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16 of Fall's 31 New Shows Set to Debut

(Posted September 16, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

Anticipating that the Hurricane Katrina recovery will be a big story for months to come, both NBC and CNN said Thursday they are opening full-time news bureaus in New Orleans.

NBC News said its bureau will operate out of space at WDSU-TV, its local affiliate, and will help the network and MSNBC originate shows in the city. Brian Williams anchored the "NBC Nightly News" from there on Thursday in advance of President Bush's speech.

Frieda Morris, currently chief of NBC's Atlanta bureau who has been living out of a trailer in Biloxi, Miss., since the storm, will be in charge of the New Orleans bureau. NBC had no immediate details on how many people will staff the operation.

"This is not a flash in the pan," acting NBC News President Steve Capus said. "This is going to go into the next year."

CNN said it had obtained office space in downtown New Orleans and is moving equipment, journalists and a production crew there soon. It moved up its announcement by a day after NBC made its news.

"The story of the devastating wrath of Hurricane Katrina will unfold for years to come as the coast recovers and rebuilds," said CNN/US president Jonathan Klein. "CNN will be there to cover that story, and New Orleans will be a critical base of operations for us for a long time."

The irony is television news divisions have spent much of the past decades shutting domestic and international bureaus to save money.

The announcements also somewhat exasperated their rivals, who say they also have large numbers of people working in New Orleans. ABC News, for example, said it is moving into a more permanent work space in New Orleans. CBS News said it had 200 people in the region at the height of the story.

"We have an enormous presence in Louisiana and will for a very long time to come," ABC News spokeswoman Cathie Levine said.

Might that be called a bureau?

"Sure," she said.

Fox News Channel said it expects to have an increased presence in the Gulf for the forseeable future. Calling it a bureau is "just a formality," spokeswoman Irena Briganti said.

Meanwhile, CNN said it was devoting 40 hours of airtime this weekend starting at 7 a.m. Saturday to helping reunite parents and missing children in the Gulf region.

One-third of CNN's screen will continuously air information about these children, including pictures if available, said Sue Bunda, CNN senior vice president. Viewers will be given information on how to contact the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which will coordinate the reunion effort. The center estimates as many as 2,000 children have been separated from parents, she said.

A CNN reporter will be stationed at the center to monitor whether the effort bears fruit.

"There's no more important story that we can devote time to than helping families get back together," she said.

Source: Yahoo! News

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