Orlando Reporter Covers Quake With iPhone
News 13's Webb arrived in Haiti days before the catastrophe
By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/15/2010 12:43:45 PMCentral Florida News 13 reporter Christine Webb embarked upon a trip to Haiti last week, she of course had no idea what sort of tragedy was in the offing. Webb was on a personal trip to deliver supplies to Haiti's poor with a religious organization called New Missions, which hands out shoeboxes filled with toys, clothing and school materials.
When the devastating earthquake struck Monday, News 13 General Manager/VP of News Robin Smythe said she immediately thought of Webb. "Our first thought was, we hope she's OK," says Smythe.
Webb was fine, and has filed a half-dozen reports for both of Bright House's local Florida channels: Orlando's News 13 and Tampa's Bay News 9-recording her segments with her iPhone, no less. The reports are sent to an FTP site, and the channels can them download them to air.
"All our reporters have iPhones," says Smythe.
It's been difficult for reporters to fly to Haiti since the Jan. 12 quake. Webb's video reports offer eyewitness accounts of the devastated country, and the feature reporter's emotional testimony.
Webb, part of a missionary group of 40, has also been sending a steady stream of photos and stories on CFNews13.com, which has set up a microsite for coverage of the earthquake. "This morning we worked to dry boxes and supplies and hand out food," Webb posted yesterday afternoon. "Much of the team too helped to clean up the medical clinic that was a complete disaster. From where I am I can see the people. They have set up tents and are now living in the streets. The tremors keep coming and even though they are not as big, they rattle you every time."
Webb will remain in Haiti indefinitely. Smythe says News 13 and Bay News 9 appear to be the only Orlando or Tampa TV outlets with boots on the ground in Haiti. "When it comes to newsgathering," she says, "sometimes it's better to be lucky than good."
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