Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Anatomy of Breaking News -- Covering two major stories at once

2:15 p.m. Today's awful shooting in Cleveland couldn't have put our newsroom more on the spot .. it took place right across the street from WKYC at 1333 Lakeside Avenue. I'm monitoring our newsroom developments from the Akron office, but it's interesting watching the story develop from the inside out.

2:18 p.m. We're trying to cover the shooting and the major train derailment in Painesville. A few minutes ago school leaders ordered the evacuation of 340 students and staff. This of course, would be THE story of the day but the school shooting is pulling us in two directions.

2:22 p.m. We just carried the live press conference with Mayor Frank Jackson and Dr. Eugene Sanders, Cleveland Schools Superintendent. They didn't answer any questions but did confirm that three students had been shot and the shooter may be dead. Not sure why Mayor Jackson became a spokesperson on this and not Lt. Thomas Stacho, the CPD Public Information Officer.

2:35 p.m. Reporter Kim Wheeler is interviewing a few of the school's students live on the air. The students' comments are all over the place. Obviously, live interviews with kids involved in an awful situation like this are a crap shoot because you never know what they're going to say. One of the students actually started taking a cell phone call during the live interview.

2:44 p.m. Mayor Jackson is back .. telling reporters that four students (three boys and one girl) and two adult males, believed to be teachers, have been injured and all are alive being treated at the hospital. Reporter Dave Summers say he's learned the shooter has been killed, but Mayor Jackson wouldn't confirm that. Press Conference over. Lasted about a full minute.

2:48 p.m. Summers is now clarifying that the one female victim suffered a knee injury getting away while the others were shot. Our producers are trying to determine how long we'll stay live with this story and where to go to next. We've been ping-ponging between two reporters (Kim Wheeler and Dave Summers) at the school shooting but also trying to give some coverage to the major train derailment in Painesville, where we have Carole Sullivan and Jeff Maynor covering the story.

2:50 p.m. Kim now has a live interview with a teacher who is in tears talking about the school's security and how special the students and staff are. This is really tough to watch because she's so emotional.

2:52 p.m. UPDATE: Kim grabbed the head of the teacher's union who just said live on the air that the shooter killed himself. This is different than the first reports that the student may have been killed by police.

2:55 p.m. Anchor Monica Robins is doing a great job directing traffic and updating viewers on both stories. Monica just tossed to Carole at the train derailment. The flames are amazing. CNN is taking video from us on both stories for national news cut-ins.

More in a bit .. Eric

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