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July 30th, 2011
12:57 AM ET

History unearthed in New York's Central Park

Archaeologists find remnants of a 19th century African-American village in New York's Central Park.


Filed under: backstory
July 26th, 2011
01:23 AM ET
July 22nd, 2011
05:57 PM ET

Space Shuttle History Captured in Photos

Space Shuttle Atlantis glided to Earth early Thursday, capping a shuttle program that spanned three decades.  For those 30 years, a team of professional photographers has been among those members of the press covering NASA's Space Shuttle program.  CNN's John Couwels introduces us to some of those men and women, and found out why they see their work as more than just a picture.
July 21st, 2011
08:01 PM ET

Somalia in Crisis

By Jane Ferguson and Moni Basu, CNN

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) – War forced tens of thousands of Somalis to flee their capital, Mogadishu. Famine is bringing them back.

Hungry and sick Somalis are trekking from their homes in famine-struck southern areas in search of food, water and medicine. More than 50,000, by a July 18 United Nations count, have arrived in Mogadishu, a city destroyed by two decades of conflict.

The United Nations refugee agency called it an "unprecedented influx" into a city that was notorious for exodus.

The people are arriving in a city where the sound of gunfire became as common as the start of a car engine; where tales of dismemberment and executions and other heinous deeds emanate from neighborhoods shut off from any form of governance.

What has caused the East Africa crisis?

It is exceedingly difficult to deliver aid in Mogadishu. Yet, people who have nothing left to lose hope to get lucky at feeding camps set up by Islamic charities and the United Nations' food agency.

World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran acknowledged the dire need to get food supplies into southern Somalia, where the al Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab recently lifted a ban on aid agencies.

The WFP will ratchet up its efforts and begin airlifting food within days to try and reach 2.2 million people in the south, Sheeran said.

In Mogadishu, the vast feeding camps are teeming with people, mostly women and children.

Jane Ferguson is just back from Mogadishu, where she got a first-hand look at the dismal conditions these desperate people are facing.

But hunger is certainly not the only problem Somalis are facing.  Ongoing fighting in and around the capital of Mogadishu has touched many families, making every day a fight just to survive.

In September 2010, Jane spent time reporting from Somalia.  She looked at the difficulties of staying safe in the city.

Jane also introduced us to the men who make up the front line in the fight against terrorism on the Horn of Africa, and explains why some of they continue to fight, despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges.  See that report .

Also in September, Jane visited a makeshift hospital in Mogadishu struggling amid the fighting.

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Filed under: Somalia • Uncategorized
Philippe Cousteau on his scientific mission in the Arctic
July 15th, 2011
07:11 PM ET

Talking environment in the Arctic with Philippe Cousteau

CNN is launching a "Going Green" special event hosted by Environmentalist and CNN Special Correspondent Philippe Cousteau. It's called "Extreme Science" and it will take you to the Arctic on a journey with a group of scientists who live to study climate change.

You can see our chat with Philippe on some of the more behind the scenes moments of his time there with a CNN team living and working alongside the scientists in that harsh environment. It will be a major part of our show today.

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Filed under: backstory • Interviews • journalists • photography
July 13th, 2011
10:48 PM ET
July 12th, 2011
09:24 PM ET

Life of a tabloid journalist: tricks to get the story

News Corp. has called off its $12.5 billion bid to purchase British Sky Broadcasting.  This is a huge setback for media magnate Rupert Murdoch and comes amid the growing scandal over phone hacking. British lawmakers have called Murdoch, his son James and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks to testify before them next week. On Sunday, Murdoch’s tabloid News of the World shut its doors over allegations of illegal breach of privacy. Now two other Murdoch newpapers have been implicated in the scandal. British police have identified nearly 4,000 potential targets of phone hacking.

Former tabloid journalist David LaFontaine once worked for News of the World and Star Magazine. He talks to Back|Story about how far tabloid journalists go to get the story.


Filed under: backstory • journalists
July 7th, 2011
05:47 AM ET

Embedded with U.S. Troops in Afghanistan: Capturing moments

CNN Producer Tommy Evans and Nick Paton Walsh were embedded with U.S. Troops at combat outposts in Afghanistan during moments of rest, and moments of extreme stress and fighting against the troop's opposition.

In the blink of an an eye, or the snap of a camera shutter, things can change. Tommy captured many moments during these times, which show as best as a picture can, what life is like in a mountainous war zone such as Afghanistan. Back|Story really feels the power and emotion that a still picture can capture and we know you do too.

So that is why we called Tommy while he was in Afghanistan and asked him to talk to us about these images; talk to us about what they meant, and the stories behind them as the journalist who took them.

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Filed under: backstory • Interviews • journalists • photography
Catfish noodling in Tennessee
July 5th, 2011
07:32 PM ET

A fistful of fish in the U.S.

Published on the CNN "This Just In" blog on the U.S. Independence Day was a story about a practice called "catfish noodling". Back|Story went along on a trip with a group of international journalists to try it out. Here is the full article below, along with pictures from the trip.

Editor's note: Douglas M. Jones of CNN International tagged along as a group of international journalists went "catfish noodling" in the Tennessee river during the Fourth of July weekend. Here he describes how the outing went.

“Just stick your hand down in there further and see if he bites it," Marty told me.

With a determined look on my face I took a deep breath and sunk back under water, using my arm as fish bait.

Earlier that morning, before sunrise, a crew and I met a group of visiting international journalists at their hotel in Atlanta.  We giggled like kids at the idea of sticking our hands into the mouth of a fish and ripping it out from under the water.

It’s called catfish noodling, or grabbling, or fisting; the list goes on. Simply put, you find a lake or river; stick your hand under rocks or logs where catfish lie, in the hopes that a fish will bite down. When the catfish chomps, it allows you to grab onto its mouth or a bone inside the fish so you can pull it out of the water. You are catching fish with your hands; and they are big.

As the story goes, it is believed that for people in the United States, this practice was passed down from Native Americans as a way to catch food and survive. Now many people see it as an adrenaline rush, or a curious piece of Americana that, to us, seemed perfect for a U.S. Independence Day weekend.

We loaded up a bus and headed a few hours north to the Tennessee River in east Tennessee.  At the banks were Marty and Fostana Jenkins, waiting with a smile and a wave.

We all stood in a circle, getting a crash course in grabbling and hearing stories of how the fish’s bite can draw blood. Unsure who was actually going to try it out from our group, we met three young girls who could be on the cover of next month’s popular teen magazine, ready to pull dinner from the lake. Apprehensiveness turned into embarrassment.

We loaded our gear and persons onto the boats and set out. We were a spectacle. A boat full of curious journalists from places like Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States, all fixated on a few down-home southerners from Tennessee submerged up to their eyes in brown water feeling around for catfish below underwater rocks.

Then Fostana Jenkins, as if the excitement were as fresh as day one, sternly warned us.

“Oh, there he is! Put your hand up next to mine!”

Everyone leans over the edge of the boat as the brown water reveals a splashing, frantic catfish attached to three sets of hands. It is huge, brown and slimy.

It’s an exciting show. Every photographer who hadn’t planed on getting wet, found themselves waist deep in the water hoping to get the best shot. A rouse of applause was heard from the other boats mixed with screams and cheering.

Time flew by that day. We made more stops at different parts of the lake looking for more fish to catch.

Really for us it was the ultimate icebreaker for new friends who couldn't all speak the same language. Kubat Otorbaev, a journalist from Kyrgyzstan, knew few words in English and was quiet all morning. He boldly jumped in the water and became our hero after catching two huge fish on the first try. He was then our best friend. The smile on his face said everything.

We headed back to camp to enjoy some fried fish and moonshine.


Filed under: backstory • journalists • photography
July 5th, 2011
03:25 AM ET

Embedded with U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

A team, along with journalist Nick Paton Walsh, embedded with U.S. troops at Combat Outpost Pirtle – King in Afghanistan. You'll see what day to day life is like for these soldiers fighting a war, but you'll also see what it's like to face the ultimate adrenaline rush as they encounter deadly gunfire.

While the CNN team was there covering fighting from the side of the troops, they came perilously close to bullets raining down upon their camp.

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Filed under: backstory
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