Friday, June 22, 2018
Politics

Resources key in local TV's coverage of RNC this week

It can sound a bit like a modern-day Tower of Babel. Sometimes talking at once, up to five voices deliver the day's news to viewers as close as Tampa Bay and as far away as New York.

That's the atmosphere sometimes at the skybox booth inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the news outlets owned by Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable covering the RNC. Sitting shoulder to shoulder, anchors for local news channel Bay News 9, Orlando's Central Florida News 13, Spanish-language InfoMas and New York 1 are perched before a huge space looking out onto the convention floor, just a few doors away from the GOP nominees' official box.

"The sharing of resources is so important because we're so spread out covering Hurricane Isaac," said Bay News 9 anchor Al Ruechel, minutes before jumping into recording an interview with Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll for playback during the special 6:30 p.m. Political Connections show.

Ruechel was among the flood of local TV journalists covering the RNC for stations across the bay area. Many were implementing plans developed over many months, spending upwards of $100,000 to re-create control rooms, editing facilities, anchor desks and more within the tight confines of skybox booths.

For local TV, RNC coverage is about more than planting the flag in a national news event — though every station has banners touting their organizations draped outside their skybox window. It's about uniting their staffs in covering the biggest local news event the area has ever seen.

"I know people have asked about covering something so many other people are also covering," said Don North, news director at NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8. "But if you're a news organization, you can't assume the other guy's going to take care of it. You've got to cover the news."

WFLA anchor Keith Cate is like a kid in a candy store, brimming with information he has developed as the station's political reporter while chasing down such notables as Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul for interviews. His on-screen partner, longtime co-anchor Gayle Sierens, has a simpler goal. "I didn't want to end up on The Daily Show," she said.

Donovan Myrie, a producer hired just to coordinate RNC coverage for ABC affiliate WFTS-Ch. 28, said the station received staff and resources from other TV outlets in Cleveland, Denver, West Palm and Cincinnati — all controlled by WFTS owner Scripps TV — to help the station balance RNC coverage, Hurricane Isaac reports and more.

Even retired street reporter Don Germaise returned to help. And the reports, along with lots of online and social media material, have nearly doubled their web traffic to 180,000 page views in one day.

Heather Van Nest, anchor at CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10, said trying to snag big names for on-camera interviews while leading five newscasts each day can be the biggest challenge.

"That's why we're here," Van Nest said. "If you can get in front of them, you've got a shot at talking to them."

Comments
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18
Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another facility intended for detaining undocumented children is reportedly in the works for Houston as the number of children separated from their parents at the border continues to swell.Southwest Key Programs, the same contractor that operates the...
Published: 06/19/18
Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

ST. PETERSBURG — They appear to rise out of nowhere — two enormous, reclaimed-water tanks with an artist’s white clouds scudding across a blue background.A closer view reveals silhouettes of a lone coyote howling at the sky, mangrove islands, oak, cy...
Published: 06/19/18