As news of the awful events in Boston began circulating on the net, TV, and cable, coverage started in earnest, especially on cable and most notably, over-the-air network outlets, with Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC even interrupting daytime programming to broadcast the on-going developments from the Marathon.
It was TV at its best and worst. The visual images were, of course, disturbing. The sight of the older man collapsing past the finish line, (he was later interviewed and is OK), was one of those images that will linger forever. The sight of a woman bleeding profusely from one of her legs was hard to watch. It numbs the mind the more you watch it. Some of the footage was shown raw and without any warning from people that should know better.
In a fluid situation like what had transpired in Boston, the rush not to publish or air unsubstantiated information was a positive for the networks. Nobody cared to dare speculate about who, what, or why anyone would do such a terrible thing. More importantly, from the very start, when there was a question as to the cause of the explosions, most made a point of stating, (like, for example, Wolf Blitzer of CNN), that all of this could have been caused by a transformer explosion underground or natural gas). In the end, we now know that wasn't the case. But in this day and age of getting it first, it was the proper MO and it was right.
The inevitable comparisons to 9-11 began to percolate, slowly but surely. And while this horrible scene was indeed, horrible, it was, and is, apparently, nowhere near the scope, both literally and figuratively, of the events of Sept, 11, 2001 although, eerily, that it lacked both the death toll and sheer awfulness of 9-11, it still conjured up disturbing images of then and now.
LOCAL COVERAGE--TV and Radio
*KRON--Props again to the Channel 4 people for staying with the story almost from its inception, which given KRON's reliance on news since it's pretty much out of the loop on anything else, it was a nice touch not having to go somewhere else in case somebody else cut and split.
*KTVU--Steady and solid performance by Frank Somerville and Gasia Michalien. While the jist of their, (and mostly everyone else's), coverage was mostly network-driven, it was good that KTVU stayed with its coverage and nixed regular daytime programming. (And the right thing to do).
*KGO-TV: This is one of the few times I have an issue with KGO. While opening its 4 PM newscast with the Boston tragedy, (as of course, it should have), it then morphed into local news stories and that was a bad call. It also looked positively awkward when all the other outlets were concentrating on Boston.
Beyond the story from the Southbay where the parents of the young teen girl who had killed herself after an alleged sexual assault, there really wasn't any big news emanating from the Bay Area. Sure, KGO might have felt the need to keep viewers aware of stories here, but it wasn't necessary and besides, obviously, the Boston events was topic-A everywhere.
*KNTV, (NBC Bay Area), stayed mostly with the story drawing a lot from the network and relying on its own team of reporters and anchors. In addition, the station sent Terry McSweeney to Boston to provide local coverage.
*KPIX5: Mixed reaction. While PIX was more than adequate with its coverage, the decision to send Ken Bastida to Boston began with a big-time thud. Bastida, somehow, some way, managed to get to the Boston scene, (in spite of the shutdown of Logan Airport most of the day) unfortunately, Bastida's first live-shot on the 11 PM news was both awkward and non-newsworthy. He was alone on a city street near the scene of the explosions but had nothing to report and only repeated "news" we all knew. It was sort of like: "we're Channel 5, we have a reporter THERE, and let's just get him on the air!" Great concept, only Bastida, a solid news pro had NO news to report--certainly nothing we all had already gathered.
KCBS: Nice work from the station with detailed news updates; comprehensive coverage and a number of local and national interviews interspersed with their own and CBS Radio coverage. It was nuts and bolts basic; nothing riveting nor out of the ordinary, but that's OK--listeners prefer reliability and know they get that from the all-news dominant station.
KGO: The coverage was adequate enough with some requisite interviews and network coverage back-up; nothing more to say other than this type of tragedy in Boston was the old-KGO's staple where listeners could vent and express feelings with the talk hosts later on. We now know that is not an option. And another reason to go to KCBS too.
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