The Big Four New York stations broke in live with a press conference this morning from Mayor Bloomberg, explaining why police had cleared out Zuccotti Park of its Occupy Wall Street protests. All four featured split screens: the mayor and his colleagues, including police chief Ray Kelly, on one side, and ground or sky footage of the protest site on the other. WABC, which is not part of the content sharing arrangement in New York, stood out with sharp, distinctive aerial shots. The competition often featured the same footage.
At 8:46, the presser concluded, and anchors at all four stations gave a little commentary.
At 8:47, WCBS and WABC went back to the network shows, the Early Show hosts talking with an author and teasing a story on stand-up comics with a religious bent, and WABC showing George Stephanopholous preparing a chicken meal with a chef on an unseasonably mild fall day in New York.
WNBC and WNYW stuck with the story, following the protestors as they sought out a new place to reassemble. The protestors were angry, and some appeared to menace passing pedestrians and motorists.
If something were to happen, WNBC and WNYW were there, live, to cover it.
As 9 a.m. approached, WNBC went to Today.
WNYW, without a network morning show, of course, stuck with Occupy.
UPDATE: Several reporters were barred from reporting on the action at Zuccotti Park, reports NBCNewYork.com, among others. Some were roughed up.
Some were even detained by police.
The Society of Professional Journalists condemned reporter arrests in New York and other Occupy cities. “We know that as protests escalate it may be difficult for police to distinguish bystanders from participants, but it is clear now that many journalists have been erroneously arrested without cause,” SPJ President John Ensslin said. “These errors must be rectified immediately.”