Even as I got a firsthand look today at some of the areas of town affected by the tornado that changed our West Alabama community forever, I’ve been struggling with how to react to the media shift from the Tornado Aftermath to the bin Laden death as the BIG STORY.
Yes, it’s a lead story, but..
Yes, as a television producer, it’s a no-brainer. Timeliness, impact, Bizarre, Unusual– all the news values that make this the BIG STORY of the day. I think ABC, CBS and NBC were correct to field anchor their newscasts tonight from Ground Zero.
But, bodies are still being pulled from the rubble here in Tuscaloosa. If you’re not in Tuscaloosa, can you really turn your attention away from what’s happening here in Alabama?
How Did You Learn About Osama bin Laden death?
The other issue is how we all learned about this particular story. One of my newest Twitter followers sent me a direct message asking my advice about how to handle this story. I was like “what, what are you talking about?”
Turns out Stacey Higginbotham has outlined almost exactly my steps in a post last night even as the story was breaking. Her “7 Stages of News in a Twitter and Facebook Era” just became required reading for my journalism students who will be taking basic news reporting from me next month.
As for the shift away from Tuscaloosa, a question I posed in an earlier post in regard to the national TV networks, I think I can accept that our tragedy here will continue for some time. It may not be the lead story on the evening news, but it’s still news– a story that will be back on the national radar in the days, weeks, months and YES, YEARS to come.