Covering the Boston Bombings


It is tragic events such as the Boston Bombings that TV News brings people together with a urge for information.

“Of all places, of all days, this was Patriots’ Day in Boston,” said Brian Williams.

“Cities around this nation are on high alert,” said Diane Sawyer.

“At least two people are dead, although that number is expected to change,” said Scott Pelley.

For the most part TV news did a very good job of getting out information and not over hyping a story that needed no hype.

The tone by almost all the networks was reserved and professional. 

But, in what is now the the norm, the news first broke on Social Media. Messages were going out on Twitter and Facebook about the explosions at the Boston Marathon a good 10 minutes before any of the cable nets broke the news.

And there was the one really big mistake. The widespread reports across the networks that a third bomb had exploded at Boston’s JFK Library. It was not a bomb and turned out to be an unrelated fire.

The coverage was solid across the networks with the only really big stumble being made by MSNBC. The cable net let Al Sharpton take over the anchor duties from Chris Matthews when his hour came up.

MSNBC showed that filling their air with non-journalists ties their hands when big news like this happens. Matthews and Sharpton should have been sent home and MSNBC should have plucked a real Journalist from NBC and put them in the chair. 

As for CNN and Fox News they were both solid in their coverage of the story.

At Fox News, Shepard Smith was good about not hyping the story. "Hopefully the death count will be low, but if you know someone that was killed, It's already too high," Smith said.

CNN had contributor Fran Townsend on with Wolf Bltzer. Townsend was a counterterrorism official in the Bush White House. She used her sources to report that both bombs were contained in “small packages” that did not contain highly explosive chemicals—a “more crude device,” as she put it.

“Still a killing device,” Wolf Blitzer said.

As for the Broadcast networks, the coverage was solid across the board. All of them extended their reporting with special reports. 

In the end, TV News did what they do best. Cover a major story with professionalism and staying mainly with facts.

H/T Daily Beast