SYNOPSIS: The biggest and most consistent story of the year was again - Vietnam. This?
SYNOPSIS: The biggest and most consistent story of the year was again - Vietnam. This film was shot by stringer Tren Huu Trong, who was the only cameramen into the provincial capital of An Loc as government troops moved in to break the siege. The latest fighting has taken its toll among cameramen. Trong himself was wounded in an earlier engagement. One effect has been the doubling of cameramen's fees. The consequent strain on the coverage budget has been mitigated, however, by the unqualified successes we have had in bringing action pictures like these to Europe, Australia and Japan by increasing use of the satellites.
When South Vietnam government troops moved in to secure Quang Tri, it was staffman Neil Davis who got exclusive coverage of the action. Davis has been a war cameramen in South East Asia for abut eight years now. He, too, was slightly wounded in the face during this battle. One aspect of both Trong's and Davis's efforts on both occasions was the way in which they were able to help our friends at Reuters. The only newsmen into these battle areas, they came out, not only with picture, but also eye-witness accounts. Their by-line stories made headlines in newspapers in many ports of the world. Again, it was film like this that has given us a clear lead in the servicing of some-day shooting to our subscribers by satellite.
At the height of the Indo-Pakistan war, fifteen Visnews cameramen, soundmen and co-ordinators were operating in India and East and West Pakistan. Among them was staff cameramen Sepp Riff. His dramatic film of an Indian air raid, while he was trapped behind the lines, was first impounded and then released three months later - and still received and used with great impact. It was pictures like these that earned the company a fine reputation for good coverage - as well as some impressive scores in the competition for Eurovision acceptances during the two-week war.
When Dacca fell to the victorious Indian forces, ninety three thousand West Pakistanis were detained - among them one of our freelance cameramen, Shakeel Burney. Today, although able to receive food and money, he remains captive, despite our continued efforts - together with those of UPITN, who also have a men held - to get him released. (Pause)
Now, in peace, staff cameramen Bill Woodmen has been moved from Africa to take up a post in Kerachi - strengthening the sub-continents' coverage position even more.
On another continent, in South America, there have been further changes in the company's operation. Colombia, where these pictures of a town engulfed by a landslide were shot by a freelance, is now part of the beat of one of Visnews's new concept of journalist/cameraman
Martin Davis former Reuter staffer, has been trained to operate a camera. Working out of Lima, he in now responsible for co-ordinating averages in the northern half of the continent. But, he is also capable of 'fire brigade' action - carrying his camera into story areas and getting the pictures himself where necessary. It's a concept that is beginning to work well. We have another mon like Davis in the Far East.
Overall responsibility for Latin America, however, rests with a freshly appointed news editor in Buenos Aires. John Brittle, a former head office newsroom executive, has opened a successful bureau there. Its work has gone a long way towards improving averages out of South America, like this hotel fire rescue story in Rio. South America continues to suffer economically and our efforts to increase the number of subscribers remain frustrated by financial controls and currency.restrictions. Nevertheless, we are pressing ahead with our plans to open up the are further.
It's never easy to get colour film from Eastern Europe. But, the death of Kwams Nkrumab, in Bucharest, highlighted the growing sense of co-operation between our subscribers and ourselves. Using colour stock supplied from Visnews in London, Rumanian Television filmed Kkrumah's lying-in-state for us. It was not too long ago that we would have been more than delighted to have received coverage like this in black and white.
Pomp and pageantry found a ready place in the service - a foil for so much of the strife and violence that, too often, heads the daily output. The Shab of Iren's celebrations of twenty-five centuries of Persian civilisation, which included the gathering of more crowned heeds in one place than has been seen for many years, gave us an opportunity to put into service something that was spectacle and glitter, instead of the oft-syndicated tales of horror and terror. The Iranians went to great technical lengths to display the occasion. A special satellite operation was mounted to do this. But, there was still demand for well-shot colour film - and freelance cameramen Tefesse Jarra covered the entire celebrations for our service.
The middle East - where this exclusive film of King Hussein's sons at military training was shot for us by Yasar Duro - has also been a region of Visnews expansion. This spring saw the establishment of a new bureau to hold responsibility for coverage in the region. Noel Alexandre, formerly a staffman in Paris, moved to Beirut, from where he controls the output from the territory coast of the Suez Canal.
This guerilla funeral was a story that featured in the newest development in the syndication service - the establishment of a special Arab Service. It is being offered to the fifteen Arab-speaking stations in North Africa and the Middle East. A six-month trial has just ended.
The visit of President Nixon to China gave the world the rarest story and pictures for many years. It was to have been an all-American occasion. But, despite this, places were found among the huge Press party for two Visnews cameramen - Russell Spurr from HongKong and Sepp Riff from Vienna became the only non-American newsmen in the party. However, neither the Americans, nor Visnews, was permitted to film the two leaders together. It was a privilege that peking Television reserved for themselves. Hence these black and white pictures.
The eyes of the world followed Nixon's visit via a complicated satellite network mounted with equipment especially flown into China for the even. Pooled film and correspondent's own reports, fed electronically in this way gave the story a greater immediacy than anyone had been able to give a story from China ever before. Though the Americans filmed and taped thousands of feet themselves, there was never enough good film to make the satellited bulletins as good as their editors wanted them to be. Because of this, there was room daily on the ??? pictures shot by the Visnews team on the satellites as well.
While for most of the time the Visnews assignment was aimed at recording the main story, our cameramen decided to take a separate sideways look also at an aspect that is rarely covered - the activities of the Press party themselves. At the end, an intimate study of cameramen looking at cameramen resulted in a forty-five minute documentary, produced by our Special Services Department.
Fast work in London after the original film had been received resulted in a turnaround of the documentary within days of the end of the visit. It has proved a popular and profitable undertaking. Even now, five months after the visit to China, there is still interest in it.
Nixon bailed his visit an the 'week that ??? the world". Visnews has shown that, true though that may be to the politicians, for us the week was just another facet of the coverage pattern that is routine is the daily collection and syndication of news to our world-wide subscribers.