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CNN had Tripoli covered with Matthew Chance and Sara Sidner.

OnMedia: The courage of CNN's Tripoli reporters


It's hard to imagine more thrilling live news coverage than CNN's reporting from the Libyan capital of Tripoli starting Sunday night and continuing into the week.

Most compelling were the live reports from the besieged Rixos Hotel, the spot where the Gadhafi regime had based foreign reporters to keep tabs on them.

CNN's Matthew Chance was clearly nervous and increasingly tired as he and other correspondents remained, in effect, imprisoned in the hotel, while government forces fought rebels outside.

He tweeted what he's been seeing, offering at one point on Monday: "It's no fun being stuck in one of Gadhafi's few remaining strongholds. Rixos gunmen now refusing to let us leave."

No fun indeed.

Chance handled that frightening assignment with grace, and it's clear that the crew back in the states was nervous about his situation, calling on him to be safe.

In that spot – where Gadhafi's gunmen were patrolling, but government officials had fled – he didn't have a big picture view of what was going on. But his situation offered a very personal look at just how dangerous journalism can be.

Correspondent Sara Sidner was out in the field, traveling with rebels as they made their way into in Green Square, which the opposition has returned to its original name, Martyr's Square.

There was some initial reporting of jubilant crowds in this heart of the city, but Sidner appeared the first to report a story that was quite so celebratory, tweeting as well, "Green square nearly empty. We were warned to get out. Rebels say Gadhafi troops advancing toward square."

On Sunday, I had been watching Al Jazeera's English news channel on my iPad (you can also watch it on the Internet).

I'm a fan of its coverage of the region. But while it's supremely sourced with Arab-language sources, I thought CNN did a better job on the ground.

One of the more interesting clips from Libyan TV featured news anchor Hala al Misrati waving a handgun and threatening rebels. She was captured by rebels on Monday without using the gun.

Here's Chance's report:

On TV: Channel 4 has signed Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to appear weekly during the season on the NBC station. Starting Sept. 12, he'll be on the 10 p.m. news on Mondays and Tuesdays with Wayne Larrivee.

  • The New York Post says Katie Couric's new syndicated talk show will be called, simply, "Katie." It launches in September 2012.
  • Jimmy Fallon tweets that he's hosting on his old show, "Saturday Night Live," on Dec. 17.
  • Lifetime's "Supernanny" is casting for families "with ordinary to extraordinary circumstances," including blended families and those with "mean girls or bullying boys." If you're a parent, and interested, email Rebecca at supernanny@shedmiaus.com with your name, contact information, a reason why you need help, and a recent family photo.

More of "An Idiot Abroad": British comedian Ricky Gervais' "An Idiot Abroad" will be returning the the Science Channel this fall. Here's a preview of the second season of his sidekick, Karl Pilkington's travels around the world.

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