California Wildfires: L.A. Stations Exhale

Santa Ana Winds Calm; Stations Move from Breaking News to People Stories

With the Santa Ana winds fueling the wildfires seemingly subsiding in Los Angeles, station staffers can collectively exhale.

“The breaking news has very much diminished,” KTTV vice president of news Jose Rios said. “Now we’re on to people stories.”

Station managers were quick to credit their troops with hustling to cover the far-reaching, fast-moving story and for repeatedly coming up with compelling human-interest stories, such as the firefighters poised in a tiny backyard to save a house as the fire roared up from an adjacent ravine. “We have nowhere to go,” KNBC’s Vikki Vargas told a marketplace that saw 500,000 people evacuated.

“What pleased me most about the coverage was that seemingly every reporter was able to find the microcosm of the larger event,” KNBC news director Bob Long said. “I’m in awe of the performance of the troops.”

While reporters will be happy to unwind with family this weekend as regular programming returns, managers said their charges live for such stories. “Reporters just want to work,” KTLA VP and general manager Vinnie Malcolm said. “They thrive on this.”


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