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Boston: Local and national media blanket story

April 19, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • As the FBI hunts for the bombing suspect, the media is right behind them.
As the FBI hunts for the bombing suspect, the media is right behind them. (Associated Press )

While the Boston area remains in lockdown as law enforcement officials hunt for the second bombing suspect, local and national radio and television outlets went to all-news mode covering the chase and digging for clues about the two suspected terrorists.

All-news cable channels Fox News, CNN and MSNBC were joined by broadcast networks NBC, CBS, and ABC in devoting all their resources to the story and digging into the lives of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his late older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shootout with authorities.

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NBC and ABC are preempting much of their regularly scheduled daily programming. CBS kept live coverage going until noon eastern time, then returned later in the afternoon. CBS, NBC and ABC are also planning additional coverage in prime time as the story unfolds.

Pete Williams, NBC's Justice Department correspondent, has been singled out by many media critics for his measured coverage. While CNN and other news outlets mistakenly reported earlier in the week that a suspect had been arrested, Williams shot down that story.

Local TV stations in Boston have been praised for their nonstop coverage, and it was WHDH-TV Boston that is credited with the first report that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been killed. The Columbia Journalism Review said Boston stations have done an "absolutely heroic and tremendous job of it, proving that, even though local TV news is often maligned, it can serve a huge need in times of crisis — and can rise to the occasion when other national outlets do not."


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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.


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