Air regulations hamper crash coverage

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Post-Sept. 11 restrictions on the flights of TV-news helicopters kept New
York's many local- and network-news choppers far away from Monday's tragic
American Airlines Airbus crash in Queens.

Because of the restrictions -- which keep the choppers away from major
metropolitan areas and airports -- networks and stations were able at first to
provide only distant views of billowing smoke along Queens' Rockaway Beach
before reporters and crews were able to provide dramatic footage from the crash
site.

Networks and local stations pre-empted regular programming to cover the
crash, with cable-news networks predictably providing wall-to-wall coverage.

All six English-language and both Spanish-language stations in New York
pre-empted regular programming to cover the tragedy, which quickly raised
questions of continuing terrorism.

Networks and local stations reported that some reporters and crews were
slowed considerably by temporary tunnel and bridge closures.

Interest in the crash among New York's Hispanic community was strong, as the
plane was headed toward the Dominican Republic.

Diana Diaz, communications director for Univision
Communications Inc.'s WXTV(TV) New York, said her station would produce a
Spanish-language public-service announcement, coordinated with the local
Dominican Council, to provide phone numbers for Americans and Dominicans to call
for information regarding family members.

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