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Archives: August 2005

Katrina: “There Are No Pictures To Tell The Vast Majority Of This Story”

shepaugust31.jpgFNC’s Shep Smith is still in New Orleans. Here’s what he said on Studio B yesterday:

“…Authorities have been planning for this worst case scenario, yet the mayor of New Orleans and the president of Jefferson Parish said live on the radio today, this is so much bigger than all of our fears that we don’t even know how to tell you yet how big it is. I know that this is probably a stunning thing for many people who have been news focuses on pictures. The truth is there are no pictures to tell the vast majority of this story. That’s a city that no longer functions.”

Katrina: Gas From A “Good Samaritan”

As FNC correspondent Rick Leventhal and his crew drove to Biloxi this morning, they were running “dangerously low on fuel.”

Around daybreak this morning, “we decided to get off the highway and try and find a good Samaritan in a neighborhood nearby who might have a can of gas in their garage, or might be willing to siphon some out of their tank,” he blogs.

They found a savior who “had a bass boat with at least ten gallons in the tanks, and graciously offered to share some with us, even cutting a stretch of his garden hose and doing the suction work himself, getting the gas to flow from his boat to two small borrowed cans.”

August #’s: “Fox News Is Red Hot”

…That’s the headline on The Hollywood Reporter’s August recap: “Fox News scored its largest audience so far this year in August, a month when most of the other cable news channels suffered ratings declines in comparison with convention-heavy 2004.” Here are the figures…

> “CNN’s sole entry in the top 10, “Larry King Live,” saw viewership fall 27% to 1 million.”

CNBC Names New P.R. VP

Kevin Goldman has been named the Vice President, CNBC Public Relations,” the network announced today. “Goldman is replacing Amy Zelvin, who has recently been appointed Vice President of Communications, NBC Universal Digital Media. In Goldman’s new role, effective September 6th, Goldman will be responsible for providing strategic communications/media relations leadership for CNBC.” He comes from Bookspan, where he served as VP of corporate communications…

> Update: 12:56pm: “Missing from Kevin Goldman’s bio in the CNBC memo is that he was a longtime Wall Street Journal reporter, who left journalism about 10 years ago to go into PR. Goldman has written a great about broadcast journalism from a business perspective including CNBC,” an emailer adds…

Katrina: TV News Troops Are “Facing A Couple Of Real Tough Days”

The Hollywood Reporter sums up the efforts of television networks to cover the aftermath:

> NBC VP David Verdi: “We’re facing a couple of real tough days that will test the mettle of our personnel…We spent the greater part of the morning and much of the afternoon on supply lines. We have four RVs — these are sleep-six-comfortable big RVs — bringing food, water and medical supplies from Dallas.”

> CBS correspondent Mark Strassman: “The only way we have of communicating with anybody is satellite phones. Cells don’t work, BlackBerrys don’t work.”

> WNT EP Jon Banner: “We have a lot of real estate to cover and very little technology that will work. We’ve struggled to get a good way to transmit pictures from New Orleans. It’s getting supplies for our troops, it’s trying to get [to] these places that are blocked off by law enforcement and nature. It’s a struggle.”

Kaatrina: Hundreds Of E-Mailers Praise Jeanne Meserve’s Reporting & Humanity

At the end of Tuesday’s NewsNight, Aaron Brown replayed some of the most harrowing portions of Jeanne Meserve‘s emotional Monday report. And he said:

“Just let me say that how warmed we are by the hundreds of people, several — about 600 e-mails when I came in today commenting on that, on Jeanne’s work, and not only the depth of her reporting, but the obvious humanity with which she reported that story.

We’ve been a part of lots of storytelling in our lives and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a better piece of work than that. And I suspect that will stay with me and you for a long time to come.”

Katrina: Robin Roberts Sheds Tears

For some journalists, their emotional involvement in the story of Katrina’s aftermath “stemmed from having roots in the disaster area,” USA Today says. “Good Morning America news anchor Robin Roberts, reporting from her home state of Mississippi, shed tears Tuesday after ABC colleague Charlie Gibson asked her about her family’s well-being. They were OK, Roberts said, even if their house was less so.”

“Normally, you know, I share these kinds of moments with you, but it was too personal when I walked in that door and I saw my mom,” Roberts told Gibson…

Katrina: “Dramatic,” But Voyeuristic, TV

Jon Friedman: “At one point, I saw footage of a distraught man who couldn’t find his wife in the wreckage. The helpless man’s tears were real and his dismay was genuine. It was terrific, dramatic TV. But the man’s suffering seemed too private for a stranger like me to be witnessing. I felt like a voyeur.”

Katrina: CNN Half Live Overnight

CNN was half “live” overnight. With Catherine Callaway anchoring out of Atlanta, the network presented taped packages from their primetime programming as “highlights.” “Vastly better than the MSNBC/FNC taped stuff,” an e-mailer says.

> “How can these nets air tape while people are in desperate need of information?,” several e-mailers have asked. I’m really astounded Fox News has gone back to tape overnight…”

Katrina: “You Feel Bad”

“Early yesterday, Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer said that as reporters started to get into hurricane-devastated areas, ‘It could get even worse.’ He was right,” Richard Huff writes.

“Every street, every building, every store – they all have their own story,” Fox News’ Steve Harrigan told Hemmer.

“…You feel bad. Last time I felt like this was actually in Rwanda, where I had water and people outside of the barbed wire fence didn’t have water.”

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