Stations Converge on Newtown to Cover Solemn Weekend

Yet another mass murder…this time in Newtown, Connecticut. The deranged man opened fire in an elementary school killing 20 youngsters, all shy of their eighth birthday. Seven adults were also gunned down, including the shooter’s mother.

The rampage is the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind the Virigina Tech massacre in 2007 where 32 students died.

The weekend was the time for families and friends to cope with the insurmountable loss. President Obama attended last night’s prayer vigil.

Although Newtown is on the outskirts of the New York tri-state area, it’s close enough for stations to easily send reporters to cover the services.

By Saturday, this was anything but a typical story. WNYW/Channel 5 brought in Dari Alexander to co-anchor with Christina Park. Likely unrelated, top meteorologist Nick Gregory was on-duty Saturday night as well.

For the Sunday night vigil, it was WABC/Channel 7 that shined. Bill Ritter anchored for Newtown, while Sade Baderinwa was behind the desk. Ritter struck the perfect balance of reporting the information, while masterfully dealing with the incredibly sad story.

Ritter was joined by reporters assembled in the small town east of Danbury, including usual weekend co-anchor Joe Torres.

At Channel 2/WCBS, anchor Don Dahler stayed put at Broadcast Center, but the team of reporters, arguably the deepest in New York, fanned out across Newtown.

On Saturday, the station had five reporters on-scene, including Tony Aiello, Sean Hennessey, and Dick Brennan. The baton was passed to three others yesterday, including Lou Young and Ann Mercogliano. This morning, anchor Mary Calvi provided live updates.

Michael Gargiulo led the WNBC coverage live from Newtown today. Jonathan Dienst has been giving updates on the police investigation throughout the weekend.