Martha Raddatz On Covering Wars: "You Sleep With Strange Men Or With Your Male Producer"
Broadcasting & Cable:
While ABC News recently announced that it would expand its partnership with the BBC to cover breaking news in Iraq, the network is still spending resources in the region. ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz has been to Afghanistan three times since November. She returned from her most recent trip on Jan. 19. Raddatz talks to B&C Programming Editor Marisa Guthrie about Afghans' growing disillusionment, as well as the challenges of covering foreign news.
Q: When you're embedded with the U.S. military, do you get your own tent?
A: Nope. You sleep with strange men or with your male producer. You're literally just thrown into a tent. They don't give you anything to sleep on. I'm pretty good at this by now. I bring a little silk sleeping bag that I bought in Vietnam, and you can pretend you have silk sheets. It folds up to the size of a handbag and it's pink. It's just perfect.
I always joke with the photographers. I just choose guys, when we go on embeds, based on whether they snore or not. It's pretty Spartan. You have a female shower trailer and a male shower trailer, and that's pretty much it.
Q: At least there's a female shower. But you're always completely outnumbered by the men?
A: Yes, you are. I don't really think about that anymore; you just have to have a sense of humor about it.
The military sense of humor can be a little coarse, I imagine.