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Martin Savidge  

Correspondent for CNN and Former Host, PBS' WORLDFOCUS.

Martin Savidge is a correspondent for CNN based in the networks world headquarters in Atlanta. In 2011, he has reported on breaking news stories, including the largest tornado outbreak in US history that moved through the Southeast, and the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. Savidge returned to CNN in 2011, and reported for the network from 1996 to 2004.

Savidge has covered breaking news throughout the globe for CNN. He delivered on-the-ground coverage of the military build-up in Iraq and Kuwait in 2003, including embedding with the 1st Battalion of the 7th Marines. He has reported from Afghanistan, Kandahar and Bagram, where he was the first television reporter to travel with the U.S. troops during Operation Anaconda. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Savidge reported from Ground Zero on the search and rescue mission.

In 2004, Savidge joined NBC News as a correspondent based in Atlanta, reporting for NBC Nightly News, TODAY, and MSNBC. He was their primary correspondent in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

Before joining national network television, Savidge worked as a special projects reporter and anchor for WJW-TV in Cleveland. For 11 years, he covered major local, national and international stories, specializing in news documentaries and breaking news.

Savidge began his broadcasting career as an anchor and reporter for WCIA-TV in Champaign, IL in 1980. He then moved to work as the prime-time anchor for WMBD-TV in Peoria, IL. Savidge also has worked as a reporter for the Associated Press.

Savidge has been honored with some of broadcast journalisms most prestigious awards, including two Headliner Awards, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, a Peabody Award, Dupont Award, nine local Emmy awards, six Associated Press awards, two United Press International awards and two Women in Communication awards. In October 2002, the National Journalism Education Association named Savidge its Media Person of the Year for his support of scholastic journalism.

Savidge earned a bachelors degree in journalism from Ohio University.


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Speech Topics

Good News Gone Bad

How TV news is ruining journalism and threatening democracy in America. With the advent of 24-hour news networks many journalists thought at last there would be time enough to cover an endless variety of important national and international issues. Instead today the cable networks cover 6 to 8 topics a day and run them into the ground or deliver endless real life tragic soap operas of missing children and suspects elevated to celebrities. Time was when you got the just the facts delivery of Cronkite and Chancellor. Now you get news performers who shout, cry and tell you their take as if what they think really matters. Why do networks take sides? Whats advocacy journalism? Why is TV news more and more relying on Youtube for content bringing us surfing dogs, dead flies and singing cockatoos? Where did all the good news go? For years Martin Savidge has helped to break the news on such networks as CNN and NBC now he turns a critical eye on what its going to take to try and fix the news. He looks at an industry in turmoil, thats laying off staff, shutting down bureaus and cutting back coverage as never beforeeven as nearly 2/3rds of Americans say they rely on television for their national and international news. He discusses how things get so bad and why viewers share in the blame.

Covering Conflict - How the Media Goes to War

Savidge has covered at least 10 different conflicts around the world and he can attest to that fact that nothing tests your ability, your humanity or your sanity greater. Every time he arrived to cover a conflict he swore never again but 6-months after he got home he was raising his hand to volunteer once more. His family has been told he was missing and, on a few occasions, dead. You can laugh, cry and nearly die all in the span of 5 minutes. Why do journalists do it? What are the ethical questions of embedding? Can one be too close to the military? What happens when your unit is surrounded by Taliban and only the camera can see the enemy at a distance? Should a cameraman call in the air strikes? When do you put down the microphone and help if the suffering or the shooting is all around you? When do you carry a gun? These are issues you never learn in Journalism school and the ones you seldom hear about on the evening news.

Why is Foreign News so Foreign to American TV News?

If youve ever traveled outside the US and turned on the news then you know there seems to be a lot more reporting about the rest of the world. Its not your imagination, for years foreign news coverage on American networks has been on the decline. Bureaus have steadily closed their staffs laid off. In fact last year attention to international news was at its lowest since records monitoring such things were first published in 1988. Savidge has heard producers at respected news networks say Americans dont care about foreign news. 9/11 should have changed that thinking but instead even today we only learn of international events when they become crises, even though the conditions for that crisis have been brewing for years. It gives Americans the faulty sense that things in the world explode over night when in fact there are clear warning signs going back months or even years. Instead Afghanistan became a launching pad for terror. And today most Americans are still unaware Somalia is about to take its place. What we dont know has and can still, hurt us.

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