Sanders on Top of the World

Oct 12, 2008  •  Post A Comment

When NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders set out to do a piece on global warming, he went to the top of the world. Mr. Sanders said the news team wanted to do the story “from the North Pole—ground zero, which is ice on the ocean—rather than from Greenland, which is ice on land.”
The result, “Ice Melt From the North Pole,” is one of three finalists for the Society of Environmental Journalists Award for Reporting on the Environment in the television category.
To get the story, Mr. Sanders and his cameraman, Dmitri Solvyov, traveled from Miami to New York and then to Helsinki, Finland, and finally to Murmansk, Russia, a city of 700,000 north of the Arctic Circle.
Once they left Russia, it took 15 days to get to the North Pole aboard a nuclear-powered icebreaker.
“This wasn’t so much a story to answer questions about whether [the climate change] is man-made,” Mr. Sanders said. “It was an opportunity to explore a crisis facing Mother Earth. So as much as it’s talked about, we thought it was better to get there and physically stand on the North Pole. We wanted to take the viewers to the location that, frankly, nobody else has taken them.”
The news crew traveled from Murmansk to the North Pole with Quark Expeditions. “We got on board the ship (the icebreaker Yamal) and found out the sun never sets—and also that we weren’t allowed to take any pictures.
“Murmansk is the home of a Russian nuclear fleet,” Mr. Sanders said, “but after a fair amount of negotiating, we found out how to get our pictures and get the story under way.”
Once the Yamal hit the ocean ice, he said, “There was a constant groan of cutting ice. We had an attentive crew—whenever they saw a polar bear or a walrus, they would let us know. Dmitri, a native Russian, would shoot the pictures.”
The NBC crew had hoped to contact a Russian research vessel that was already collecting data near the Pole, but “radio communications are limited, and satellite communication is almost impossible,” Mr. Sanders said. After days of traveling, “We finally got to where we could see the research vessel, and the Russian crew decided they were willing to get us there. There was a helicopter on board, and they flew us over.”
Once the decision was made to fly to the research ship, the adventure took a darkly comic turn.
It was remarkably warm by North Pole standards, Mr. Sanders said, “mid-20s to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and we piled out of the helicopter onto the ice, and my foot went right through the ice down into sludge. We had 500 to 1,000 yards to go in this melting ice in order to reach the research ship. There was rain and sleet, and it was brutal on the equipment. The Russian security team was standing there with their guns, ready to shoot a polar bear if it came out of the water, which was pouring into my boots.”
The icebreaker had been unable to radio the research vessel, so no one knew they were coming. “They hadn’t seen anyone for three months,” Mr. Sanders said, “so they were happy to see us. We got on board the vessel and the cameraman backed up one step and fell down a hole in the boat. He was thankfully OK. And they had a dog, an Alaskan husky that was trained to bark to warn them of polar bears, but it was so excited it ran around barking like mad because of all the people.”
The research vessel contained a variety of ice experts, geologists and scientists from Russia, Scotland, New Zealand and the U.S., and “it was complete chaos.”
After spending just one hour aboard the vessel, with barely any time to speak to the scientists, the helicopter crew announced it was time to go. So the news crew trudged back to the helicopter and returned to the icebreaker, which took them on to the North Pole.
The ice itself turned out to be the story Mr. Sanders was not expecting. “It turned out to be the greatest ice melt on record,” he said. Graphics furnished by NASA helped explain satellite photos, and, “You could see the ice disappearing” on the visuals. “It was scientific data people could understand, showing how ice reflects the sun, and how water absorbs the sun’s rays when the ice is gone.”
The icebreaker spent two days at the North Pole, Mr. Sanders said, adding that he had no intention of doing a political story on global warming. He praised NBC’s commitment to environmental reporting, but said he is “not doing advocacy journalism. I want to give the facts as we know them. But so many times conclusions are drawn before people have the facts.”


  1. Here is the article. The online version has no photo. I will give you my magazine with the photo when I see you Wednesday.

  2. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  3. Dreamin. I love blogging. You all express your feelings the right way, because they are your feeling, focus on your blog it is great.

  4. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work :)

  5. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  6. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  7. Great wordpress blog here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care and see you soon

  8. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  9. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  10. Love all the opinions expressed here! How is everyone? Love how everyone expresses whatr they feel :)

  11. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  12. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned :)

  13. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy.

  14. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  15. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day :)

  16. Nice post?-.plz aid me i also would like to submit here?-.

  17. I am aware th is is nota well-known opinion, but I absolutely love it. Why not strive anything unique? Why not try and use th is object and animation to symbolize the interconnectedness of your community? Th is Burnley object as logo is various in the boring shit and aesthetic nightmares we??? ve been seeing currently. In my opinion, th is is a win.

  18. You blog is amazing. Could you tell me what system are you using?

  19. Took me moment in time to look at every one of the comments, other than I in truth enjoyed the editorial. It proved being in actuality helpful to me with I am positive to every single one the commenters here! It’s generally good when you can not just be informed, but in adding entertained! I am constructive you had satisfying writing this write-up.

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)