Networks Grapple With Morning Flood of Breaking News

By Mark Joyella 

At 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday, cable news was covering at least three major news stories all breaking at once: a major Supreme Court decision on immigration (and a pending presidential statement), a shooting at a movie theater in Germany, and a verdict in the Freddie Gray case. “We have a complex menu of stories before us this morning,” said MSNBC’s Brian Williams.

For producers, that meant tight time constraints on segments, and plenty of shifting from one story to another. At one point on CNN, the network moved rapidly from a live report on the Gray case to legal analysis to the latest from Germany–all with a live picture of the White House briefing room as reporters awaited the President.

And as those stories dominated coverage in the 11 a.m. ET hour, networks had crews committed to two other major stories still developing–the Euro vote in the U.K., and the ongoing Democratic sit-in in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court also issued a major ruling on affirmative action.

On MSNBC, chief legal correspondent Ari Melber spoke in detail about the judge’s ruling in the Gray case, and then shifted gears to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision on immigration: