What can you say now — as opposed to earlier in the week — about the nation's worst natural disaster? A lot! Why? Because so much changes from day to day about the damage that Hurricane Katrina (search) inflicted on four states.
What has caught me most by surprise is the crime. The stories emerging from the Superdome (search) are sickening. Who would think gangsters would terrorize, rape and rob displaced fellow Americans? Even the terrorists in Indonesia (search) shelved their hate for aid after the tsunami.
What will just blow away the world next — I am afraid — are the causality numbers. How many times have we heard about the bodies in the streets, in the water, still in attics and rotting in hospitals? Even President Bush said he was not happy with the response. If this levee system was so tenuous, why wasn't the emergency plan more detailed and effective? Where is this New Orleans mayor who has provided a random inflammatory quote and gone back into hiding. Rudy Giuliani, you have never looked better — but that's a topic for another time.
As for our show, we have fanned out the staff over a 24-hour period and learning so much by watching the video and talking to our reporters in the field. There is nothing more spine-tingling for an anchor then to toss out to a reporter and not have any idea aside from the topic what he has for you in terms of news and information. What's challenging for us is to get the new video and the latest sound bites as the sun rises. These new feeds have been late and often time come in after our show. It hurts our show, but just to let you know we will roll this footage unedited just to get it out ASAP.
Alisyn, Kiran, Gretchen have been great and E.D. should be back on Tuesday. Steve will fill in on Saturday and I will be in this Sunday and we are both thrilled to be called on in this insane crisis. Remember, behind all our great reporters are great truck ops, audio tech, shooters and fearless producers. And if you like our show and we hope you do the people that deserve much of the credit are our great producers, writers, PAs and bookers.
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