Unlike CBS and NBC, ABC is home to a late night national news program in the form of “Nightline.” Last night, at around 12:46 AM ET, a massive earthquake struck Japan, and as we reported the cable news channels went into full coverage mode.
Of course, on the west coast of the U.S., it was only 9:46 PM. Rather than go live to cover the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on the west coast, ABC’s “Nightline” stuck with its pre-taped program, which featured comedian Kathy Griffin.
B&C’s Ben Grossman spoke to an ABC News spokesperson, who acknowledged it was probably the wrong decision:
When I contacted the organization Friday morning to ask them to respond to my disappointment, an ABC News spokesman owned up. He frankly explained that the story really heated up about 50 minutes after the Nightline staff had gone home. And while the news desk on duty was busy reporting out the story, they failed to contact the Nightline people to start the wheels in motion to go live on the west coast…
“Looking back on this, there should have been a live show on the west coast, “ acknowledged the spokesperson.
Grossman also reminds readers that “Nightline” gained prominence thanks to its coverage of a crisis, specifically the Iran hostage crisis in 1979.
“With Nightline, ABC News had a chance to put a stake in the ground in this story in a timeslot that was actually built on covering a massive worldwide story better than anyone else. But due to the organizational breakdown it failed to do so,” Grossman wrote.