This time, no one is taking any chances.
With the potential of being as severe or even worse than Hurricane Katrina three years ago, Hurricane Gustav is challenging network executives like no story in recent memory. Just like RNC planners, themselves facing a scaled back gathering, news executives, too, have been huddled all weekend coming up with their coverage plans.
NBC’s Brian Williams covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
NBC News will place Nightly News anchor Brian Williams along the Gulf coast while his predecessor on Nightly News, Tom Brokaw handles anchor duties from St. Paul. “There’s nobody who can put the kind of talent on both stories like NBC News,” division head Steve Capus told TVNewser today. “There’s no such thing as a “B” team when your anchor is Tom Brokaw,” Capus says. For his part, Williams will combine both stories tonight. He’s scored an interview with Sen. McCain that will air on tonight’s Nightly News.
NBC & MSNBC will also have the benefit of on and off camera meteorologists from the Weather Channel. “We feel great that with our pending acquisition of the Weather Channel, we’ve got at least five correspondents from the Weather Channel. That just rounds out a strong reporting team,” Capus says.
Complicating matters for NBC back in St. Paul, the network is the broadcast pool, providing video coverage for all networks. “From a technical load we have a tremendous burden,” Capus says. “We’re not pulling anything on the tech side out of St. Paul.” And as for any criticism that might be leveled at the network from those who might claim unequal DNC & RNC coveraage, Capus says, “The McCain campaign and the RNC have been incredibly sensitive to what’s happening in the Gulf, and we’ve tried to do the same.” Capus doesn’t rule out Williams traveling to St. Paul to report on the final day of the RNC, again, all depending on the storm.
Another NBC News reporter not going to St. Paul: Luke Russert. NBC says he’ll be going to Memphis to cover the evacuation of Gulf coast residents.
Click continued to read NBC’s press release. We’ll highlight other networks’ coverage plans in later posts…