CNN got lucky Anna Coren was in Sydney

Hong Kong-based international correspondent and substitute anchor Anna Coren was on her way to see her family in Australia for the Christmas holiday. But when she landed, everything changed.

Lloyd Grove of The Daily Beast reports:

“I was on my way to Australia for vacation, to catch a connecting flight,” Coren recalled, “and I landed in Sydney, checked my phone, and there were about 60 urgent messages saying ‘Get to Martin Place!’ So I went straight to where the story was, met the crew, and, yeah, it was game on.”

Thus, two hours after the siege began, and for the next 20, the 39-year-old Coren became the sole correspondent for an American outlet on the scene of what became a drama of shocking carnage—shocking, at least for Australia, where such things seldom occur.

“I landed just before midday, and it started about 10 a.m.,” Coren told The Daily Beast, noting that she had just woken up from two hours of precious sleep and was preparing for another “hit,” or live shot, with Wolf Blitzer.

While other U.S. cable and broadcast outlets managed with phone interviews and cut-ins of Australian and British print and television journalists covering the siege, CNN could rely on one of their own. Coren, a striking blond with an authoritative manner and a deep voice, stayed with the story all night and well into the next day.

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