Last night, while reporting on the crisis in Haiti, CNN's Campbell Brown did something cable news anchors rarely do: She was human. Simply, basically human. When she got word on-air of the rescue of an 11-year-old girl who had been trapped underneath the rubble of a house in Port-au-Prince, she was nearly brought to tears. Her voice wavered as she pleaded with an on-the-ground reporter via satellite, "Please tell us she's gonna be OK." Later, while talking to Dr. Sanjay Gupta in front of one of the few hospitals still functioning in the area, she called attention to her own emotional state: "I apologize. As a mother, I'm having a really hard time watching a lot of this, as I'm sure people at home are and I'm sure you are."
Some will surely see this as further proof that female anchors lack the gravitas to report on hard news, while others will see it as an example of just the kind of feminine touch cable news needs. I'd like to think it has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with humanity in crisis.