- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: Poetry is released from the vaults of a news agency archive
- Date: 3rd March 2011
- Summary: NEAR EL-BUREIJ, GAZA (APRIL 16, 2008) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) ISRAELI TANK FIRING SHELL TOWARDS CAMERA; FILMED BY REUTERS CAMERAMAN FADEL SHANA ++BLACK++
- Embargoed: 18th March 2011 12:00
- Location: United Kingdom, United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA10K5RHRQ4K9ES545Z935OGVZP
- Story Text: From her windowless desk in the large basement of London-based British broadcaster, ITN, Jude Cowan catalogues raw footage for the ThomsonReuters news agency video archive. Every major news event from around the world passes across her desk to be logged and filed for future use. Much of the material is of a graphic nature: the aftermath of bombings, air disasters, floods.
In 2008 Jude embarked on an ambitious year-long venture to transform unpackaged television images into poetry. The result is a powerful and moving literary work. For the Messengers is a personal response to those people whose lives, and sometime deaths, were glimpsed through a camera lens and immortalised.
"You can't help but have a response to the images that you see and to the stories that you see, and I needed some way of processing that in a way. I needed somewhere to put the emotions I was having viewing this material, and I found that poetry was a really good vehicle for expressing those feelings," Jude told Reuters.
The volume contains over 100 poems, covering six continents and dozens of themes. Some are quirky, like Iran: Animal Shelter, where dogs - "denounced as Western, unislamic and unclean" by Iranian authorities are lovingly cared for by an army of committed volunteers.
The book is dedicated to Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana, who was killed by an Israeli tank shell in the Gaza Strip on April 16, 2008. The Palestinian-born cameraman was just 23 years old.
"For the Messengers is for the people who go out all over the world and bring back stories from quite extreme situations so we have news; and so that we can see what's going on. The book's dedicated to Fadel Shana who is a Reuters cameraman, who was killed in April of 2008, and, well, it's dedicated to him because he died in the course of collecting a story," Jude said.
Award-winning British news anchor, Jon Snow said Cowan's poetry was remarkable and resonated with authenticity.
"Every poem which entirely derives of her day job - looking at all this footage going through her screen - makes you feel she was there; and she's never been anywhere."
The power of Cowan's poetry is that it is imbued with rich detail that television often misses, said Snow.
"I think it kind of emphasises the absolute core issues within an event and distills them into something which weaves emotionally through your system, and trips all those responses that sometimes television fails to."
Gaza: Reuters Cameraman is a moving account of Shana's death, which he unwittingly filmed, and its devastating aftermath. The video from Shana's camera showed an Israeli tank opening fire. Two seconds after the shot raises dust around its gun, the tape goes blank - seemingly at the moment the cameraman was hit. The Reuters vehicle was an unarmored sport utility vehicle bearing "TV" and "Press" markings. The blast on a country back road left the car shattered and ablaze. Eight Palestinian bystanders were also killed and a Reuters soundman was wounded. The Israeli army expressed its regret but later exonerated the troops who killed him.
Jude Cowan Montague Jude C. Montague
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