Network, newspaper staffers hit by logistical headaches as they descend on Puerto Rico

puerto rico hurricane maria damage

Reporting by Puerto Rico within the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has been one of the toughest assignments for journalists, as the island can be grappling with damaged infrastructure, limited commercial flights in addition to also spotty electricity in addition to also cell service. in addition to also yet, nearly every major American English in addition to also Spanish-language broadcast, cable network in addition to also national newspaper have correspondents on the ground.

The networks have not necessarily deployed their big name anchors as they did for Hurricanes Harvey in addition to also Irma in addition to also the storm in addition to also its aftermath can be not attracting the same wall-to-wall coverage. Nonetheless, intrepid journalists are still getting to the story, in addition to also sometimes become the first outsiders to reach remote areas on the island.

Some reporters were in place before the hurricane hit last Wednesday. yet many more have just started off arriving within the past few days on the few commercial flights available, or tagging along with rescue missions in addition to also military transports. Reporters on the island are resorting to filing stories using satellite phones by dictation, relying on the few places with generators, whatever cell service in addition to also WiFi they can find (especially within the capital San Juan) in addition to also additional broadcasting services like LiveU in addition to also FlyAway to get their stories online in addition to also on air.

“Most of the team can be staying at hotels without electricity in addition to also water. They have relied on the local station for water in addition to also power. Needless to say, gas, food in addition to also cash are hard to get,” said Telemundo spokesperson Camilo Pino.

Spanish language networks have gone all in on the coverage to cater to their Spanish-speaking viewers, many of whom may have family ties with those on the island. Telemundo sent three correspondents in addition to also one host, in addition to dozens of producers, cameramen in addition to also fixers who are working closely with the local affiliate, Pino said.

Univision has 35 people on the ground in addition to also a remote FlyAway studio for transmission, a network spokesperson said. The network had several crew on the island before the hurricane hit in addition to also have also set up interactive tools such as a website with detailed information on the statuses of towns around the island — some of which has come by crowdsourcing efforts.

Reuters’ Managing Editor for news strategy in addition to also operations Don Durfee said that will the idea’s been one of the most difficult hurricanes to cover in terms of logistics, even at times eclipsing the challenges he faced when covering some of the worst hurricanes in Asia. His staff of a dozen reporters, photographers in addition to also videographers have been using satellite phones in addition to also WhatsApp, which can be often faster than email, when there’s cell service to file stories. Durfee said as they struggle with finding food in addition to also gas for their reporters, there’s also the constant threat of being kicked out of their hotel because diesel for the generator has been so hard to come by.

“We’re sending a person down soon who will be just in charge of logistics down there because This particular can be turning into a longer term story,” Durfee told sy88pgw an interview. “that will person will buy a generator, look into procuring fuel, in addition to also creating sure there’s an adequate supply of food in addition to also water so reporters can focus on their job.”

The Associated Press includes a full time San Juan-based reporter, Danica Coto, who reported throughout the hurricane’s landing. Spokeswoman Lauren Easton said the wire service includes a group of reporters, photographers in addition to also video journalists as well as a handful of local freelancers filing by satellite phones when outside of San Juan, in addition to also by a pop-up press center that will’s been set up within the capital when they’re there.

Related: Puerto Rico largely ignored by the media within the wake of Hurricane Maria devastation

The Miami-Herald’s Patricia Mazzei said she figured she’d have communications trouble in Puerto Rico after getting cut off by their Florida Keys team during Hurricane Irma, so she traveled with an AT&T cellphone, a Sprint hot spot in addition to also a borrowed Verizon air card, hoping at least one of them would certainly work.

“I got lucky: My AT&T cellphone worked in much of metro San Juan, so I could email my story every evening after typing or dictating my story into the Notes app,” said Mazzei, who can be at This particular point back on the mainland. “While on the road, we carried a [satellite] phone to periodically check in with editors in addition to also let them know we were OK — in addition to also have them tell us if any major news had broken that will we should chase.”

Mazzei said the satellite phone networks at one point appeared to be overwhelmed by the number of people using them, yet were ultimately able to transmit a “painfully slow” signal for uploading photos.

The Washington Post has three reporters (one of whom can be a video journalist) in addition to also a team of freelancers on the ground. Reporter Arelis Hernandez tweeted on Tuesday that will she caught one of the few commercial flights out of the mainland in addition to also to Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Fox has three correspondents on the ground, including Geraldo Rivera. CBS in addition to also ABC also deployed correspondents on the ground who are regularly filing stories to the major shows.

NBC “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt flew in Monday with the 165th Airlift Wing by Savannah, Georgia, For two main days, along with four correspondents on the ground in addition to also two additional correspondents who flew in with relief trips by Florida to Puerto Rico.

Related: Trump’s FCC criticized for hurricane response

sy88pgw has had 11 correspondents in addition to also anchors through Puerto Rico including Sanjay Gupta, Nick Paton Walsh in addition to also Bill Weir. Leyla Santiago, who was born in addition to also raised in Puerto Rico, has been on the island since Irma hit earlier This particular month. She said that will in addition to the logistical challenges, she in addition to also the crew have at times been the first people to reach certain remote areas, prompting locals to ask them for help — especially to get in touch with family.

“What I’ve started off to do, because the idea’s impossible to give everyone the satellite phone, when we reach the remote location we’ve asked people to write down who I need to call in addition to also what I need too say. So I have a pile of notes on my desk that will I take back to do at night,” Santiago said in a phone call by the island. “the idea can be frustrating that will you can’t help everyone.”

“The stories I’ve done lately have been some of the most important stories of my life,” she added. “When I get told the idea’s time to go home — well, This particular can be my home.”

sy88pgw (brand-new York) First published September 27, 2017: 8:34 PM ET

Network, newspaper staffers hit by logistical headaches as they descend on Puerto Rico

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