Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Coverage: KTTV Leads All L.A. Outlets

I was quite impressed with KTTV/Fox 11 tonight; as of 1 a.m., the station is still carrying live coverage -- anchored by Carlos Amezcua and Christine Devine. The station has been wall-to-wall for hours, not even breaking for commercial.

Compare that to KABC, KCBS and KNBC -- none of which went with full coverage, and all of which went to regular network programming (Leno, Letterman and "Nightline") at 11:35. (At least KCBS' independent sister KCAL continued with coverage until 12:30 a.m.)

Insult to injury: The pre-taped "Nightline" was filled with fluff, and obviously no mention of what was going on in Japan.

Back to KTTV: Amezcua and Devine did a great job of juggling callers, describing the utter devastation and adding context without being too sensational. The station utilized NHK video but also ran clips from YouTube, answered (and read) tweets and spoke to a wide range of folks, such as eyewitnesses in Tokyo, tsunami and earthquake experts and even an emergency staffer in Honolulu.

As many have mentioned, CNN (using its CNN International feed) was an embarrassment. BBC America completely dropped the ball, airing a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" repeat instead of a BBC World News feed (epic fail, BBC America). And here in L.A., KCET ran the Al Jazeera feed until around midnight.

Beyond KTTV, KSCI Channel 18's digital subchannel 18.2 continued to carry live coverage of NHK World.

UPDATE: KTTV finally signed off at 2 a.m. But both KTTV and KTLA were both on live at 4, earlier than normal. (Not sure about KABC, KNBC and KCBS.) Over at B&C, Ben Grossman has the ABC News explanation on why they didn't go with a live edition of "Nightline" for the west coast. Simple answer: They made a communication error.

Friday morning, and it looks like both Hawai'i and the west coast have been spared from any major damage. I've been watching a bit more of the KGMB/KHNL coverage from Honolulu, but at this point they don't have much more to say.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic has the most stunning collection of photos from the disaster and its impact in Japan. Jaw-dropping images.

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