Tuesday, August 22, 2006

When the Levees Broke

Last night I watched the first 2 acts of Spike Lee's 'When the Levees Broke' on HBO. It was very good. Reading about it at the end of last week, there was a lot of controversy being discussed about "He only featured black people," or "He did not tell the whole story." I think that he did a good job getting a view from all New Orlenians and surrounding community members. This is good to see becuase it allows those who were not there, in the area, to have a greater understanding of what really happened, more than the networks can cover. There were a lot of first hand narratives and a lot of pictures of destruction. The ending was very sobering because Lee chose to show many pictures of bodies that were just lying there in the water. It was hard to watch. They all were laying in the same position. It was just very sad. I am excited to see the rest of it tonight. I remember the whole thing as it happened. Right before it hit and afterwards, I was tuned in at work and at home online watching the local tv stations directly because they were broadcasting their coverage online, which was great for those like me who are nerds and also great for those who were from the area and wanted to stay connected to the news from their hometown. WDSU (Hearst-Argyle owned and NBC station) and WWL (Belo-owned and CBS station) provided great coverage online. It was interesting to watch them as they improvised and tried the best to stay on the air while they evacuated themselves to different parts of the area. Both stations had to go to different places to base their broadcasts. WWL broadcasted from their transmitter site and from LSU for most of their broadcasts and WDSU moved all of their staff to a Hearst-Argyle sister station in Jackson, WAPT, which has really interesting, because that is the first dual broadcast that I had seen. H-A also committed a first when the News Director in New Orleans decided to shut things down in New Orleans and handed their broadcast over to staff at the A-H flagship station in Orlando, FL, WESH, which provided coverage for both Orlando and New Orleans (people in Orlando were probably like, what is this doing on my station? This is not affecting my area!) which according to what I have read, that has not been done before. There is a great video that H-A produced explaining what happened on the H-A website and how everything worked. It is really interesting. It was definately a new situation for the TV news industry..

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