Local TV reporters from across the country are racing to New Orleans, Mississippi, and other hurricane-ravaged spots to cover the aftermath of Katrina.
WFOR Miami, a CBS owned-and-operated station, already has reporter Brian Andrews in New Orleans with a crew and meteorologist David Bernard is en route with a second crew. Bernard is more familiar with the market than most. He worked for CBS affiliate WWL New Orleans for eight years before joining WFOR this summer.
Two Chicago O&Os have also dispatched staff to follow up local angles to the story.
NBC-owned WMAQ reporter Don Lemon arrived Wednesday and is blogging on his experience.
CBS O&O WBBM sent in reporter Jay Levine, who arrived in Biloxi on Tuesday, where he’ll report on local ties such as a Red Cross team from the Chicago area that is in the city providing assistance.
Reporters are arriving from as far away as Los Angeles. KABC is sending two reporters to the region. KNBC veteran Furnell Chatman, a New Orleans native who started his career at WVUE there, will contribute reports and KTLA technology reporter Kurt Knutsson is also filing dispatches.
He was in New Orleans working on another story when the hurricane hit and has been filing phone and video stories.
TV stations across the country are also organizing relief efforts.
NBC’s flagship station, WNBC New York, will air a commercial-free hour-long fundraising special at 7 p.m. Wednesday to benefit the Red Cross. Several other NBC-owned stations will simulcast the broadcast.
Others are planning their own specials, including KNBC, which will air its broadcast Wednesday at 4 p.m. PT. KABC Los Angeles is teaming up with TalkRadio KABC, 95.5 KLOS, ESPN Radio 710 and parent The Walt Disney Co. to raise relief funds Wednesday with a day-long drive at Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium and Arrowhead Pond at Anaheim.
Disney corporate says it will make its own contribution of $2.5 million to the relief/rebuilding efforts.
Fox’s New York duopoly, WNYW and WWOR, are partnering with AmeriCares. On Sept. 2, talent from both stations will fan out across the city collecting donations.
In Dallas, Belo’s WFAA is teaming with Tom Thumb Food & Drugs to raise money for the Red Cross. Shoppers can put donations of any amount on a scan card, which will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
The station and sister newspaper The Dallas Morning News are also working with Bank One and Chase banks to establish a special account for relief donations.
WISN Milwaukee will host a daylong effort Sept. 1 with a hotline to accept donations throughout the day. Also in Milawukee, Journal Broadcast Group's WTMJ AM and TV will hold a day-long relief effort Sept. 1, including a call-in phone bank during half-time of the Green Bay Packers/Tennessee Titans football game.