It’s rare for a 60 Minutes correspondent not to introduce their own story. Sunday, Lara Logan, back for her second story this season, reported from Libera on the Ebola outbreak, and the American medical professionals trying to help contain it. Scott Pelley introduced Logan’s story adding that she was on a 21-day self-quarantine.
The mandatory Ebola-related quarantine is over, but Dr. Nancy Snyderman and the crew members who traveled to Liberia with her are not coming back to work yet. In an internal memorandum on Wednesday, NBC News president Deborah Turness said the crew would be taking some more time off work, adding, “We very much look forward to their return next month.”
NBC News freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who was diagnosed with Ebola earlier this month, has been declared free of the deadly virus by a hospital, according to a tweet from NBC Nightly News.
An admitted lapse in the quarantine, combined with a curiously imprecise explanation, unleashed a furious response. NBC must now decide whether its chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s credibility is too damaged for her to continue reporting on Ebola or other medical issues and, if so, for how long.
A health story of national proportions like the Ebola story pits the role of journalism against HIPPA rules, which restricts patient information to doctors, direct caregivers, insurance companies and others expressly named in the act. A top medical ethicist says the law allows some leeway when a national health crisis is involved, but those loopholes do not apply to journalists.
Newsy Ramps Up For 24/7 News
The New Jersey Health Department has issued a mandatory quarantine for NBC News crew members who were exposed to Ebola while on assignment in Liberia. In a statement, the department said the quarantine order was made after the crew violated its agreement to voluntarily quarantine themselves for 21 days.
What kind of challenge will it be for your newsroom? Few local newsrooms will send journalists overseas to cover the issue, but most are reporting on it in one form or another. What are you doing to learn about possible expert sources in your market for the most accurate information, before putting any staff at potential risk chasing the story? More importantly, what are you doing to develop sources and resources in your local and state health departments to answer your local viewers’ questions?
NBC’s chief medial correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her crew returned to the U.S. on a private charter last night, several hours after their colleague Ashoka Mukpo arrived for treatment of ebola at a hospital in Nebraska.
Other than NBC, no news outlet has publicly cited Ashoka Mukpo’s infection as the impetus for removing personnel from Liberia, where the freelance cameraman had been covering the disease’s rapid spread and the strains it placed on its health care system. CNN announced Friday that it was sending reporter Nima Elbagir to that country this weekend and Sanjay Gupta, its most visible medical correspondent, said he’s lobbying his bosses to send him there.
“Obviously he is scared and worried,” Dr. Mitchell Levy said of his son, Ashoka Mukpo, who was hired Tuesday to be the second cameraman in Liberia for NBC’s chief medical editor and correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Mukpo has been “seeing the death and tragedy and now it really hit home for him. But his spirits are better today,” added Levy, who appeared on NBC’s Today show with his wife, Diana Mukpo.
An American freelance cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia has tested positive for the Ebola virus and will be flown back to the U.S. for treatment, the network news operation confirmed Thursday. Ashoka Mukpo, 33, had been hired Tuesday to be a second cameraman for NBC News medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman. Snyderman and the rest of the crew will be flown back to the U.S. and placed in quarantine for 21 day.