Bin Laden Killed: News Chiefs Talk Through What Happened

By Alex Weprin 

Broadcasting & Cable‘s Andrea Morabito spoke to a number of TV news executives about their experiences Sunday night.

Among them was CNN political director Sam Feist, who explained where his correspondents were when word of the President’s news conference broke, including John King, who many viewers noted looked very tired when he first appeared on the channel:

I called Wolf Blitzer, who was at home in Maryland watching the Washington Capitals game. And I said, “Get in. Now.” He said, “What is it?” I said, “I don’t know, but it’s important.” So he grabbed a jacket and a tie and he raced downtown to CNN Washington bureau. At the same time, our chief national correspondent John King was at the hockey game with his daughter, and he raced to the Washington bureau. And our chief White House correspondent Ed Henry was at the hockey game and he raced to the White House. All not knowing what this was, we didn’t know what the content of the statement was; we had no idea what the news was.

She also spoke to ABC News EP of special events Marc Burstein, who said that ABC has drilled for the Osama Bin Laden news for years:

We routinely do drills at ABC News for major events that we think someday might happen – a capture or killing of bin Laden is something we have drilled for many, many years, over the years we’ve drilled many times. Just knowing that the President was coming out I jumped in the car, we conferenced in a few critical people here and discussed. We don’t lightly preempt primetime programming in sweeps, so you also obviously factor that in, if the President is coming out in primetime, it’s obviously going to be important.