NBC News announced this morning it has partnered exclusively with Facebook for the launch a a cross-platform initiative “Spread the Story #Fight Ebola”. Over the next 24 hours NBC News will post a total of 24 stories of children and families impacted by Ebola, “to capture the untold personal tragedy brought by each death”. Every hour a new story will be available on NBCNews.com and on-air coverage will continue through NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams. No mention was made of NBC News’ chief medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman, who has been off the air despite her up-close-and-personal connection to the story, even after wrapping her legally imposed quarantine last month. NBC News asked her to spend time with her family, keeping her out of circulation until her violation of her original voluntary quarantine, and mishandled on-air “apology,” can fade in viewers’ memory.
That leaves room for CBS News’ Lara Logan to become the new TV face of Ebola coverage. CBS News pointedly announced she and her 60 Minutes colleagues are undergoing a 21-day self-imposed quarantine, following their week-long reporting assignment in Liberia. To drive home the point, Logan spoke to 60 Minutes Overtime via FaceTime from a hotel room in South Africa, where she is quarantined. Logan, a war correspondent who has reported extensively from Iraq and Afghanistan, says covering Ebola in Liberia “is very much like a war. You have to keep it together because that’s your job, and you can’t be here if you can’t do that. But it’s so heartbreaking.”
Ironically, Logan’s undergoing her own image rehabilitation. One year ago this month, CBS News announced she was taking a leave of absence from work in the wake of her discredited report about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. She began being seen on CBS News programs over the summer, but returned to 60 Minutes this fall.
A public health nurse monitored Snyderman and her crew members twice a day, and police conducted surveillance of her New Jersey home area, after public health officials slapped Snyderman with a mandatory quarantine.
Snyderman got flamed in the media after she was caught violating her much-ballyhooed, announced-on-national-TV voluntary quarantine upon returning from Africa, where she had been reporting on the health crisis. The announcement was made when she and her crew became big news after her cameraman was diagnosed with Ebola. During her voluntary quarantine, neighbors spotted her in her black Mercedes, double-parked outside a local restaurant, while a passenger went inside to get food. Authorities slapped her with a mandatory quarantine and she was monitored twice a day by a public health nurse, while police kept an eye on her house for the duration of her quarantine. Snyderman made things worse, and got further flamed on NBC News’ website and her Facebook page, when she made a statement about her quarantine nose-thumbing. In the statement, read on air by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams after her quarantine violation became national news, Snyderman did not acknowledge participating in the violation, instead describing a “members of our group” having violated the “guidelines.” In her statement, Snyderman said, “As a health professional, I know that we have no symptoms and pose no risk to the public.” The public was not amused.
NBC News chief Deborah Turness’ email sent to staff today about the division’s “Spread the Story #Fight Ebola” initiative:
Today, NBC News and Facebook launch a very important initiative, “Spread the Story #FightEbola.”
Over the next 24 hours across all NBC News platforms, we will publish and air 24 stories of children and families impacted by Ebola in West Africa, as well as those of the heroes who are working to make a difference.
Here’s how you can help: please share these powerful stories from NBC News in your Facebook feed and across other social platforms using the hashtag #FightEbola. Raising awareness is a very key step. And in addition, Facebook will direct users to more information about major relief organizations leading the charge.
From the Ebola clinics in West Africa to the hospitals here at home, NBC News has aggressively pursued the story, always working to shed light on the human impact of this global tragedy. “Spread the Story #FightEbola” is an extension of that work. This project is a great example of the collaborative power of NBC News and how we are able to unite across all programs and platforms to produce quality journalism that makes an impact.
A big thank you to everyone for coming together to make this day possible.
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