Covering Breaking News

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Check out the video posted today — it is the behind the scenes video from our trip to Minnesota to cover the bridge collapse last week. (And you have to admit, I am getting a bit better — not a lot — editing video. I will take the 5th, however, on how much help I needed yesterday — but I am getting better and more independent.)

Today's video gives you just a bit of an idea how the media covers these big breaking news stories. When you turn on your TV, you see single TV anchors and correspondents in front of the camera, but what you may not know is that we are side by side with all other TV news organizations. We are practically touching each other. The police don't let us freelance and grab any spot to set up for our shows. Rather, they usually corral us in a limited area. It makes sense: It is more orderly for the police as they simultaneously try to handle a crisis. And, frankly, putting us altogether prevents any potential arguing and elbowing among news organizations over choice spots. Sometimes, however, it is so crowded that new organizations have to break off and go to another area… and sometimes, if no police objection, we break off and go to another spot simply because it is a better shot for you.

One advantage of hanging around a green room or make up room before our show is that I get to talk to guests from other FOX shows. Last night I got a private education in mining from a mining expert. I had been studying mining all day, but still had some questions. And as you might imagine, every time I learned something, that new information spawned even more questions.

Last night a man who knows a lot about mining was on "Hannity & Colmes." After he finished his appearance on "Hannity & Colmes" and returned to the make up room to take his TV make up off, I seized the moment and fired a bunch of questions at him. I walked out of the make up room knowing a lot more than I did when I went into the make up room… and hopefully I was better to do my job for you. Some things you can learn studying, but there is so much more you can learn from practical experience and if you don't have it, it helps to speak directly to those who do have it. Yes, I could ask these questions on air of our guests as you may have the identical questions — but TV segments are limited in time, and there are no time constraints in the green room other than that I have to be on the set, ready to go at 10 p.m. ET.

While I am on the topic of the miners, we all continue to hope for that lucky break — they could still be alive, but as time passes, it is harder to be optimistic. I obviously decided against going yesterday. When I got back to D.C. from New York City yesterday midday, I could see we had several FOX correspondents on the ground in Utah who were willing to do all they could/can to help us at 10 p.m. so I stayed in D.C. We also sent someone from our show to the mine to help gather information and help get guests who can help explain the crisis to you. My guess is that I will remain here in D.C. tonight… but, as you know, our plans can change without much notice. If the story continues for days, and if our people on the ground in Utah become exhausted from almost around the clock work, I will go and relieve them. As you know, these decisions of whether to go or not are made day-to-day... and usually not by the anchor or the correspondents, but by the senior or executive producers (of course we could refuse, but I have never seen anyone in any network refuse.)

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1 — This first e-mail needs some explaining. It is from my husband at 9:50 p.m. Apparently, he had been trying to reach me since my 7:15 hit on Shep's show. I had put my phone in my pocket when I went into the studio to do Shep's hit about 7:10 p.m. and… well… with my phone in my pocket, I kept calling my husband. He tried to call me to tell me, but the phone was on silent since I had done the hit on Shep's show, turned the ringer off and never thought to turn it back on. It wasn't until 9:50 my husband came up with a solution to stop me from non-stop calling — it was driving him nuts. He decided to e-mail me — here it is:

U keep calling me. DOPE

ANSWER: After reading his e-mail, I called him. He teased me. I tried to defend myself ("You have done it, too")… I confess, it is pretty bad — almost three hours of calling. And then, to add insult to injury I told my executive producer about the e-mail who immediately sided with my husband since she says she, too, has been the frequent victim of my pocket dialing.

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta,
If you do decide to do a show from Utah, another point that would say a lot about the mine owner is, how often he is physically present in his mines. In on of his press conferences I understood him to say, that when this incident occurred, he was in one of his mines somewhere else.
All the best,
Edi and Topaz

E-mail No. 3

Hi Greta,
I read your letter about Paula Zahn/CNN. Hats off to you... nice letter! I agree CNN did Paula wrong by 100 percent. In your business a person can go from a HERO to a ZERO in a matter of a minute without the right marketing tools and promotions. The network (CNN) is to blame... she (Paula) has talent, experience and is a really nice lady. Someone would be a total fool not to pick her (Paula) up again. Thanks for writing the letter, Greta.
You should be proud... friends are hard to find in your business. I'm sure Paula is pleased with your comments as well as Katie Couric. Two great people... I admire them both. And I like you a lot!
Thank you,

E-mail No. 4

Dear Greta,
I'm glad you took the time on your blog to point out the truth that the failure of a program is not due to the talent alone. It's really low when the ones in power handle things so poorly without appropriate tact, grace, kindness, and professionalism.
I haven't watched either Paula Zahn or Katie Couric simply because I'm either tuned to Fox for news or reading. It's CNN and the networks that I have no use for because of their obvious biases. That gets boring and predictable, which is NOT the fault of the talent.
Paula had to compete with Bill O'Reilly in that 8 p.m. time slot, and as we know, that's a large audience. I've heard that some people didn't appreciate the "softer side of news" format the suits decided upon for Katie Couric. So, if those rather "empty suits" are going to just blame the one in front of the camera, they could at least dump them with dignity.
Congratulations on your long shelf life. I hope I'll be watching you for as many years as you choose to stay on camera.
Julia Smith Grossman
Santa Monica, CA

E-mail No. 5

An excellent, insightful article. Thanks for doing it. It was informative and interesting for us "consumers" of television news broadcasts and special feature stories who see things only from our side of the TV screen. I did not pick up on all those things. Very interesting.
Nice piece.
Nelson Luzzetti

E-mail No. 6

I will not be traveling to Aruba in my life time. It was actually on top of the list for one of my next big vacations. Guess what the Aruban authorities are going to lose a tremendous amount of tourist if they keep up their dirty work. I don't agree with the authorities trying to get rid of TJ. It looked as if he was getting somewhere more than what Aruba was doing.
Gotta go, my baby is waking up.

E-mail No. 7

As I do go off at times on things, that's what I was trying to say in my long email. Another thing is Greta, it's still a man's world in the business field or any field. We do have one thing they can't do and that is have babies. Would love to see a man go thru those long 9 months especially if it's during the summer. I have always liked Paula and thought she was a caring reporter. She has a soft, gentle voice in general, and you can tell she feels for those that she interviews that have gone thru some dilemma. I turned to her time slot last night and yep, there was 2 men and 1 female doing her job. I know it was a different format, but it was obvious she was not on their team list. I think we've all had to fight hard to prove ourselves and sometimes we are just wasting our breath. The woman that I use to work with in advertising, and I dealt with just this type thing. No matter what we suggested, the man who worked with us always had better answers. And the woman was the ad manager. We really had a one-sided boss . His side was always right. But pay back is wonderful. You just sit there and watch. I feel sure someone will choose Paula for her talent in the news field. I can understand how she felt also, and after a while, you do get agitated and throw in the towel.

E-mail No. 8

I was listening to the owner of the mine in Utah this afternoon in his interview! I never heard such an arrogant and obnoxious person speak of any tragedy as this Mr. Murray. All he was interested in was assuring himself that the mine accident was caused by nature. He said very little, if anything, about his concern for those trapped miners. All he was interested in was covering his ASS! He is incredible! I feel so sorry for the real victims in this...the families, workers and those still trapped.
Judy Cherbonneau
Hillsboro, NH

E-mail No. 9

Hi Greta... that mine owner seems like a real jerk! He only seems concerned in protecting himself! Thanks for all you do!

E-mail No. 10

Hi Greta,
Murray really ticked me off... the only thing he seemed to be saying was it would be a week before they can reach the miners the rest of his conference was CYA... would it not have been more prudent to have said, the cause was an earthquake but right now the cause is not on our minds but it is the men. Unless FOX really cut and edited that interview which I doubt — oooo he ticked me.
Cathleen S.
Mason City, IA

E-mail No. 11

I remember from when this story first broke that Tom Green's wives are all on welfare and get food stamps. Since Green was only legally married to one wife, the others filed for welfare and WIC, etc. I believe they also sold magazine subscriptions to make money. The bottom line is that Green does NOT support his children: taxpayers do!

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