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Graeme Smith, Globe and Mail journalist and Waterloo Region native took the "New Approaches to News and Documentary" Emmy Award Monday for his videotape project, "Talking to the Taliban". As explained in the Waterloo Region Record, Graeme told the New York crowd he was "honoured to work in an era in which a Canadian newspaper can compete with the best of the world's broadcast news organizations and investigative units."
He had spent time with Taliban in remote border areas before, but for the project he conceived in the summer of 2007, Graeme outfitted a former Taliban official with video camera and 20 standardized questions to ask the Taliban of Kandahar province. He "would have been killed", had he gone into the field himself, he said. Over the following months his crew compiled footage of interviews with 42 Taliban - material made available on www.theglobeandmail.com.
I recall a majority of the Taliban foot soldiers as saying, among other things, that they were fighting because a relative had died in an aerial bombing, or they had been reduced to poverty with the destruction of a poppy crop.
Looking forward to reading the book he's currently writing about Afghanistan, while on a few months leave from assignments. In January he goes to India to report from the Globe's Delhi bureau, and one can hope to learn something about the political ( and social) mysteries of the sub-continent. He'll be employing the "wonderful" new technology he's learned to use so well.