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INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS

Featured Stories of 2008

Aired January 2, 2009 - 20:30:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, HOST: Hello, I'm Fionnuala Sweeney in London. Welcome to CNN's INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS.
Throughout 2008, we've been speaking to journalists from around the globe on how they cover the news. Coming up, a look back at some of the stories people and pictures we featured on the program over the past year.

We begin with the inspirational story of one journalist who went from reporting the story to becoming the story. May 29th, U.S. Memorial Day, is dedicated to remembering those killed in conflict. In 2006, that day changed the life of CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier. Dozier was embedded with the U.S. Army in Iraq when a car bomb hit the patrol she was traveling with explosion almost killed her. It did claim the lives of two of her crew, a U.S. Army captain and translator.

Dozier suffered serious injuries in the attack. Kimberly Dozier's book, "Breathing the Fire" reconstructs her past from the bombing to her comeback. Back in June, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS caught up with Kimberly Dozier. I first put it to her that it was hard to believe that she had made such an amazing recovery in such a short period of time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It is a testament to the surgeons who literally put me back together, rebuilt my legs, got the shrapnel out of my brain, and put more than 2,000 stitches into my leg to put the grafts on. The car bomb literally blew through my legs. And thanks to the fact that this was further on in the war, and the surgeons had a lot of experience with these types of injuries, they knew how to put it back together.

SWEENEY: It made big news at the time, but if we could just roll back to that moment, that morning, Memorial Day, when you were out covering a story. What took place?

DOZIER: We were going with the Fourth Infantry Division Patrol. Captain Alex Funkhouser was our guide. And his translator Sam and he were both killed by the initial force of the blast. That was not supposed to be that sort of patrol. We were going to a safe neighborhood, the Qurada (ph), to check out where a roadside bomb had gone off the day before.

And he wanted to talk to Iraqis on the street and ask them what they'd seen. He thought they knew who the bombers were. So we were outside of our humvees. We essentially walked into an ambush towards a 500 pound car bomb. The insurgents were watching from an outpost above. They waited 'til we were within 20 feet of it. And they used a cell phone, triggered the bomb. And it blew through the entire patrol.

SWEENEY: You write of how one of your U.S. Army companions that morning had had a strange feeling when you got to that particular street that something didn't feel right. Did you have a similar feeling at all?

DOZIER: I was - actually my guard was down. Once we got there, and got out of the humvees, the part that you always fear going out with U.S. patrols was riding in the vehicles, because you felt like you were a roadside bomb magnet.

Now that said, the night before this embed, like any embed, I was always apprehensive. I could never sleep very well, because every morning, when you'd wake up in Baghdad, and this is why I call the book "Breathing the Fire," you'd hear explosions. And you'd go out on your hotel balcony and look across the city and try to figure out was that a car bomb far away? Or was that a mortar close up?

So we knew any time we were going out with U.S. patrols, we were taking our lives into our hands.

SWEENEY: Your cameraman and your soundman were killed. And you believe your life was saved because you allowed them to go forward to a tea stand to get a shot of an Iraqi man sipping a cup of tea and to talk to him. Had you not let them get the shot, you might have well ended up in the same way as they did.

DOZIER: Well, I was about 20 feet back. Captain Funkhouser was striding toward the tea stand because he saw his translator Sam was already there. He wanted to talk to Iraqis. And Paul and James were up ahead, already getting shots. Turns out they were actually shooting Staff Sergeant Nathan Reed, the head of the patrol who was worried about the security situation. He was the one who had the funny feeling. Paul was actually filming him when the car bomb went off.

SWEENEY: I certainly remember where I was when I heard what had happened to you and your colleagues. You write in the book of how this made such big news, partly because it-there was a certain public fatigue in the U.S. to yet another car bomb, yet another American soldier being killed. And you also write in your book, and I'm quoting here, "although women journalists and women soldiers have been in and on the battlefield for at least a couple of decades, the public hasn't caught up with us yet." What do you mean by that?

DOZIER: Well, you know, I kept getting told when I was putting my book - giving it to various publishers, why don't you make this a woman's memoir about how now women are covering wars? And you're one of the first ones to do it. I kind of looked at him and said do you know how many of us are out there? We've been there for 20 years. Christiane Amanpour was one of my first examples. She's one of the reasons I kept not taking, you know, no for an answer and pushing ahead, because I kept seeing her in all of these war zones.

So we are out there. And one of the reasons that I guess I wouldn't make this a woman's memoir is because I wanted people just to catch up with the fact that this is how it is. That said, when this happened on Memorial Day, you hadn't had a women injured in such a high profile way like that before a correspondent. And it was a slow news day back in the States. Holidays always are. So I think that's partly why there was such a focus on what happened to us. We lost Paul and James. No network had lost so many people in one day.

All that said, a lot of the people in the military community were very upset that Captain Funkhouser's name of course didn't come up. They said oh, is the media not reporting it because the media doesn't care. His name was held for 24 hours because it had to be by congressional law. You've got to notify the family of the military person first and give it 24 hours.

Then again, the good thing was it made people stop and pay attention to the losses in that war, both to U.S. troops, to Iraqi civilians that this kept happening. And it reminded people in a fresh way to pay attention.

SWEENEY: And how would you assess the public's appetite in the U.S. now for this war?

DOZIER: Oh, it's very hard to get the story out. National news coverage of Iraq, whether it be on television or in newspapers has dwindled to something like less than three percent of the coverage. Now I know we have this amazing historic election happening here. And we've got a lot of foreign reporters here in this country covering it.

But what happens in Iraq and what happens in Afghanistan, what I try to remind people here, the rest of the world is still paying deep, close attention to this. And they will judge us by the legacy we leave behind in those countries. I would like Americans to pay closer attention because we need the information to make the decisions about the next administration we choose, and the next policy they're going to pursue because the rest of the world is watching us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: Kimberly Dozier speaking to me earlier this year.

Well, our INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS look back continues in a moment. When we return, drawing on talent, from presidents to prime ministers, we look at the role of satire in politics with cartoonist Kevin Hal Kallaugher.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: Welcome back to our special look back at the stories and people we featured in 2008. One of those people we spoke to was Kevin Kallaugher, or Kal as he's known, political cartoonist with "The Economist." He's observed and satirized public figures on both sides of the Atlantic. We got the chance to meet Kal in September, a few weeks before the U.S. presidential election.

I began our conversation by asking him what prompted him to become a cartoonist.

KEVIN "KAL" KALLAUGHER, CARTOONIST, THE ECONOMIST: Well, I've always been interested in being a cartoonist since a child, drawing my teachers at school, and then following up doing cartoons for school newspapers and that.

But I think it wasn't until I arrived in Great Britain, after graduating from university that the mixture of politics and cartoons grabbed my imagination.

SWEENEY: And you immediately went into newspapers?

KALLAUGHER: Well, what had really happened, I was here on a bicycle tour, leading a bunch of teenagers around the country. The tour finished. I got a job playing semi professional basketball. But when the team started running out of money, that's when I started looking for cartoon jobs.

But one of the first things I did was to draw caricatures on the street of Trafalgar Square down on Brighton of tourists.

SWEENEY: All right. And then you've obviously since moved on to loftier things. Let's have a quick look at an image from "The Economist," which actually they expect in 1997, November 1st to 7th is the edition. And if you have a look here, it's a week on the wild side, but it's something as -- well, this is a funny story. well that could be very appropriate to recent events in the market.

KALLAUGHER: I'll say. I mean, a good cartoon is timeless. It has a quality that can come on back. And this cartoon about the craziness of Wall Street, I get requests every week from stock brokers from all around the world saying they want a copy for their wall or for their friends.

SWEENEY: And what is it trying to say here? What message are you trying to send out?

KALLAUGHER: Well, a good cartoon, as you point out, a good editorial cartoon, is trying to get a message. You know, you're a columnist using humor and pictures. And here is about how well it seems this very important financial institution that we rely so heavily on seems to actually be moving and making gigantic decisions, sometimes on a whim, on silly little things with this fellow being over her, saying I've got to stock here that could excel. Suddenly everyone thinks that he's saying sell and the stock market kicks off.

SWEENEY: Well, Chinese whispers, so to speak.

KALLAUGHER: Chinese whispers.

SWEENEY: This one obviously very clear what it's about. How did it come about?

KALLAUGHER: Well, this is a funny story because this cartoon I actually drew deep in the big horn mountains of Wyoming. I had gotten a message via e-mail from the comments that they liked the rough sketch I had done, wanted to put it on the cover. And I said well, there's three problems. First, I'm on vacation. Two, I'm in the middle of nowhere. And third, I do not have any paints with me.

So "The Economist" said well, why don't you try to do something about it, get back to us in the morning? When I talked to the people at the ranch, they sent me down the street a dirt road for 10 miles, got a page from a lovely lady who did some painting in the back of the drugstore, and went home. And on the kitchen table of this dude ranch did this painting and sent it off to London. And two days later, it appeared in every nation on the planet.

SWEENEY: Well, it's interesting because it really means that you can take your job anywhere and be anywhere.

KALLAUGHER: That's right. I wish I could do that more often.

SWEENEY: Let's move on to the next one. Now this, obviously, goes back some time. This is your first cartoon, right, for "The Economist?"

KALLAUGHER: Right, right, it was. And here was the Soviet leader of the time Leonid Breshnev and the French leader Giscard D'Estang of the time. And you know, the thing was it was one of the first times that I was, you know, first of 100 - over 100 covers that I've done for "The Economist." And something I'm very proud to see here.

SWEENEY: And what is it about necessarily? I know it's 1980. I know very clearly that that is Kremlin's - the Kremlin and Breshnev saying right, who's next. But it was - the Cold War was still well and truly in effect?

KALLAUGHER: Yes, and those early days of my cartoons, it was amazing to understand how the Cold War affected all of us. And the cartoons were, you know, the Soviets were these big hard, and they tend to look in caricature like these really nasty characters. And we were trying to penetrate them all the time. And this was the perfect example of the frozen Soviet leadership.

SWEENEY: And yet somebody from the West had just been to talk to him.

KALLAUGHER: That's right. And that got very far.

SWEENEY: Let's move on. Now this is obviously from more recent times. It is. I'll let you explain it.

KALLAUGHER: Well, this was in the build-up to the war in Iraq. And our good friend George W. Bush was - had invited to his ranch Tony Blair. He's saying, "That's right, Tony. Now repeat after me make my day, Saddam." And lovely, he's falling right into line behind the Bush administration.

SWEENEY: And this obviously how you interpreted things politically?

KALLAUGHER: Absolutely. And one of the things that people, about a political cartoon, is people often think that you're in the business of making people laugh. But in fact, you're really in the business of making people think, using humor, but using it as a vehicle for a message. SWEENEY: And you know, now that you've gone through the years of parodying, you know, various of lampooning, various public and national figures, I mean, what was different about the naughty, so to speak, in George W. Bush's time?

KALLAUGHER: Well, I think that George Bush, you have to look at in two different chapters. The 9/11 chapter and the most recent chapter. In the 9/11 time right afterwards, it was very hard to be a commentator and a satirist and a political cartoonist because the audience wasn't ready to laugh. They weren't ready to take on the president in that way. It was a turning point amongst - the January after 9/11, he was caught tossing a pretzel in the air and got stuck in his throat. And that point, actually nearly choked. And Dick Cheney wouldn't take it over the country for a little while. But that was the green light for cartoonists and satirists that now you could start making fun of Bush again.

But more recently when you look, the type of criticism that the Bush administration gets from cartoonists and other satirists right now are as no problem. Everyone is willing to happily see him be - strong side of a pen nip.

SWEENEY: And this was done by you. We were talking about this earlier because the date is actually October, November.

KALLAUGHER: Mm-hmm.

SWEENEY: And yet, you seem to remember as having drawn it immediately after Hurricane Katrina.

KALLAUGHER: Yes, there was, of course, Katrina to me was the turning point of the Bush administration. In the U.S., there had been a lot of folks who weren't happy with them, but it was only that point when the television pictures were so clearly seeing all the things going wrong that the - I think the country finally turned on them. And this cover for "The Economist" is interesting because notice that there's no caption, there's no byline. The cartoon tells the whole story.

SWEENEY: Let's move on to the next one. Now this is the quintessential lampoon cartoon of two very well known candidates, the characters, one of whom you'll probably be just doing a lot more of in the coming years.

KALLAUGHER: That's right.

SWEENEY: .and the other. What are you trying to say here about John McCain?

KALLAUGHER: Well, the - I love this quote that I like to say from the Italian renaissance painter Annabell Karachi (ph). He said that a good caricature is more true to life than reality itself. And so when you're doing a caricature as I do, you're trying to capture the whole personality and something deeper than just the physical extremities.

So in this case here, you see that the personality of a tight, bulldog type John McCain with piercing strong eyes, engaging in one sense, but then the hopeful optimistic outward looking Obama that gives a sort of different sense of energy. And their personalities really couldn't be more different. And I'll think you'll see a lot of that playing out in the debates over the next few weeks.

SWEENEY: Also, I think there's something quite interesting about their next, because Obama's neck is actually literally sticking up in there.

KALLAUGHER: That's right.

SWEENEY: Now John McCain's, you can barely see.

KALLAUGHER: In fact, John McCain might have three or four necks.

SWEENEY: Indeed. Which would be the more interesting to draw in terms of a president?

KALLAUGHER: Well, that's a great question because really it's almost - it's too different - I like them both in different ways. Obama will be a better story. So he'll supply more material over time for the journalist that I am.

But for the artist in me, I think McCain's face is more interesting because if you're drawing somebody for four years, you have to see them many, many times. And you realize you want a face that's complex. His complex. There's many more moving parts. He can look very stoic, but then also when he smiles, he can look like a cherub with, you know, lights coming out of all of his pores. So he's a more interesting visual character.

SWEENEY: Kal Kallaugher from "The Economist" speaking to me there in September before the U.S. presidential election that ultimately saw Barack Obama elected as U.S. Commander in Chief.

Well, Obama's historic win made headlines around the world. And history was also made in terms of media coverage. CNN unveiled a new hologram feature. Since 1980, CNN's political coverage has evolved. Here's a selection of images of how the people, the production techniques, and even the hair styles have changed over the years.

From the introduction of what now look like quite simple graphics, the infamous news wall, to the flashy studios and interactive features, including that "Star Wars" like hologram.

From holograms and those hair styles, we rewind a little further and look back at the stories, pictures, and front pages from 1968. It was the theme of an exhibition held in London in 2008. A year to remember when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: Welcome back. 2008 has produced its first share of headlines. Barack Obama's historic U.S. election victory, the financial meltdown, the Beijing Olympics, and more recently the Mumbai terror attacks. Rewind 40 years ago and it was the assassination of Robert Kennedy, street riots in Paris, and the first images from space of planet earth.

To illustrate the events of 1968, "The International Herald Tribune" held an exhibition in London to show the stories, photographs, and front pages as the newspaper saw it.

In May, the IHT's director of photography Cecilia Bohan walked me through the exhibition's highlights. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: "The International Herald Tribune" headline on Friday, June 7th, 1968, "Robert Kennedy is Dead", self explanatory story in a way. Probably not a very hard decision, Cecilia, to include in this exhibition?

CECILIA BOHAN, INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE: Not a hard decision. In fact, it's the only front page that we've actually included the jump as well. So we have the entire story. People that come to the exhibit can read, I mean, much more interesting to read the story in its entirety and to show how "The Herald Tribune".

SWEENEY: .covered the news that day.

BOHAN: Covered the news that day and gave it so much display in a paper.

SWEENEY: This is a picture for his funeral train of Robert Kennedy? You can see the people gathered outside?

BOHAN: This is the funeral train passing by Rahweh, New Jersey. And the train drew crowds, thousands of people at every station. I really feel very strongly about this picture and the next picture. The next picture shows it's a very simple picture. Black man and a white man, very sorrowful expressions on their faces. And I just feel that this photo here is one of my favorite pictures in the entire exhibit because I feel their pain.

SWEENEY: And so here we have a section devoted to Martin Luther King. Obviously not particularly a difficult choice for you to make in terms of including that from 1968 and this exhibition. What is this photo about?

BOHAN: These four people are sitting on their porch watching the funeral cortege go by. Going on to the next picture.

SWEENEY: This is of the funeral cortege itself and the family, widow of Martin Luther King.

BOHAN: It's not just the family that makes the picture for me, though. It's all the faces, the depth of the photo. And I looked at all the faces. And it strikes me that these people seemed to know that a new chapter in American history was opening.

SWEENEY: Every second in 1968 was another big day for "The International Herald Tribune" in terms of Vietnam and the photo that was on the front page of the paper that day.

BOHAN: The photograph that ran on the front page that day was what was to be the Pulitzer prize winning photo. It was by Eddie Adams of the Associated Press. And it ran on newspaper fronts all over the world. When it moved across the AP photo wire, people recognized its importance right from the moment they saw it. That doesn't happen with every photo. Sometimes photos gain importance over time, but this particular photo, you can feel the fear. You can smell the napalm. You can.

SWEENEY: You can almost see the bullet with it.

BOHAN: You can almost see the bullet with it. When you see him wince, it's - you're stuck with horror.

SWEENEY: May 1968, the Paris riots, "The International Herald Tribune" also based in Paris. The headlines from that day being General Degaulle disappears for something like seven hours amid speculation that he might step down. Really a very turbulent period in the life of France and Paris particularly, and also I suppose in "The Herald Tribune's" history at that moment?

BOHAN: We can't exactly have an exhibit on 1968 and not include May, the May riots in Paris. In fact, one of the decisions we made for placing the photographs was to - we had five pictures from the Paris riots. And so, we took the biggest wall to show - we have three front pages from "The Herald Tribune." More than any other subject.

But I love having this - the original crop marks on it in grease pencil and indelible pen. They just.

SWEENEY: Set it off really. This headline is from Wednesday, December 25th, 1968, the end of a tumultuous year. You have the pope holding his midnight mass. And then you have Apollo orbiting the moon, heads back today. And here is a picture from that time.

BOHAN: This is the picture of the earth, the rising earth, as seen by the astronauts from Apollo 8 as they rounded the dark side of the moon. The edge of the moon is over here. Such a beautiful picture. And it's hard to imagine now that this is one of the very first pictures of the earth shot from space.

Because now we see the earth so many - it just seems like such a common thing. Surely we must always have had pictures of the earth. But no, this is one of the very first pictures. And it was broadcast back from space in December of '68.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: Images and front pages from 40 years ago as seen by "The International Herald Tribune."

Well, before we go, a reminder to check out our spot in cyberspace. Log on to cnn.com/correspondents to see show highlights, take part in the quick vote, and read the blog. The address again cnn.com/correspondents.

Well, that's all for our special program, looking at a selection of the stories, people, and pictures featured in 2008. In 2009, we'll continue to look at the media and the way it handles the big issues.

I'm Fionnuala Sweeney. Thanks for joining us.

END