Monday, March 19, 2001


The WABC-TV story on the Children's Express assignment in India aired tonight at about 5:35 P.M. The piece, interestingly, was introduced without immediately making reference to the ages of the two journalists through whose interviews the story was told. The anchor, Roz Abrams, related the magnitude of the quake and the number of people who were dead and injured as a result. She then made reference to "two journalists" who were telling the story of the quake in a way that it is not usually told. The piece was reported by Bill Beutel. It opened with shots (taken by Children's Express) of Indian children drawing pictures of the disaster while Beutel narrated, "This is India, through the eyes of its children," and went on to emphasize the vividness of the memories the surviving children will carry with them. The story then cut to pictures of people picking through the rubble of their collapsed homes. "...And this is India, as seen by two teenage reporters from New York City," Beutel continued. He went on to describe how the assignment required the journalists to cope with a devastated landscape and with many horrific accounts of friends and relatives lost and pain endured. There was footage of sick children and of dozens of people who had no possesions left, sitting on cots in a big tent which they shared. There was a shot of the sign "SCHOOL CLOSED FORNEVER" chalked on the remains of a wall. There were then scenes of the teenage journalists interviewing children, interspersed with excerpts from the video diaries they kep while they were in Gujarat. There were interviews with adults from Children's Express about the responsibility the kids felt and how they'd done their jobs. There was a brief discussion of the prospects of pursuing journalism as a career. Beutel then ended with comments on the enormity of the assignment and the value of the story being told from the perspectives of the teens.

Baslow was not home when the piece aired. He watched a tape of it as soon as he arrived home. He had seen pictures of the destruction before and had heard his son's stories of the people he'd interviewed. This was the first time, however, he was actually seeing his son in the midst of all that. It was a moving moment. He was proud, to be sure. He newly appreciated the job his son had done. He also felt lives changing, in ways that are not easy to describe.

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