ABC's O'Brian: I'm Extremely Proud of What We're Doing in Africa


ABC News’ SVP Kate O’Brian expressed her satisfaction in the networks coverage of the famine in the Horn of Africa. The network currently does not have anyone stationed there, but O’Brian assured that will only be temporary. “We’ll be going back in a couple more weeks,” she said.While other networks have sent people to the region recently, O’Brian said her network has had reporters there for close to a month. “We were the first American network in Africa to cover that story,” she said.

London-based correspondent Lama Hasan was first on the scene July 16, with a report from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya (she has since returned to cover the London riots). World News weekend anchor David Muir became the first American anchor to report from Kenya on July 25; he also visited the Mogadishu region of Somalia a week later. “They’ve done a series of unbelievable stories,” O’Brian said.

This week, CBS sent Evening News anchor Scott Pelley and CNN sent their chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta as well as Anderson Cooper 360 host Anderson Cooper to the region. Other networks have had correspondents stationed there as well.

Last Wednesday (8/4), in response to Muir’s reports, viewers donated over $100,000 to Doctors Without Boarders between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and midnight. “That has been a really great effort, that I’m incredibly proud of,” said O’Brian.

O’Brian also touted ABC’s efforts in covering the other hot button topics, including the London riots, financial crisis and America’s on-going presence in Afghanistan. ABC has been the only network with a full-time presence, embedded with the troops in the region, for which they have been in almost a year, she said.

“The depth of our bench has really been shown all summer long.”