WNBC Drops the Ball on Train Coverage


While WPIX was late on their coverage of the deadly train derailment, they weren't the only station to drop the ball.

At 8:30 AM, an hour after the train derailed and the severity of the accident became apparent, and while WABC began gearing up for a long morning of live constant coverage, WNBC inexplicably ended its morning newscast to switch to an episode of "Open House," its "pay for play" real estate show.

Viewers who switched to the other stations began to see ground and air footage of the disaster, as well as eyewitness descriptions of dead bodies being removed from the scene. 

Meanwhile on WNBC, you saw a feature on seaside estates for sale.

At 8:51AM, when WNBC finally came to its senses and started back with their coverage of the accident, they showed a twitter photo of the scene, and interviewed WNBC Reporter Andrew Siff from his home in Queens, because, as anchor Pat Battle said, "He has covered many stories involving the MTA."

Battle and Gus Rosendale, did do a very solid job in their anchoring, but by that time, many  who wanted to know about this story had gone elsewhere.

On WABC, main weekday anchors Bill Ritter and Diana Williams had by then raced into work and begun to anchor coverage.

Insiders blame WNBC's managers, who they say refuse to allow workers the autonomy to make decisions themselves during crises. 

Bottom line was when big news did break, WABC was the place to turn.