Sunday, August 31, 2008

Media Scramble to Cover Gustav

Most journalists who were planning to cover the GOP convention in St. Paul this week started to head out of town for the Gulf Coast today to shift its focus on Gustav.

CNN's Anderson Cooper, CBS' Katie Couric, NBC's Brian Williams, FOX's Shepard Smith, who had planned to anchor the convention from the Twin Cities, left for the Gulf Coast on Sunday afternoon. Others were diverted from other points in the country.

Executives for major news organizations are torn between the two stories. Michael Calderone of Politico asked David Bohrman, CNN’s senior vice president for programming, about what CNN will focus on this week. Bohrman replied: “Is it a hurricane? Is it the convention? Or is it a blend of the two?” Jay Wallace, Fox News’ vice president of news editorial, told Calderone, "It almost feels like having a two-front war.”

Several Fox anchors will travel to the Gulf from New York, including Geraldo Rivera, Trace Gallagher and Jon Scott. At this point, Fox’s anchors slated to arrive in St. Paul are still going as planned. The group going to St. Paul includes Greta Van Susteren, who told TVNewser last week that she’d “expect to be on the first plane to the hurricane."

“We haven’t made any plans to send her,” Wallace said when asked about Van Susteren’s statement. “Like any good journalist, they’re all eager to go down there.”

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