Photo: Andre-Pierre (Flickr CC)
Anderson Cooper is the host of Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN. Recently, he has been in Boston covering the Boston Marathon bombings. He has been interviewing victims in the hospital to hear their experiences.
In one interview, he is interviewing Heather Abbot, a victim of the terrorist attack. She was maimed in the attack. She chose to amputate her severely injured foot after being taken to the hospital.
This interview is great because Cooper handles the subject very well. A terrorist attack is a very traumatic experience especially for someone who was seriously wounded in one. In the first stages of the interview, Cooper is asking Abbot to recount the bombing. She was right next to the explosion. During this stage of the interview, Cooper asks questions that guide Abbot to the next passage of the story. For example, he says, “So they [medics] put you in the ambulance,” at a time when it seemed that Abbot might lose her train of thought when recounting the attack. When Abbot starts to stutter when talking about how she was rescued by a bystander, Cooper fills in the blank for her, allowing her to continue on with her story. He keeps the conversation constant through this part of the interview. When the interview moves onto how Abbot is moving on from the injury, Cooper pauses every now and then because Abbot is more comfortable talking about the future due to her optimistic personality. Cooper is very conscious about how Abbot feels about recollecting her story
When Abbot is recounting the bombing, images of the immediate aftermath of the attack are laid over the audio to remind the viewer of the chaos of the event and that Abbot was right in the middle of it. There are some shots of Abbot’s amputation while she is in her hospital bed to show the viewers of what kind of pain she was in when the bombs went off.
This interview also does a good job of fulfilling the journalistic duty to “comfort the afflicted.” This interview shows that in the midst of chaos and horror, survivors are persevering with smiles and hope.
The interview can be found here