‘Vogue’ gets stylish in Syria with reporter Arwa Damon (and this time they get it right)

Arwa Damon. (Bjarne Jonasson, for Vogue)
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In a year where much of the international news cycle has revolved around the civil war in Syria and the ongoing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East, CNN correspondent Arwa Damon has become something of a breakout star.

Earlier this year, she became one of the few mainstream foreign correspondents to successfuly infiltrate Syria, broadcast a sobering report on the grim reality facings residents there and make it out alive.

She made even bigger headlines in September after finding the personal journal of assasinated U.S. Libya ambassador Christopher Stevens.

And now Damon has returned from a 10-day reporting trip in Syria, where she attempted to visit a purported chemical weapons factory. (See clip below.)

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As that segment was beginning to generate some buzz yesterday, CNN's public relations team took the opportunity to blast out a profile of Damon in the current issue of Vogue.

The piece was published online Nov. 19, but didn't really get noticed until now.

The nut graph, of course, encapsulates Vogue's knack for seamlessly blending the topics of war-reporting and fashion:

“She looks like this California hippie with the jewelry and bangles and scarves and everything else,” says Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director of CNN International, who was instrumental in hiring Damon. “But she can seamlessly integrate. I always tell people, if you want to know how to dress in a war zone, just check out Arwa.” Beyond her low-key, up-for-anything style, of course, is a dogged determination to go everywhere, to blend in, to shed light on the human toll of war. She’s done big interviews for her network and been known to rattle some chains—most notably when she fought to remain in Baba Amr in Homs, Syria, a neighborhood where veteran war reporter Marie Colvin, a hero and housemate of Damon’s, would later return and be killed. And in 2007, Damon pushed to do a segment on a five-year-old Iraqi boy who had been badly burned in a raid. It was a small story, but the piece led to an enormous outpouring of support from viewers. Ultimately, CNN allowed Damon to find the boy medical care in the States, and then to follow the story for four years. Permitting such a level of engagement between a reporter, a subject, and her audience was something of a first for the network, and it made Damon a popular figure, both inside CNN headquarters and out.

Of course, Vogue has a bit to make up for in its reporting on Syria. You can read the rest here.

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Here's that Arwa Damon segment from a purported Syrian chemical weapons factory:

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The New York Times is collaborating on a line of e-books with Byliner:

The New York Times today announced the launch of two publishing programs -- New York Times short e-books co-published with the digital startup Byliner, and TimesFiles with Vook.

In collaboration with Byliner, The Times will co-publish up to a dozen New York Times / Byliner Originals in the next year featuring narratives in areas in which The Times has reporting expertise including culture, sports, business, science and health. While sometimes growing out of related Times reporting, the titles will offer new and original content that is not available in the paper or on NYTimes.com. The Originals will range from 10,000 to 20,000 words in length and are designed to be read in one sitting.

“Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” by New York Times reporter John Branch, the first Times / Byliner Original, tells the harrowing story of skiers caught in an avalanche. It expands on an article that will publish in Monday’s paper. It will be available for purchase on Monday, December 17 at online retailers including Amazon.com (Kindle), Apple (iBooks), Barnes & Noble (NOOK), Byliner.com and NYTStore.com for $2.99.

“Byliner’s mission is to bring readers great stories by great writers, and we're thrilled to be collaborating with The New York Times on this series of original narratives,” said John Tayman, Byliner's founder and CEO. ”The Times has a deep and unparalleled tradition of extraordinary journalism, and we look forward to finding, developing, and publishing many important and lasting stories together.”

Future contributors to The Times-Byliner collaboration include Pulitzer-Prize-winner David Leonhardt, The Times’s Washington bureau chief, and Pulitzer-Prize-winner James B. Stewart, The Times’s “Common Sense” columnist and author of “Den of Thieves,” among other books.

“Our access to quality journalism and talented writers who can build on that content lends itself to the e-book platform,” said Gerald Marzorati, editor for editorial development of The New York Times. “We are excited to deliver the very best long-form journalism to readers, in collaboration with Byliner for our New York Times / Byliner Originals and in utilizing the Vook platform for our archival e-books.”

TimesFiles are curated selections of articles from The New York Times archives, assembled into compelling narratives about a particular topic or event. Built in collaboration with Vook using the Vook e-book publishing platform, the TimesFiles collection will have 25 e-books available on Monday, December 17, with many more expected to come in 2013. TimesFiles will be available starting at $1.99 from Amazon.com (Kindle), Apple (iBooks), Barnes & Noble (NOOK), and NYTStore.com. Launch titles include “The Fall of the Berlin Wall,” “George Steinbrenner and the Yankees” and “The Life and Films of John Hughes.”

“The New York Times produces some of the best journalism in the world, and e-books are the perfect way to curate and collect great reporting and commentary into compelling long-form narratives, easily accessible by readers on mobile devices and e-readers,” said Matthew Cavnar, VP of business development at Vook. “Vook is proud to help The New York Times scale production of beautifully styled e-books, quickly and efficiently bringing many titles to the marketplace.”