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