News Teams Improvise for Hurricane Gustav

Aug 31, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With a major hurricane moving toward New Orleans and the Louisiana Gulf Coast, CBS News anchor Katie Couric is departing the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., while other TV and cable networks shuffle anchors and correspondents to cover the storm.
The changes reflect the demands placed on news networks that are scrambling to cover back-to-back presidential conventions and a looming natural disaster that could rival Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.
The long-planned schedule of the Republican National Convention is going through major changes as Hurricane Gustav approaches U.S. landfall. The latest word is that neither President George W. Bush nor Vice President Dick Cheney will attend the convention Monday, when both were planning to speak.
It’s not yet clear if their speeches will be canceled or instead by delivered by satellite.
The schedule changes are forcing broadcast and cable network news teams to improvise.
CBS announced Sunday that Ms. Couric, who had been scheduled to anchor the network’s Republican convention coverage, would instead journey to the Gulf Coast and report and anchor “The CBS Evening News” from there starting Monday.
Harry Smith, co-anchor of CBS’ “The Early Show,” who had been set to be in New York after co-anchoring from Denver during the Democratic convention, also will co-anchor from the Gulf Coast starting Monday.
Jim Lehrer, executive editor and anchor of PBS’ “The NewsHour,” also left St. Paul on Sunday and will anchor the show on Monday from the show’s normal Washington, D.C., area studio.
Fox News Channel, meanwhile, shifted anchor Shepard Smith from St. Paul to New Orleans, along with correspondent Steve Harrigan, daytime anchor Trace Gallagher and correspondent Jon Scott.
Mr. Smith has covered numerous hurricanes and extensively covered Hurricane Katrina for Fox in 2005. He will report not only for his “Studio B” program but also for the network’s other programming.
Jay Wallace, Fox’s VP of news operations, said covering a hurricane at the same time as covering back-to-back political conventions is a challenge, but one that the network can certainly deal with.
“It’s an obstacle, but something that we were built for anyway,” he said.
Mr. Wallace said TV technology has improved dramatically since Katrina.
Fox will have more extensive ability to transmit video via the Web and computer lines, he said. That offers the prospect of correspondents airing pictures even before the satellite trucks that provide the best pictures roll to the scene.
Fox News Channel also will do extensive coverage on Monday from the hurricane area.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who had been scheduled to go to St. Paul, instead went to New Orleans on Friday.
CNN political director Sam Feist said with the exception of Mr. Cooper, most of the CNN personnel assigned to cover the hurricane came from outside the convention.
“We are adapting, not diverting resources from here,” Mr. Feist said from St. Paul. “We are leveraging our resources from the bureaus.”
Mr. Feist said CNN’s technology has developed beyond its capabilities when Katrina hit, giving correspondents the ability to transmit video on cell phone frequencies and to use smaller cameras.
(Editor: Baumann)
(6 p.m.: Updated throughout)


  1. You are such an amazing writer. Wishing you a strength and peace that surpasses all understanding as you continue to walk the high road … you are amazing, and I honor you for being YOU! You represent grace and dignity … with a smile that melts anyone blessed to be on the receiving end of it. God Bless you Always, Carrie!!!!

  2. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  3. Extraordinary post you have realized here! The web is awash of bad authorship and I was taken hold of by your lucidity. Your decisions are dead-on and I will forthwith subscribe to your rss feed to stay up to date with your up approaching postings. Yes! I accept it, your publishing style is magical and I will work more concentrated on mine.

  4. Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

  5. I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself or was it done by a professional? I’m very very impressed.

  6. Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here 🙂

  7. Kudos to you! This is a really good blog here and I love your style of writing. How did you get so good at blogging?

  8. Nice blog subject. thanks for letting me add something!

  9. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

Leave a Reply to Wesley Rasavong Cancel Reply

Email (will not be published)