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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Who's going to Haiti? DOS/ Impromptu in the bag
Ivan Pierre Aguirre, Student/Intern, Assistant
El Paso | TX | United States | Posted: 6:46 PM on 01.17.10
->> I don't mean to take the anything away from Jane Tyska post. Great post by the way Jane. It just seems like most advice is NOT to go. And to stay put. Which is sound advice! But there weren't too many, if any at all, "BUTS" in that post. Lots of cons to going to Haiti but no BUTS.

"Don't go....., reason xyz! (Where is the counter argument?) BUT if you go.... consider taking this and this"

I was hoping to start a thread where IF photogs still decide to go to Haiti (especially the ones who have little or no previous experience covering an assignment on this scale), what advice do fellow photogs who have gone to cover disaster/conflict assignments, have for those few that still decide to go to Haiti? Isn't being part of a website like this for. To inform and discuss. An impromptu "IN THE BAG" session, so to speak. I've searched around ss.com for past "in the bag" stories, found very informative ones on basketball, football (NOT being sarcastic) but none for when heading to a disaster area on the next flight out. (My apology in advance to ss.com if there has been a past story on said story.)

In the perfect world we wouldn't want something bad to happen JUST to go cover it. But this post is about being READY and having SOME info on "how to," if we are ever called upon to cover an assignment like Katrina or Haiti etc.

SOME EXAMPLES of "simple questions", how the heck to you transmit images/video via satellite phone? How do you wire up a car battery to power your computer and/or battery charger? What medical shots should you get when heading to a disaster area? What is the best airliner to take when going to Haiti/DR? How much should you expect to pay a driver? Etc etc. etc.

From PDN- "Michael Appleton went there without an assignment and once he was there, I put him on" because the breadth and scope of the story were so big. " Michelle McNally-NYT AME
I am sure Michael Appleton is more of the exception than the rule when talking about freelancers being picked up.
BUT again this post, hopefully, is intended for acquiring knowledge via TEXT about the "simple stuff" and being READY (if we are chosen, either by chance of location or by an editor) someday to get the stories of victims out for others to see, so to help.

Mr. Liddy makes a great point "this is not a place you want to go just because you'd "love to" or to think it's going to jack up your portfolio. "

BUT G.J. McCarth makes a great point too, "The journalists documenting this event -- just like the doctors, relief agencies and helpful bystanders on scene -- are putting themselves in harms way to do their jobs. Yes, some may have motives there beyond just genuinely wanting to help. But that doesn't outweigh the risk they're in;"

Matthew Bush-- "The things to understand about covering any large scale disaster is Know if you can or can not hack it when the going gets tough."
Exactly! Question, how do you know if you can or can't hack it, IF (BIG IF) you don't try?

Chuck, what if you just can't get rid of that "hunger" of wanting to make a difference on a global scale? Or you don't have access to "watching the greats" ?

But I digress. Hope this can be a supporting thread for our fellow colleagues who DO decide to go to Haiti.

Lets say, IF (BIGGER IF) questions about transmitting, security, power etc. etc. can't be answered by simple TEXT and/or I am asking for too much, in turn THEN, the ONLY plausible other way to pick up that lifetime knowledge and experience is to go and find out for yourself. (paused/hesitant) Right?
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Andrew Villa, Student/Intern, Assistant
San Jose | CA | United States | Posted: 6:54 PM on 01.17.10
->> Hey might check this post from a few years ago...

http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1464
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Matthew Bush, Photographer
Hattiesburg | MS | USA | Posted: 8:39 PM on 01.17.10
->> Ivan- Chuck kind of went into what I meant in his post when he talked about detaching. I simply meant that if you can not handle a really really bad spot news scene in your home town then know that your not going to be able to handle it in a disaster zone of epic proportions.


Some photographers can detach some can not. Understand detaching is not something to be proud it is a method of coping with what you are seeing.

Understand the stress is going to be enormous. There is also a metal toll that may not be apparent until you get home take a look at the effects of Katrina on shooters. I know SEVERAL that were treated for depression after it was all said and done with.

Now with that out of the way If I was getting on a plane tomm this is what I would carry in no way is this list a complete guide these are just the things that I would be certain to take.

Bodies and Lenses and Computers that are well insured

CASH

Lots of plastic bags

Passport and a copy of birth certificate


Sat modem. Not a sat phone. They are about 3500 dollars to buy and the service is pretty ridiculous but it will let you get your images out. I think Fish posted a rental link for one.

I would take a power inverter just in case I got access to a car or car battery (the one with the jumper cable hook ups not the cigarette lighter one)

Camelback-Water the end

Packable hammock

PERSONAL WATER FILTRATION KIT - THE BEST ONE YOU CAN FIND.

First AID Kit

Antimalarial Drugs

Wide Spectrum Anti-Biotics just go ahead and start taking them now.

Hep A,B, Typhoid and Rabies vaccinations on top of the normal ones.

Steel toed shoes

Gas Mask or a nice paint mask.

Powerbars

GPS

Body Armor

Helmet (preferably Kevlar)

Multi-Tool


I know there is way way way more one needs to take I was just trying to remember what I WISHED I had during Katrina
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 9:00 PM on 01.17.10
->> Okay, Ivan, I'll respond. I'm sitting on the Green Ramp at Pope Air Force Base waiting on transport to Haiti with the military and there is a real chance I'll be here in in the morning and that will be getting close to a 24 hour wait. I guess you can try the route some are...fly into the Dominican Republic and take the (12 hour) drive through country ravaged by the earthquake, if you can find a driver. Then of course, you now have the roving gangs who will probably kill you for a bottle of water (this is not a joke). From what I've been told by some already on site,there is no power...very limited telephone connectivity, no fuel...so, how are you not going to become part of the problem unless you are a)working with an organization that has sufficient infrastructure and money to overcome these obstacles b)a military embed c) or maybe working for an aid group. have you had your typhoid, tetanus, h1n1, hep and malaria meds? that said, I have been told some of the larger organizations are actually having some of the same problems as the residents, little food or water...people are getting desperate....soon I'm sure they will have security issues...I'm not worried about security with the military...that's pretty much a sure thing...as is food and water (although I am bringing a large amount of foodstuffs with me just in case something goes awry...that leaves the aide groups who are starting to have security issues of their own with the bleak situation the survivors are in. Not wanting to be an ass but this IS NOT a basketball game or football game. This is a life and death situation. I have to tell you I am more worried about this assignment than any other story I covered in Iraq or Afghanistan. Just my opinion but I think it would border on insanity for anyone to think this is the kind of thing they should do to feed their "hunger" to cover a disaster of epic proportions. just my humble opinion.....need to go...got to hurry up and wait some more.
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Matthew Bush, Photographer
Hattiesburg | MS | USA | Posted: 9:13 PM on 01.17.10
->> Chuck- Good luck and Godspeed. Thank you for taking to time here on the message boards on this and any subject.

Good hunting buddy.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 9:13 PM on 01.17.10
->> great post matthew...btw...sat time is $6.75 a meg...better have some dep pockets if you're footing that bill.
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Luke Sharrett, Student/Intern, Photographer
Washington | DC | United States | Posted: 9:31 PM on 01.17.10
->> Ivan,

Several established freelancers who have been to war in Iraq and Afghanistan have told me point blank there's no way they could possibly "make it" in Haiti. They just don't have the resources. To get in to Haiti for a couple days alone is going to cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. Then you somehow have to strap all these supplies to your back. The place is quickly becoming saturated with photographers, and the situation on the ground is going to become exceedingly ugly as the days progress. I'm praying specifically for the shooters who I know who are down there, because things are probably very close to decending into complete anarchy, as chuck said. I'm actually scared for a lot of them.
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David Manning, Photographer
Athens | GA | | Posted: 10:17 PM on 01.17.10
->> Chuck, good luck and stay safe.
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Thomas Campbell, Photographer
Houston/San Antonio | TX | USA | Posted: 10:28 PM on 01.17.10
->> To mirror what has been said many times, I suggest that you don't go over there unless you are being sent by a major organization. It very well could become a decision you make that you never have the chance to regret.

Nothing like what is happening in Haiti, but I was dropped off for a month in the Sudan. I had a 31lb weight limit for everything I wasn't wearing, which includes extra clothes, medicine, water filters, camera/lenses/batteries/cards and all the food I wanted to eat other than UN-supplied rations of rice and beans.

First thing I did was grow a beard two weeks before I left so I would be past the itching stage by the time I got there.

I packed EVERYTHING in ziplock bags. Each bag was labelled with the contents and amount. I brought a lot of extra bags and sharpies.

For clothes, I brought the light weight long-sleeve fishing-type shirts. They have vents for breathability and dry very quickly. Wore one, brought two more. Same type of pants, but the legs could zip off. Wore my heavy duty boots (Vasques are amazing), and brought sandals.

Baby wipes. Lots of them. My bath every day was to wipe myself down with baby wipes. Start at my feet and slowly get into my sleepsac that weighs just a few ouches and breathes really well. (REI made a killing off me.) Got me clean every night and cooled me off as I was trying to go to sleep. Mud huts didn't breathe well and it was hot season. It was like sleeping in a kiln.

I took compression shorts instead of underwear. Easier to clean, quicker to dry. More comfortable for long periods of time. I also had some fancy hiking socks from REI. Moisture wicking. Everything I had was moisture wicking.

I packed fizzy stuff you add to your water that has a lot of vitamins. Pop Fizz or something. I got it at costco, then mixed all the flavors together to save weight. All in a ziplock bag. Nice to have some taste, even if it isn't a good taste. I also brought a travel thing of Tony Chachere's. Hey, I'm from New Orleans. It goes with everything. I brought lots of beef jerky and peanuts. High fat/protein. Also high-calorie high-protein powder. Had a water bottle. I use one of those plastic ones that is hard to break over the camelbacks. Many water filters are made to work with those.

Things I wished I had: Duct tape, gaffers tape, rope, twine, more lenses, and more time on the ground.

Chuck, good luck. My prayers are with you and all the other journalists heading out to Haiti.
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Ivan Pierre Aguirre, Student/Intern, Assistant
El Paso | TX | United States | Posted: 11:05 PM on 01.17.10
->> Thanks for reply Matthew and Andrew. Very informative.

Chuck, Wish you a safe trip. Like you said, you have covered other "big" events before, so thank you for the reply and advice.

BUT,

"Okay, Ivan, I'll respond."-- OK you'll respond??? Ummm, did I say/ask something wrong, Chuck?? Not sure why the "snooty" first four words. Words come off like it is was a bother for you to reply and possibly help out future and present colleagues. Nevertheless you replied and gave good advice, so thanks, but still. This is post was intended, to inform/support those who ARE going to a disaster area, today or in the future.
For the record, I have no plans on going to Haiti, BUT I still started this post to simply ASK questions and TRY to open up dialogue for those people who still decide to go to Haiti. Support colleagues who decide to stay AND support those who go.

Also, knew this was going to happen, but you misquoted and/or misunderstood me chuck. I said, ""hunger" of wanting to make a difference on a global scale" NOT "to feed their "hunger" to cover a disaster of epic proportions." Sorry. But HUGE difference between "hunger" to make a difference on global scale VS. simply hunger to JUST shoot a disaster.


Luke and others, thanks. But AGAIN, all the reasons NOT to go have been given already. This post is about giving info like Matthew did, to THOSE who do have the resources and plan on making the trip. Maybe when it comes to these matters, asking questions on the internet isn't feasible. Experiencing is yourself, might be the ONLY way to find answers. And no fault of anybody, but that is a shame.

For a lot of us, we'll probably never be asked to go to a disaster area and try to make photos, BUT should that mean we shouldn't ask "simple questions" to be a little bit more "ready," if we are ever needed in that capacity? Well, I sure hope not.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 11:46 PM on 01.17.10
->> Wow (as you can see we are still waiting on the, a, any friggin plane out of here..it's now been a 12 hour process) anyway. gee golly willickers Ivan. I sure am sorry I came of being "snooty". I just thought you wanted some input. Perhaps it wasn't what you wanted to hear? I just don't know....maybe I did misunderstand the "hunger" statement but after reading it again several times (which I have because sometimes even I make mistakes) I took it another way. I really wonder what kind of an ego someone would have to think that with no experience they would actually, in your words, "make a difference on a global scale". The people who are making a difference on a global scale are already there doing it, Loomis, Guzy, Gilky, and Farrell. I'm sure I left some other great shooters who are busting their asses out there and I'm sorry. Their still photos are a driving force behind money raising efforts every day when the images are published. One of the things that is somewhat irritating on this message board is when young guys like you ask questions and don't get an "attaboy go get 'em" you take offense. I'm snooty! Now I betcha I'm a cranky old bastard! Come on dude. You ask a question and you got several good answers to it. Sorry none of them fit your game plan and all of them told you to stay at home. But, as I said before, I stick with my original statements without serious backing and more experience you will be nothing but another casualty. Okay, I need to go back to waiting..........
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Matthew Bush, Photographer
Hattiesburg | MS | USA | Posted: 12:06 AM on 01.18.10
->> Hey Chuck I have a really random question. Your not looking at an Air National Guard C-17 nicknamed Spirit of the Purple Heart are you ? We covered an aircraft from 172nd Airlift Wing ANG out of Thompson Field in Jackson leaving yesterday was heading to N.C. to pick up Medical personnel before heading in country.
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Rusty Burroughs, Photographer
Matthews | NC | United States | Posted: 12:12 AM on 01.18.10
->> Chuck......Thanks for all your honest opinions here on this board.... everyone should listen to the people on here with the experience ( especially when you ask for it) and Chuck has a lot of that. Be safe my friend and I'll be praying for you.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 12:14 AM on 01.18.10
->> matt, I don't see a c-17 here right now. they have come and gone several times today however...thanks for all the good wishes.....I just have hopes I'll get there before my retirement starts......
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Matthew Bush, Photographer
Hattiesburg | MS | USA | Posted: 12:38 AM on 01.18.10
->> haha got to love anything related to the military.... Hurry up and wait.
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David Manning, Photographer
Athens | GA | | Posted: 1:53 AM on 01.18.10
->> Chuck, just dont fall asleep and have them leave without you.....
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Khampha Bouaphanh, Photographer
Fort Worth | TX | United States | Posted: 3:29 AM on 01.18.10
->> I don't have any advice that others have not already posted, but the thing that helped me at the places I've been was that I pray a lot. No matter how prepare you are, some things are just beyond your control and that's when divine intervention comes in handy.
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Jane Tyska, Photographer
Oakland | CA | USA | Posted: 5:55 AM on 01.18.10
->> Whew. I've been a SS member since the inception and now remember why I don't tend to post here. Much like Haiti, this board often descends into utter chaos and conflict.

I have advice on what I'm packing, which I'll be glad to relay tomorrow, but the people with the real answers are those who have been there since the story broke and they have their hands a bit full at the moment.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for an embed myself as it would be totally stupid even as a staffer to go without support. We are not the NYT or LAT (though we are the fourth largest newspaper company in the country) and I was glad to get the green light as it is to go on a shoestring.

Been to Haiti and over 60 countries, covered Katrina and Ground Zero, and this one's a motherf#$@#er. Good luck Chuck...
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
| | | Posted: 9:30 AM on 01.18.10
->> Chuck,

"Now I betcha I'm a cranky old bastard!"

Really? You...no...when has anyone ever called you cranky or old? No wait...that sounds about right :0) If you get into trouble remember to show them your AARP Card!


Good luck on the ground once you get there, stay safe and I look forward to your pix.

- Fish
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | US | Posted: 9:50 AM on 01.18.10
->> Hey Chuck:

"Watch out for your cornhole, bud."

Seriously, be safe out there amigo. All of you, take care.
- g -
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Brad Barr, Photographer
Port St. Lucie | FL | USA | Posted: 10:08 AM on 01.18.10
->> Chuck, we all appreciate the fact that you have been there and done that. Seems you are forgetting what it was like before that point however. Many here, (myself included) would love the opportunity to go...and yes many of us realize that going as an independent would be asinine. BUT...thats not what was asked. We get it....but might just be getting that first crack at a biggie like this. HELPFUL insight from a crusty old fart thats been there and done that is invaluable to all of us.....No its certainly not for everyone...not for very many at all...but it might be right up some peoples alley....as it seems to be up yours. (wait that came out funny).

So how bout less "you dont belong here buddy" and more, "hey if you come, dont forget xxxx" or "dont bother bringing yyyy"

Or maybe, "hey a couple great organizations to become involved with to get and embed would be XXXXX" Or even "stay away from XXX org cause they are gonna leave you hanging"

Whatever...the little tid bits of info can be extrememly useful. Even if not in Haiti...but maybe in Podunk AR for the next really bad train derailment or whatever..

We all really appreciate your taking the time to post. Really we do. Please remember that a select few would give their left nut to be in your shoes....and remember what it was like before you went on your first call of duty.

Peace man and stay safe in country...
bb
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Joe Cavaretta, Photographer
Ft Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 11:11 AM on 01.18.10
->> This isn't the Poinsettia bowl. Grampa Chuck is not telling you to think twice or five times because he is afraid you're going to block his gatorade picture. Listen to him.
The only "indies," or stringers that had any luck were the ones who got there before the herd.
If you had time to post here about "should I go or not," you're already too late.
Here are some of the people who beat you there:
Carolyn Cole, Damon Winter, Pat Farrell, Carl Juste, Michael Laughlin, Maggie Steber, Rick Loomis, Greg Bull, Lynne Sladkey.
This story will be around for a long time, and I would not be surprised if a church group from El Paso or Port St. Lucie goes in three months. That is the time to cut your teeth, IMHO. Photos from that sort of story can be really great.
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Tom Ewart, Photographer
Bentonville | AR | USA | Posted: 11:22 AM on 01.18.10
->> Podunk is good this time of year.. I should know.
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Isaac Ginsberg, Student/Intern, Photographer
Seattle | WA | U.S.A | Posted: 3:35 PM on 01.18.10
->> I have family on the ground there now doing aid work. From what I hear the situation is scary. (this from people who have been at it for 20 years). Never mind the people walking around the streets with guns, and other weapons. The streets and other areas are still covered in bodies, bodies that are not going to be barried anytime soon. (yeah, maybe they will clear the roads in the capital, but thats not even a % of the problem) The over all health risk down there from infection and disease is extreme and going to be getting exponentially worse by the day...

IF you are going down there, bring disposable N-95 face-masks... and WARE THEM!!! Getting in is NOT the hard part right now... Its getting OUT if you get sick, or something goes wrong.... From what I am hearing there are alot of aid workers who are getting sick (think food poisoning symptoms) just being there... And they are eating food from the US, 'clean food'.

Good luck everyone.
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Jeff Crace, Photographer
Temecula | CA | USA | Posted: 3:55 PM on 01.18.10
->> >>>Brad....I think you are correct...is it a dangerous place..? Hell yea..should you go probably not but if you do it would be great to have the info you pointed out. I read Anderson Coopers book a couple years ago and this is how he got his start...being places that he should not have really been in.
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Brad Barr, Photographer
Port St. Lucie | FL | USA | Posted: 4:00 PM on 01.18.10
->> Joe nobody said otherwise there big guy...we get it....got it...had it several posts ago.......thats not the point.....the point is....and you might want to write this down since you seem to be having a hard time with it.....is that Everyone that HAS been there and done that had to start somewhere...had to go somewhere really crappy for the FIRST time. Nobody is posting "should i go or not"...try to stick to the facts. Go back and read what the op asked...and what i said. What We didn't ask for list of those that beat us there...obviously they beat you there too...

I'm not even considering going btw...just so you know. Was never considering it. Its not in the cards, and I'm booked too much this time of year. That was not the question posed in this thread....so please lets all stop the pontificating on how unqualified everyone else is to cope with the situation down there, and try posting some info that will make all of us better able to cope with this or the next big situation to come across the scene....
bb
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Ron Erdrich, Photographer
Abilene | TX | USA | Posted: 4:04 PM on 01.18.10
->> Hey Chuck, sounds like you and I have the same travel agent. I spent about two days (I think it was two, they're all blurring together) at Pope over the weekend and we caught a Herc down to MacDill but won't be leaving for Haiti until way later. We're trying to cover our local Air Force C-130s but it's been tough trying to get a ride. Those planes are naturally full of relief supplies and there isn't always room for us.

Keep on keepin' on!

-Ron-
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Steve Apps, Photographer
Madison | WI | USA | Posted: 6:15 PM on 01.18.10
->> To go or not to go, that is the question. I understand how tough a question like this is for a young photographer. Photojournalists by nature are a driven group, and want to be where the action is. After twenty-five years I still understand the desire to be where the "story" is, I'm just smart enough not to go.
In 1989 while a staff photographer for the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, I was sent to Miami to cover the Overtown riots. I had no idea what I was doing, but I figured how bad could it be? I drove my rental car to a police roadblock and talked to an officer while showing my press pass. He told me "I wouldn't go in if I were you, you look pretty white." I laughed that off and drove in. Long story short, later a car with some younger men drove slowly, stopped then continued on. It didn't feel right and I watched them continue on. A few hundred yards down the road they shot someone walking down the street. Talk about a eye opener.
Later in the day I could feel things getting tense again. I was talking to an AP stringer and told him that it didn't seem safe and I was leaving. He said he was sticking around awhile to take more photos.

An hour later back at the AP office he explained that how he was chased down, had his equipment stolen, and his car was torched. That could have easily been me. He said it happened ten minutes after I left.

I wish we had sites like this twenty years ago. There is a lot of good information from people who have done "that".

Give the younger guys a break. Tell them not to go, but help them with information that could help them later in their careers. If I had the right information I probably wouldn't gotten in the mess in Miami. I wish I was better prepared.
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Brad Barr, Photographer
Port St. Lucie | FL | USA | Posted: 7:08 PM on 01.18.10
->> ***Just to reiterate...." To go or not to go, that is the question." is NOT the question being posed in this thread****

The question being presented..is IF you ARE going...what then? Was what the OP (Ivan) requested info on....
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Thomas Boyd, Photographer
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 7:16 PM on 01.18.10
->> Bruce Ely from The Oregonian is down there I think he just made it in this morning. It's been a five day process just getting there. He's with a reporter and a group that's looking for a fellow aid worker.

Wish him luck.

Tom
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 7:19 PM on 01.18.10
->> There are many stories that could be done while this is going on, in other places!

You need an angle, and ability to get around. Also, things will be very expensive, beyond the plane flight getting there.

I know one photographer in the past who was always chasing spot news around the planet. He always felt he had to be there, but was there after the fact to try and record spot news.

If you want something to have impact, go where you see you photos can make a difference, and no one is there.

Walter Iooss said one time along the lines:"If everyone is there, find someplace else to be; unless you absolutely need to be."

I didn't go to the earthquake in China in 2008, because I didn't have an assignment, and the logistics where going to be tough to organize and the cost I wasn't ready to bear.

I have covered other disasters (earthquake in Taiwan, hostage in Philippines, flodding in China, and earthquake in Los Angeles) cause I had an angle and assignment to cover my outlay.

I don't twinge thinking I need to jump on a plane to be 48-72 hours late for something.
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Joe Cavaretta, Photographer
Ft Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 9:06 PM on 01.18.10
->> "the point is....and you might want to write this down since you seem to be having a hard time with it.....is that Everyone that HAS been there and done that had to start somewhere...had to go somewhere really crappy for the FIRST time. Nobody is posting "should i go or not"...try to stick to the facts. Go back and read what the op asked...and what i said. What We didn't ask for list of those that beat us there...obviously they beat you there too..."

This is the OP:

"I was hoping to start a thread where IF photogs still decide to go to Haiti (especially the ones who have little or no previous experience covering an assignment on this scale), what advice do fellow photogs who have gone to cover disaster/conflict assignments, have for those few that still decide to go to Haiti?

THEN, the ONLY plausible other way to pick up that lifetime knowledge and experience is to go and find out for yourself. (paused/hesitant) Right?"

My concern with this thread is that it might encourage someone that if they just "pack the right stuff," everything will be OK.

Its not about what you take, its about how you go, when you go, and who you go with. Be it your first time or you 20th. This is an especially bad situation to try to start out with.

I worked for the AP in Mexico City from 1991 to 1998 and I've covered my share of this kind of thing. I think I have an idea of what I'm talking about.

Hey if this is your "FIRST TIME" and you get an invite from the urban search and rescue in your town or you talk your way into the unit deploying there from the local army base, i'd say GO FOR IT!

If this is your "FIRST TIME," and you think your ready to hop on a plane to the Dominican Republic because you bought a water filter and a Leatherman, please reconsider.

The reason for the list of people who are already there was merely to point out that if anybody has illusions of financing this sort of venture by selling images to magazines or photo agencies, It's not gonna happen.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 12:28 AM on 01.19.10
->> Joe,Great post.

Steve, I covered the riots in what was then the CND in Miami in '70? Similar in that I was damn lucky I didn't get killed. Haiti is worse... a lot worse. No place to go unprepared with no resources to back one up.

Chuck, make great photos and be damn careful.
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Kent Nishimura, Student/Intern
Honolulu | HI | USA | Posted: 2:44 AM on 01.19.10
->> there is some great discussion going on here, and i thank everyone for sharing their insight and wealth of knowledge.

to everyone out in Haiti right now. please be safe. return home to your loved ones when you can. aloha.
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Jack Kurtz, Photographer
Phoenix | AZ | United States | Posted: 2:15 PM on 01.19.10
->> Here's an interesting read on Haiti, the media, resources and priorities from the New Republic: http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/the-disaster-pool
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 5:15 PM on 01.19.10
->> Brad, come on down. It's a big party here in Port Au Prince... We're sitting around drinking cold beer and eating twinkies.....oh and the building 50 feet away has 70 unrecovered bodies in it since it collapsed on the nursing school. I apologize if I hurt your feelings also with my post. good luck to ya.
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Jack Kurtz, Photographer
Phoenix | AZ | United States | Posted: 6:14 PM on 01.19.10
->> More thoughts on photographers in Haiti:

http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2010/01/your-turn-haiti-on-a-not-insubstantial-...
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Brad Barr, Photographer
Port St. Lucie | FL | USA | Posted: 9:14 PM on 01.19.10
->> Chuck...again...read whats been written bro. Nobody said anything close to what you are referring.

But thanks for the truly insightful and helpful advice to anyone who may be heading there for the first time or 50th time. (oh yeah, wait, you havent given us anything but a ration of shi*).

Its really time to stop the condescending attitude and be just a little helpful to those that might not have as much ground time in the shiX as you do. But I guess its hard looking down on the commoners from way up high on that pedestal...Give me a break. Just cause you've covered a lot of stuff does NOT give you the right to be condescending to every other shooter on here.

This thread was not asking should I go. Read...Read...RE-REad...the original post and you'll see nothing of the sort was asked.

But again thanks for taking the time away from making all those real, powerful, impactful, and meaningful images to berate those of us idiots who might find such real info (had you shared any) helpful, interesting and useful...for daring to ask the mighty and all knowing Chuck Liddy....please. Show a little more respect for those of us who maybe dont have "that" experience, but may in fact have a great deal more "other" expereince than you give us all credit for.
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Brad Barr, Photographer
Port St. Lucie | FL | USA | Posted: 9:22 PM on 01.19.10
->> >>
Great Joe, you're almost there. Take your quote.

Its about how you go...ok how? Tell us your recommendations...

Its about who you go with....clearly...apart from USMC who would you recommend...who would you stay away from. How did/do you get "in" with those same organizations...

Its about when you go....clearly..again...obviously first in has the best shot, but when else? What about different story angles...what about covering a single family or group as opposed to trying to be all things to all viewers.

What about areas not in Port Au Prince? Surely there is also devastation away from "the big picture" or big city...I see very little coverage on that.

See these sorts of questions/comments and a dozen more are all that the op and I have asked about. But rather than share with teh rest of the SS commmunity any of these really helpful or insightful tips that may save someone from a problem....all we've heard is
"how dare you even consider coming down here" "you dont belong".......gee thats helpful....
bb
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Adam Vogler, Photographer, Photo Editor
Kansas City | Mo. | USA | Posted: 10:31 PM on 01.19.10
->> This reminds me of all those, "How do I get to shoot the Superbowl" threads.

I'm pretty sure the same answer applies.
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Patrick Fallon, Student/Intern, Photographer
Columbia | MO | USA | Posted: 10:57 PM on 01.19.10
->> If you can't handle someone being condensing to you, you can't handle being in a war zone, Haiti, or the sh*t. Stop this feud.
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Mark Sobhani, Photographer
San Antonio | TX | USA | Posted: 11:01 PM on 01.19.10
->> Here's a partial list of things you need before going to Haiti: (this is assuming you have the gear/sat phone/innoculations and other things that others have already mentioned.)

1) A Budget: Not a cash budget, but a story budget. Figure out why you are going and what stories you are going to tell.
If all you're thinking is to make photos of dead bodies and looting, you're too late my friend. It's been done. And done. And done. If you really want to make marketable photos, you have to tell the stories that the hundreds of national journalists on the ground aren't telling. The market is saturated with photos from Haiti. How will your's stand out? If you know the country, the history and the culture, you might be able to come up with some good story ideas. But do it beforehand. Once you're in country and on your own, you'll have a pretty limited scope of the situation.

2) A Client: You want to make photos that will be seen all over the world and spark a change? That won't happen if your photos never get published.
If your client is a news organization/photo agency: Will they front you any money? Reimburse expenses? Will they help you if you get into trouble (sick, injuredÖ)? Will they want the copyright to the photos they buy? What percentage of sales do they take? Are you shooting on spec?

3) A Safe House: You've made it into Haiti. Where are you going to stay? Is it safe? Can you leave your laptop and other gear behind while you go out shooting, or do you have to carry everything everywhere all the time? Remember, you're carrying $20,000+ in equipment plus several thousand dollars cash. Even more important ó you're carrying lots of food!

4) A Fixer: If you don't know you're way around town and you don't know the language, you need to find a local who will help you. You'll need to pay them. You'll need to trust them. (That's the tricky part.)

5) A Psychiatrist: Really. Whether you think you'll need one or not, go ahead and make the appointment now for when you return.

6) Passion: I know this sounds trite ó we all have a passion for photojournalism. Passion is what will keep you going when you haven't slept in 36 hours, you're starving, and a bullet just whizzed by your head.
We like to say there's no photo worth risking your life for, but the truth is, there are. We all weigh the potential consequences to the risks we take as photographers. The ones who constantly go into dangerous situations have made peace with that. Deep down inside, they know there's a chance today could be their last. It's their passion that keeps them from seizing up.

7) A Will

8) An understanding that important events do not make great photographs.
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Brad Barr, Photographer
Port St. Lucie | FL | USA | Posted: 11:32 PM on 01.19.10
->> Adam....I have creds for the Superbowl media thanks...oh and once again...read the post. Nobody asked how to get to shoot in haiti......

Patrick...the word is condescending (not condensing).....and I can handle it, but that doenst mean Chuck or You...have the right to be such.

Mark!! Thank you for actually responding to what the Op Ivan actually asked. Safe house...that might be a stretch from the sound of it...and the Fixer....that might be the most important of all.
Thanks for posting!!
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Steven Rosenberg, Photo Editor, Photographer
Chicago | IL | USA | Posted: 12:00 AM on 01.20.10
->> >> If you can't handle someone being condensing to you, you can't handle being in a war zone, Haiti, or the sh*t. Stop this feud.

Exactly.

Now it's time to push this story forward in your community. Are people trying to adopt Haitian children where you live? Is there another local angle you can take through relief agencies, churches, charities, etc.?

There is amazing work going on in Haiti by photographers who are not only talented, but have resources backed by major organizations, including my own. Instead of trying to join the "party" lets do some work that can have just as much meaning in our own backyards. We don't all need to go to Haiti to feel like we can make a difference and tell a story.

Just another point of view.

And to my colleagues down there, keep up the great work and stay safe.
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Danny Gawlowski, Photographer, Photo Editor
Seattle | WA | USA | Posted: 12:52 AM on 01.20.10
->> Seattle Times staffer Erika Schultz flew on a mission to Haiti and back on a C-17 from McChord Saturday and Sunday. For those waiting on a tarmac, here's what it looks like inside. Photos: http://bit.ly/5jITwl Video: http://bit.ly/8imOeV

Even embedded with the Air Force, this was not a simple trip. Those considering going really need to have a plan and really think about why they are going.

To those who are working this, good luck.
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Adam Vogler, Photographer, Photo Editor
Kansas City | Mo. | USA | Posted: 2:15 AM on 01.20.10
->> my point was that you learn from doing the job.

You work your way up.

You learn by going to injury accidents and structure fires; from having to having to walk up and get the name of a 12 year-old girl with tears streaming down her face as she watches everything she owns burn.

You learn from wading through s#*t (literally) after a flood to talking to and photographing people who have lost everything and don't know what they are going to do or where theyĎre going to go.

You learn from getting a mother whose 19-year old son was gunned down to do a portrait at the scene of the crime and dealing with not knowing what to do or say when she breaks down in front of you.

You learn from working on countless stories on men, women and children facing a terminal disease with more courage than you can capture with your camera.

You learn by going to seminars and talks by people like Chuck who have been there done that and getting to know them and more importantly letting them get to know you so that when and if your name gets pulled to cover something like this you have a support network to help you out with the details.

Thatís all a list of stuff to take is, the details. The important thing is how you carry yourself and how you deal with what I'm sure is a horrifically dynamic situation. You aren't going to learn instincts off of Sportsshooter.

You learn by working long hours doing heartbreaking work for less money than an assistant manager at Taco Bell with little or no future.

A photojournalist earns his or her experience the same way a sports photographer earns his way to a Superbowl cred.

You do the job.

You work your way up.

You document little Hells on your way to documenting big Hells.

I think if you lucky youíll never have to, but itís the job. Personally Iíd rather not have that sort of stuff to shoot. But its out there and thatís what I do.

Itís the job; and thatís how Iím learning to do it.

I'm going to learn by looking at he photos Chuck send back and what he chooses to share with us about his experiences. I'm going to learn by keeping my mouth shut and ears open when he does it. I may or may not agree with him on things but I'm damn well going to listen and Iím going to listen to others to.

Iím going to work on earning my dues and the respect of my peers.
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Debra L Rothenberg, Photographer
New York | NY | USA | Posted: 2:47 AM on 01.20.10
->> what have I learned from reading posts on Sportsshooter this past year?

1.
there are TOO MANY people who DO NOT know how to completely read a post, yet respond anyway
2. there are A LOT of really angry people here

I find it very, very sad that when people come here for help/advice, they are often ridiculed and people try to make them look stupid. I don't know much about leaving where I live to shoot something horrific such as the disaster in Haiti but I do live in NYC and lived very close to the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the first plane literally shook my building. I grabbed my camera and ran in as close as I could get. On day 2 I was told by the National Guard to get out but found another way in. Photographers came here from all over. I am not telling anyone to grab a camera and fly to Haiti...I am just tired of all the angry responses that are all over this message board. This is an open site and the one thing I hear from people is "sportsshooter.com is a very angry board." When I first joined in 2003, it was not like this.

I was fortunate to have worked with a very talented photographer at my first paper who didn't make me feel like a loser for not knowing how to use steel developing reels correctly. I would read News Photographer Magazine from cover to cover and back then, John Kaplan was our photo G_d. He won award after award and was THE shooter to look up to. I remember writing him a letter and he took the time to write back, and even called me. This was a photographer at the top of our field, and he was kind enough to take time from his busy life to respond.
When I moved to NYC almost 11 years ago I met several of the photographers at the NY Daily News, Susan Watts, Todd Meisel and David Handshuh-shooters who I am now fortunate enough to work with that I admired for years. Several years ago I met David Bergman. These are all shooters who are at the top, yet time after time I watch them with photographers who ask some pretty ridiculous questions. NEVER once do they make anyone feel beneath them or dumb.
What I am trying to say is I try to help young photographers as best I can, with the knowledge I have. Everyday I try to pay it forward.

It's a shame when people are afraid to post here for fear of being ridiculed. An editor once told me "THERE ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS"

Why not try being a little nicer in your approach to certain questions people may have. Just because someone has been in this business a long time doesn't mean they "deserve" any respect. You may be the best photographer on the planet but sorry, if you're a schmuck, you are not going to earn my respect.
BEING NICE GOES A LONG LONG WAY!

Good night
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Angus Mordant, Student/Intern
Sydney | NSW Australia | Australia | Posted: 6:52 AM on 01.20.10
->> just hearing reports of another 6.0 Earthquake in Haiti, i hope everyone is ok and that all Media and Rescuers/Aid Organisations remain safe and continue doing amazing work in both regards.
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Joe Cavaretta, Photographer
Ft Lauderdale | FL | USA | Posted: 7:53 AM on 01.20.10
->> another interesting look at this ....
http://duckrabbit.info/blog/2010/01/have-100-eyes-lost-the-plot/
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Ivan Pierre Aguirre, Student/Intern, Assistant
El Paso | TX | United States | Posted: 9:01 AM on 01.20.10
->> Over the past couple of days I have received several supporting emails. The main point of most of them, good question(s), BUT stay off the message boards.

Why do people, especially students have to feel intimated and/or scared and/or nervous when posting to a msg board on a site that, "serves as an informative and inspiring site for anyone who aspires to be on the sidelines capturing great moments at their favorite sporting venue." Obviously disaster areas are not sporting events, but as we know, SS has morphed to more than just sports. Which,IMO, is for the better. But I digress.

When posting a new topic, people shouldn't feel like they are making a huge mistake and have hesitations. For example this is how one recent post STARTED, "Feels like I'm jumping on a grenade by staring this thread." Wow! Obviously the thread and question were interesting, but the "poster" still seemed like he let out a huge hesitant sigh right before pressing that "publish this message" button. I can not imagine the number of photogs, pro or student, that have NOT posted interesting and enlightening questions on here just because they don't want to be belittled in front of the ss community and "outsiders."

Since the very FIRST time I heard of ss.com and when I've been away on internships, everybody has told me stay away from the boards. "It is just a bunch of clowns arguing." Shame, seems like SS MSG BOARDS, not the other "half" of the site, has slowly developed a judgmental atmosphere splattered on 15 inch screens for ALL to see. I guess the same can be said about the entire www. Obviously NOT everybody argues on here, but more than likely a simple post leads to harsh jabs.
This shouldn't be peoples attitude-"Whew. I've been a SS member since the inception and now remember why I don't tend to post here. Much like Haiti, this board often descends into utter chaos and conflict.

Maybe it is time for ss.com to morph again. Sad but maybe the msg boards on here should be more like facebook. More filters. A filter for pros to have their post read only by other pros. A filter for students who aren't comfortable asking pros questions on public forums, for obvious reasons, to have their post read only by other students. While still keeping the third and current option still around for those who don't care. For those thinking, just stay of the boards if you don't want the stress. Do we really want to discourage photography dialogue or encourage it??


OK OK....Lets clear some things up FIRST. Gosh can't believe I have to explain again, but I guess I am not really explaining anything to those who understood the first time. My post was NOT asking, "SHOULD I GO OR NOT????" As stated many times before above. I, nor Brad, for that matter, plan on going to Haiti. ----AND---- (HUGE AND) the dangerous of going to Haiti have been given, ALREADY. Full disclosure, would I want to go to Haiti if Fort Bliss in El Paso sent soldiers down there? Sure. Who wouldn't. But not planning on it. Not enough resources. Still, I don't see anything wrong with wanting, as Steve Apps mentioned, "to be where the story is". I would think all of us would feel the same. Until we experience things for ourselves, some have to live vicariously through others by asking lot of questions, either on forums or in person. Not too many pro photogs here in El Paso. Actually, the Sun Bowl is my FAVORITE event to cover down here. It is exciting seeing more than 3 pro shooters on the sidelines! Kid in a candy store. For those of you in "big markets," be grateful that you have access to lots of photogs in the flesh. NOT just to bug and ask questions, not sure how to explain. More of a feeling in the air. It is great being around a LIVE photo community, even if it is just for a day. Sites like sportsshooter are sometimes the only mass connections. So I wont, nor should I, apologies or regret my questions on this forum. That said, I had to clarify some things to MY post.


These kind of post are long. Mistakes happen. BUT my question was pretty simple and shouldn't have been missed (for those that indeed missed it) especially since it was the first post. Here it is again w/o the () ----"I was hoping to start a thread where IF photogs still decide to go to Haiti what advice do fellow photogs who have gone to cover disaster/conflict assignments, have for those few that still decide to go to Haiti?
A few people, must have accidentally skipped the imperative words IF,STILL,DECIDE,THOSE,STILL(again)and GO.

Rusty and others, I understand it is hard to be impartial. Especially if you personally know a photog here, and are from the same city/state. But try. It is black and white.

Look at what I ASKED. And then look at what Mr. Liddy and others replied. Insightful,IF THE QUESTION WAS,"what are the dangerous of going to Haiti right now?" AND "Should I go or not?"
Even though Jane never asked about the dangers, they were given many times. I think it was well known many days ago about how dangerous it is to go down there right no. My post was to simply give and support a DIFFERENT point of view. Yes, that is it! Nothing spectacular.
Check out Janes original post on Haiti.
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=35139
Simple posted topic. First few replies ask logical questions and answer the question Janes asked. But then it gets crashed. Instead of somebody "who has done it all" answering those simple questions, they give their unwarranted advice. Good or bad, it doesn't matter. You ask, so what, big deal. Info was given to question that was not asked. That is the problem with problems on these msg boards. People do a lot more diluting than helping. Brad, Debra and others who can read, hit it EXACTLY in the head. But of course, Brad receives "Inappropriate" feedback. Figures!


Chuck Liddy you said, "I really wonder what kind of an ego someone would have to think that with no experience they would actually, in your words, "make a difference on a global scale"."
Really Chuck, really??! Wow. Say it ain't so. Is that THE msg you want to give. If you have no experience you can not possibly make a difference. BUT if you do indeed believe you can make a difference, you must have an ego. Is that the same msg you would tell a lecture hall full of journalism students? Or even students applying for internships? "Apply and go if you get it, but just know before you leave, you have no experience in a daily, so don't expect to make a difference in our community/newsroom. BUT go gem' kid."
Great words, Mr. Liddy.

Let me say your great words are a fallacy. Just like only white swans existing. Is experience great, HECK YEAH, BUT just because you lack it does not mean you can't make a difference. Just ask Ron Haviv. He went from shooting parades on 5th ave and never being overseas to making a difference for the people of Panama.(I have to say this before people misinterpret for their benefit, I am not comparing all inexperienced photogs to Ron Haviv.) If people have dreams of making a difference, who are YOU/WE to say it can not ever happen?!
http://www.viiphoto.com/podcast-movie.php?vID=16


You also said, "One of the things that is somewhat irritating on this message board is when young guys like you ask questions and don't get an "attaboy go get 'em" you take offense." What inclination did you get from me that I wanted encouragement from YOU or others? AGAIN, my question wasn't "should I go or not?" If us "young guys" are so irritating, then why reply to our post that seem to be beneath you? Besides TRYING to belittle us.

So I HAVE to ask. From your words Chuck if this is true,"The people who are making a difference on a global scale are already there doing it, Loomis, Guzy, Gilky, and Farrell." THEN why did YOU decide to go to Haiti a few days after the quake? NOT being sarcastic, Serious question. If it is saturated with photogs and it is really dangerous then why go? I understand that their is a big military base near Durham. BUT couldn't the other 500 journalist in Haiti right now, have covered the 82nd airborne division? I think this is a valid question for someone is was the first person to tell people NOT to go.
Google "82nd airborne division" under the news tab. AP, AFP, Getty, Reuters etc all covered the division. It is more of a rhetorical question. I am betting the hunger to "be where the story is" got the best of you. For that, you can't be blamed. Just contradictory to your own advice.

If it is valid argument to say that an inexperienced photog shouldn't go to cover major disasters, then it too is a valid argument to say that JUST because you have experience in covering major disasters does not mean you should go.

"You ask a question and you got several good answers to it. Sorry none of them fit your game plan and all of them told you to stay at home. " You just don't get IT or missed what I said Chuck, even though I said it right before your post. I had NO "plans" on being a cowboy and going to Haiti, hence none of the feedback could have possibly told me to "stay home."


Long, I know. Sorry if you read all this. But I had something to say.
Chuck, you and everybody down there and in Iraq etc etc all HAD to START SOMEWHERE. I understand you have to start small. But are we EVER REALLY experienced enough to cover disasters that claims so many lives. I just wanted to ask a few questions. That's all.
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