Thursday, May 10, 2007

A New Yorker - Anderson Cooper

The first time I saw Anderson Cooper on CNN I was really pissed off. I was living in London and his show, AC 360 was not normally broadcasted on CNN International. Waiting for my favorite news anchors to appear at midnight (live from Hong Kong), I all of a sudden saw a presenter from Atlanta saying that "now, you will be watching AC 360 live from Darfur with Anderson Cooper". Then I saw a grey-haired man who looked young but mysteriously old too. Trying to describe the situation/crisis in Darfur while interviewing children, he gave the impression that he was fully committed, in the moment, there in Africa. "What's his problem?" I wondered. Why a young reporter leaves USA and travels to Africa to interview half-dead children? Doesn't he have a life?

Apparently not. A few months later, as a guest on Larry King Live promoting his book "Dispatches from the Edge", he blatantly admitted that he become a war correspondent to get a share of world's pain, unhappiness and misery. A way to feel in full his own. Well, after all, my initial thoughts were justified. He didn't have a happy life.

I met Anderson Cooper last night at Borders when he did a book signing. The line was long (the second longest line for a book signing I was in - with first being Hilary Clinton's) but he and us, the readers, were all very patient. He was modest, shy and gentle. Someone who became so successful as a reporter because he is real, honest and bold, because he participates in pain. War zones reporting is not just a job for him, it's a calling.

Anderson Copper, Dispatches from the Edge, Harper and Collins.