads galore, except for the publicly funded news outlets and a lot of brave, broke young photogs and writers. Back to the writer and Haiti, and this is the point, when this sort of delusional, selfish swill is substituted for reality then we are just taking part in a surrealistic reality show aimed primarily at a dumbed down population, supported by corporate interests, (only about 6 companies now own just about all the media in the USA) substituting for journalism, and you won’t be aware of it in another 2 generations, because then that WILL be the only reality and then what the hell is the point of it all? Think of how dangerous the world will be then, when nobody understands anything (or think they understand everything) and the news is all big brother hate speak and silly programs aimed at keeping people stupid, and the sheep will follow Fox news because it’s the only one left. Ok, ok, I’m being a little melodramatic perhaps. It all started with this silly little story, but I see it as metaphor, maybe I’m stretching it to make a point, and then again maybe not.

by les stone | 24 Nov 2010 19:11 (ed. Nov 24 2010) | Claryville NY, United States | | Report spam→
Les, as I wrote above, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with first person, honest, opinionated writing, in whatever publication. Nor do I think it’s wrong to be inexperienced and naive — as long as you live and learn — which the writer does not. As you point out, the writer does NOT “override” his horror, he revels in it.

And that would be as out of place on the opinion page, on any page, anywhere. Being a fool and an idiot is being a fool and an idiot, no matter the context. That is the problem here, not the confessional mode.

Anna, on this point, I would like to think that most readers are NOT like this writer, in terms of identifying with him. Not having first hand experience of horror, yes. Having a perceived sense of danger, however inappropriate, yes. Being inexperienced and naive, sure. But NOT so smug and self-righteous, I would hope.

“The Ugly American” — perhaps you are right, though, and too many Americans ARE like this guy. In which case I have to agree with Les’ last point above about how our society is going to hell. I never used to agree with that, I used to think that for all that is awful in American culture, that it was redeemed by the “American dream” - the sense of free inquiry, egalitarianism, and promise that an immigrant’s son like myself enjoyed and thrived in, but I fear that this is truly no longer the case - enough.

In contrast, photographer Spencer Platt sent us at BagNews his thoughts about working in Haiti during cholera outbreak:

http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2010/11/journey-through-cholera

He addresses some of these same issues; his own unease at staying in a hotel, flying comfortably back to New York, having the luxury to lose a nice cellphone, etc. None of us are innocent, to be sure. But Spencer tries to think about this rationally and with dignity, whether you agree with him or not. That’s the difference.

by [former member] | 25 Nov 2010 14:11 (ed. Nov 25 2010) | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2010/11/journey-through-cholera/

by [former member] | 26 Nov 2010 13:11 | | Report spam→
When I was 19 years old I traveled into Southern Sudan with a man I met in a refugee camp in Uganda with 30 rolls of film and a journal. On that same trip to Africa I photographed in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, makeshift Rwandan genocide memorials, and a struggling orphanage run solely by a 22 year old Ugandan woman. I’m now 23, struggling to find audiences for serious stories that bring depth to superficial corporate news crap like this. If this man, who has been a professional journalist with one of the world’s leading publications for longer than I’ve been alive, is the person Newsweek has sent to cover the cholera epidemic in Haiti, then we are indeed living in Debord’s Society of the Spectacle.

by Matt McInnis | 30 Nov 2010 18:11 | Bar Harbor, United States | | Report spam→
When I was 19 years old I traveled into Southern Sudan with a man I met in a refugee camp in Uganda with 30 rolls of film and a journal. On that same trip to Africa I photographed in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, makeshift Rwandan genocide memorials, and a struggling orphanage run solely by a 22 year old Ugandan woman. I’m now 23, struggling to find audiences for serious stories that bring depth to superficial corporate news crap like this. If this man, who has been a professional journalist with one of the world’s leading publications for longer than I’ve been alive, is the person Newsweek has sent to cover the cholera epidemic in Haiti, then we are indeed living in Debord’s Society of the Spectacle.

by Matt McInnis | 30 Nov 2010 18:11 | Bar Harbor, United States | | Report spam→
“then we are indeed living in Debord’s Society of the Spectacle” – Did you doubt it? Question is what to do next.

by DPC | 30 Nov 2010 20:11 | Paris, France | | Report spam→

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Participants

les stone, Photographer and BBQer les stone
Photographer and BBQer
Claryville Ny , United States
Allan Lissner, Multimedia Producer Allan Lissner
Multimedia Producer
Big Trout Lake , Canada
teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
I/O
New York , United States
DPC, Photographer DPC
Photographer
Paris , France
CS Muncy, Photojournalist CS Muncy
Photojournalist
New York , United States ( JFK )
Mark Ovaska, shoe wear-er-out-er Mark Ovaska
shoe wear-er-out-er
Berlin , Germany
Joseph Molieri, Photographer Joseph Molieri
Photographer
Philadelphia , United States ( PHL )
Dave Clark, Reporter Dave Clark
Reporter
Paris , France
sbramin, flaneur sbramin
flaneur
London , United Kingdom ( LHR )
Pablo Delano, photographer Pablo Delano
photographer
Hartford , United States
Andrew D, Andrew D
Minnesota , United States ( MSP )
David Bro, freelance editorial David Bro
freelance editorial
Orange County , United States ( LAX )
Ian Taylor, Photographer Ian Taylor
Photographer
Bangkok , Thailand
Bradley Secker, Photojournalist Bradley Secker
Photojournalist
(Good at getting in...)
Istanbul , Turkey
David Paul Morris, Photojournaliist David Paul Morris
Photojournaliist
San Francisco , United States ( SFO )
BignoseTW, Videographer/Photographer BignoseTW
Videographer/Photographer
(Tobie Openshaw)
Taipei , Taiwan
Jacob Murphy, photographer Jacob Murphy
photographer
Brooklyn, Ny , United States
Tom Van Cakenberghe, Tom Van Cakenberghe
Kathmandu , Nepal
diederik meijer, Photographer diederik meijer
Photographer
(your daily dose of inspiring p)
Amsterdam , Netherlands
Akaky, Contemptible lout Akaky
Contemptible lout
New York , United States ( AAA )
Anna Van Lenten, Anna Van Lenten
New York , United States
Scout Tufankjian, Red Sox Fan, Snapper Scout Tufankjian
Red Sox Fan, Snapper
Brooklyn! , United States
Matt McInnis, Documentary Photographer Matt McInnis
Documentary Photographer
Bar Harbor , United States ( PWM )


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