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CBS sending Katie Couric on reporting trip to Iraq and Syria ahead of surge progress report

CBS sending Katie Couric on reporting trip to Iraq and Syria ahead of surge progress report

CBS news anchor Katie Couric plans to leave Wednesday for an ambitious reporting trip to Iraq and Syria in anticipation of a crucial military report on progress of the American effort.
Couric will anchor the "CBS Evening News" from Baghdad next Tuesday and Wednesday, then from Damascus on Thursday and Friday. The Baghdad newscast will mark her first time in a war zone.
Couric will travel throughout Iraq to talk to military and civilian leaders, soldiers and average Iraqis, spending most of her time outside of Baghdad. CBS News would not reveal many specifics of her plans in advance because of competitive and safety concerns. The trip, in the works for six weeks, anticipates the surge progress report by Gen. David Petraeus that is expected the second week of September.
"You can't help but get a very detached perspective when you're not there and you're not witnessing things firsthand," Couric told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I'm curious about very basic questions regarding living conditions, about how much fear there is in the street, about how the soldiers really are doing."
Couric and her traveling partner, evening news executive producer Rick Kaplan, were fitted with 30-pound (14-kilogram) body armor vests in Kaplan's office on Tuesday. Both needed to send theirs back to add extra protection to the sides.
Safety is a sobering concern for all reporters in Iraq. The Committee to Protect Journalists said 112 journalists have been killed in Iraq since March 2003. An additional 41 media workers have been killed, the latest being CBS News Iraqi translator Anwar Abbas Lafta, whose body was found over the weekend in Sadr City.
Couric is the second major network anchor to travel to Iraq since ABC News' Bob Woodruff was nearly killed by a roadside bomb. NBC's Brian Williams went to Iraq in March; Woodruff's successor Charles Gibson has not been there.
CBS News cameraman Paul Douglas and sound-man James Brolan were both killed by a bomb while on assignment in Iraq in May 2006. Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, who was with them, survived but has endured 25 operations in her recovery; Couric anchored a special this spring on the bombing's aftermath.
CBS sought permission to enter Iran for further reporting during Couric's trip, but could not get it in time from that nation's authorities, Kaplan said.


Updated : 2021-03-05 09:21 GMT+08:00