By Anthony Collings
Anthony Collings stumbled on himself in his percentage of inauspicious 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” through 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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Additional info for Capturing the News: Three Decades of Reporting Crisis and Conflict
We packed our warm clothes and headed to cold, snow-blown Atlanta, where we stayed in a motel. For several days I shut myself in an edit bay and logged tapes and wrote a script and then worked with a tape editor to put together this enormous project, knowing it would have to be done quickly if it were to have any timeliness. “Quick and dirty” was one of our informal mottoes at CNN, and that described this product. We made use of what we had. I discovered that Atlanta had almost every tape we had smuggled out, and we were able to use almost every shot on those tapes, as well as other tapes obtained from other sources such as the video news agency Visnews in London.
As it turned out, she never would have done that. She was supportive, and even joined us in our many ploys to outwit the censors. And I do not want to imply that she said or did anything at first to make me suspicious. ) We drove around some more, and Jim snuck shots of more tanks, and of martial-law proclamations that had been plastered to buildings. There was 28 Overseas even one proclamation stuck onto the door of a Catholic church, which was ironic, since the church supported Solidarity. The whole time we were in the taxi I was worrying if we were pushing our luck, if we were staying out too long, if we were greatly increasing our chances of being arrested and imprisoned.
One day we shot footage at a Mass at a Warsaw church attended by Solidarity supporters. One day we went to a cemetery for the funeral of a Solidarity figure. Events such as 32 Overseas these—a Mass, a funeral—were borderline illegal protest demonstrations but were tolerated by the martial-law authorities (and their Soviet sponsors) because the authorities had no choice. The country was overwhelmingly Catholic and the church was anti-Communist. At the funeral I was impressed that a news photographer had a small black camera tucked just inside his jacket, with a piece of black adhesive tape over the white letters of the word OLYMPUS so that his camera would not attract attention, and he would quickly lower the zipper of his jacket and sneak a picture while, at the back of the crowd standing at the cemetery plot, plainclothesmen watched.
Capturing the News: Three Decades of Reporting Crisis and Conflict by Anthony Collings