Sick Pope: “Journalistic Drill”

By Brian 

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“In what amounted to a journalistic drill for that fateful day of his demise, all three networks activated reporters in Rome,” this week’s Tyndall Report says. It reminded me to link to John Cook’s must-read in the Chicago Tribune: “The deteriorating health and inevitable earthly demise of Pope John Paul II is one of the most anticipated news events in recent history, and the world’s television networks have been rehearsing for it for nearly a decade.” Highlights:

> “It was 1996 that I went to Rome myself to negotiate roof rights,” said Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president for news coverage at CBS News. “Every broadcaster in the world has a rooftop or balcony lined up.”

> “For ABC News, which has strategically placed robotic, remote controlled cameras around the Vatican for instant live shots, it will be literally automatic.” “It will be a matter of pressing a button and spending the money,” Paul Slavin says.

> “We’ll have in excess of 100 people coming to Rome for the story,” NBC specials planning EP Phil Alongi says.

> Former CNN exec David Bernknopf was involved with planning coverage: “It was very detailed — it’s like planning a war,” he says. “Who will do the first live shots? Who gets on the plane? What experts do we call? Who internally gets called when he gets sick?”