By Anthony Collings
Anthony Collings chanced on himself in his proportion of adverse events in his thirty-four years as a newsman. Like being captured through AK-47–toting Syrians in Lebanon in 1981 whereas searching for missiles that threatened a brand new outbreak of hostilities with Israel, or being “detained” by way of the KGB in Moscow in 1967 in the course of his first overseas posting for the linked Press submitting tales approximately Soviet dissidents.
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Extra info for Capturing the News: Three Decades of Reporting Crisis and Conflict
Another even more important shot zoomed in to a close-up (a “tight shot,” in television terms) of just their black boots tromping on the white snow. I could imagine that shot in a finished, edited television news report—if only we could transmit it to Atlanta. But Ela had said all travel and communications were shut off. How could we get our tape out? In one of the hotel rooms we did a “rough cut,” prepared a tape that contained the best pictures, not yet in final edited form but arranged in the right or- Christmas Presents 29 der so that a CNN editor somewhere—Atlanta?
One time the Norwegian ambassador agreed to put the tape in the diplomatic pouch; I included a note for anyone in Oslo to call Françoise, but this seemed like a long shot. There was a food shortage, and for some odd reason the only meat available in the hotel restaurant was buffalo, so we had buffalo burgers and buffalo steak until we couldn’t face the idea of yet another buffalo meal. I don’t know if the food shortage was related to martial law, but it seemed that way. In any case, it added to the eeriness of our situation.
I slumped back against my seat. From Berlin I flew to Rome, my home base for CNN. The bureau fed the tape on that afternoon’s satellite transmission to Atlanta. I was very glad to see my family, and they were relieved to finally know for sure that I was all right. We had a belated Christmas celebration at our three-story apartment in the northern suburb of La Giustiniana, a wonderful place with a tile roof and wrought-iron balcony railings and a view eastward of a small valley with Italian houses and small farms and cypresses and pines, bright and colorful in the sun, far away from drab, gray, cold Poland.