My phone lit up with a news alert. I saw the words “Boston Marathon” and “explosion,” and I ran to the nearest television. At first I thought I was looking at footage from an attack in a foreign country. But then I noticed people in running gear. “How do you turn the volume on?” I asked. Soon, the volume was up and a crowd of people hovered around the television. Phones started ringing. The newsroom became alive.
I called up my office in DC and let them know I was there to help. But working out of the Los Angeles office meant I couldn’t be further away from what was happening. It didn’t make sense for me to report on the explosions. As a reporter, it’s hard to ignore a major news event…
Kamarunnisa uses all her strength to hold her head up as a health worker enters her family’s one-room apartment in Mumbai, India. Her back is against the wall as she sits in her bed. A pink patterned scarf covers her hair. Her face is pale, yet her eyes continue to sparkle. She is suffering from tuberculosis, and in her case, drugs aren’t working.
More than 8,700 miles away, a nurse sticks a needle into Angela Lyons’ arm. On her lap is a black trash bag filled with her belongings. She squeezes her eyes closed until the needle is out. She is among dozens of homeless being tested for TB in a recreation room at the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles’ Skid Row…
Part of my job as a television broadcast reporter is getting in front of the camera and doing what’s called a “standup.” Literally, it means I stand up in front of the camera and record myself talking. The goal is to ‘show and tell’ in a way that is most effectively done by the reporter, or narrator if you will. It’s one of the hardest parts of my job because I’m a video correspondent responsible for being behind the camera and in front of the lens without any help.
Usually, I find someone near me to stand in so I can focus my camera. Then I press record, stand in about the same spot, and hope for the best. But in India, doing these standups was much more difficult. Especially in a place called Bhiwandi…
Most people in India live in rural villages. These communities are very different from the overcrowded slums and streets of Mumbai. Although it seems people have more room, there are just as many challenges.
I flew with a group of journalists from the International Reporting Project* to Nagpur in the Maharashtra district of India. Then took a charter bus southeast to Gadchiroli, a little more than three hours away. There, we visited with representatives from SEARCH, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that stands for “Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health.”
We met with the founders, a husband and wife team – both doctors – that have made it their mission to bring health care to villages and tribes. India is huge, and hospitals are spread far and wide. I learned SEARCH is filling the gap, bringing health case to people that would otherwise have no means to get to a hospital…
I tried to observe as much as I could on the bus ride to a large slum in Mumbai. The streets along the way were crowded with rickshaws, motorcycles, and people. The rules of the road I’m so used to in America, seemed ignored or nonexistent here.
As our air-conditioned bus slowed, I noticed cows and goats. None of these animals looked particularly healthy. The cows, which are sacred to Hindus, looked skinny and weak. Most were laying on the ground, perhaps too tired to stand. The few that were standing, were in middle of trash piles.