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Bird Flu

Cabinet Secretaries Briefing News Organizations About Bird Flu

Brian Williams writes on The Daily Nightly:

“To those e-mailers questioning our coverage of the bird flu: please know that two Bush administration Cabinet secretaries asked to come here and brief our staff. It was chilling. They requested the time with us (and our colleagues at other networks) because, as they put it: in the event of an outbreak, television news would be a vital and primary source of public information. In their view, our role would be to tell people about available social services, and to instruct our viewers in the treatment of flu patients at home. There is no way to predict if this is a scare or if we are preparing for a panedmic. But because the possibility itself is so deadly serious, we have a responsibility to do our part. And we will keep covering the preparations and the progression of the illness.”

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How Are News Orgs Preparing For Flu?

In a global flu pandemic, “news outlets would have to keep broadcasting so people could get information that might mean the difference between life and death,” the New York Times says. How are media organizations preparing? The article says CNN is “making preparations to stay on the air from different locations.”

“If there should be something that quarantines the production center here in Hong Kong, we could hand off to London and Atlanta,” Stephen Marcopoto, president of Turner International Asia Pacific, a Time Warner unit in Hong Kong, said.

More: “Time Warner is also working to create a mechanized cart that could automatically load tape after tape into a satellite transmission system, so it could keep stations like Cartoon Network on the air — a boon if children were homebound for months.”