NCAA Basketball or Hostage Situation? POLL: You make the call

By Chris Ariens 

Steve Schwaid, VP of digital content for all Meredith stations and head of news at Atlanta’s WGCL (CBS) writes on his personal blog about a “news director’s nightmare,” deciding between carrying a breaking news story or a live sporting event: in this case, the NCAA basketball tournament.

Schwaid, who has been news director in Hartford, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, as well heading up news for NBC’s local stations group, was faced with that dilemma Friday night when a days-long manhunt for an accused cop killer ended with the suspect taking hostages and demanding that local stations carry his surrender.

Police said he would come out at 11:01 p.m. For all the other stations, this was easy. They were all in their local newscasts. We were in the midst of the second game – Kentucky versus Ohio State. For all we knew he was watching the game with the hostages. There is no way I wanted to live with the fact that if we didn’t carry his surrender, he might not come out or more importantly, hurt or kill a hostage. Do I worry about a person’s life or a basketball game? Honestly, an easy decision.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, more breaking news caused more bastketball interuptions less than 24 hours later.

…then we have serious weather on Saturday. It’s around 2:30 p.m. when the storms start to intensify and we’re doing special reports about tornado warnings. Basically a warning indicated that radar had seen tornadic properties or someone has witnessed a tornado. This is serious stuff.

But again, guess what’s getting ready to tip off. Yup, the NCAAs.

So we’re putting it to you…