BREAKING 5:42 PM… REFRESH FOR LATEST: The TV news channels reported simultaneously “the suspect is in custody” just minutes before the Boston Police tweeted confirmatin. News crews on the scene said police and residents broke into spontaneous applause. In summary the news networks did a responsible and accurate job covering the 23-hour manhunt for the 19-year-old Boston Marathon suspect and his dead older brother. TV anchors are quoting Boston police as saying Suspect #2 is alive and has unspecified medical needs. “It is the end,” simply summed up CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
UPDATE 4:30 PM: Primetime is already abandoned on the East Coast. Because what may be the incredibly dramatic finish to the Boston bombing Suspect #2 manhunt is playing out live on broadcast and cable TV right now. But, once again, the Boston Globe got the major scoop. The nets are quoting the newspaper as reporting, “Suspect is pinned down”. Specifically a massive police presence has him cornered in a residential Watertown neighborhood in what is being called a standoff between authorities and the wounded suspect who reportedly has been hiding in a boat in someone’s backyard. In terms of the TV coverage, ABC cut to the police action and to Diane Sawyer first. CBS stayed with its syndicated programming Judge Judy before cutting to WBZ Boston a few minutes later. NBC stayed with the syndicated Ellen show until shifting over to MSNBC news and then Brian Williams. But right after a technical mishap ensued and voices could be heard saying, “You’re not listening? We don’t know. We don’t know shit.” The feed was swiftly cut – and Williams quickly came back on air to apologize for the four-letter word. CNN was first to alert viewers to gunshots in Watertown – and immediately all the news channels switched to coverage of the swarming police cars coming from everywhere. Fox News was first to report “Suspect is down” which wasn’t entirely accurate. The 19-year-old has not been captured and he has not been killed: he is hunkered down in the boat and refusing to come out. meanwhile, the Boston area lockdown was ordered back on.
PREVIOUSLY, 3:28 PM: The Boston area lockdown is lifted – so tonight’s movie-going should proceed as normal. The transit system is also now open and working again as well but citizens should remain “vigilant,” Gov. Deval Patrick announced at a press conference just now. All the networks broke into their resumed regular scheduled programming briefly to cover the press conference. However, despite the lockdown being lifted, major sporting events and the Boston Comic-Con remain postponed as Deadline reported before.
PREVIOUSLY, 12: 25PM: ABC and NBC cut away from Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams’ coverage of the Boston manhunt to go to local news today at noon. The local stations were covering the situation in Boston themselves. CBS, which had cut away to air The Price Is Right at 10 AM, continued their resumption of a network special report that came back on the air at 11 AM. As the lockdown in Boston continues through the day and mass transit has been shut down, sporting events are being postponed. “Tonight’s Bruins/Penguins game has been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for 4/20 at 12:30 p.m,” tweeted the Boston Bruins at 12:19 PM PT. This comes as the team’s last game on Monday was cancelled and the team pulled the plug on their practice this morning. The Red Sox will also not be playing tonight. “Tonight’s Red Sox game at Fenway Park scheduled for 7:10pm has been postponed to support efforts of law enforcement officers,” the team tweetedat noon Friday. The Boston Comic-Con has also been postponed as well as all events at the Hynes Convention Center have been suspended. The April 20 to 21 event was expected to attract 6,000 visitors. The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden and Lauren Cohan were among the celebrity guest scheduled to appear at the Comic-Con this weekend. Organizers say the event will be rescheduled “in the not too distant future.”
PREVIOUSLY, 10:02 AM: CBS cut away at 10 AM from its special coverage of the manhunt in Boston to go back to its regular scheduled programming of The Price Is Right. Both ABC and NBC have stayed on the search in Boston.
PREVIOUSLY, 9:29 AM: As the manhunt continues in Boston, ABC, NBC and CBS are staying on continuous coverage and pre-empting any regular scheduled morning programming. CBS say that anchor Scott Pelley will be hosting a primetime CBS News Special Report: Boston Bombers tonight from 9 to 10 PM ET in the slot where the drama Vegas usually airs. As it has several times this week, CBS will be broadcasting a one-hour version of the CBS Evening News. ABC will also have a one-hour expanded version of ABC World News and a special edition of 20/20 from live from Boston at 10 PM tonight in the newsmagazine’s regular slot and live coverage into the AM with Nightline. Tonight’s regularly scheduled Rock Center With Brian Williams will now be live from Boston at 10PM. The NBC Nightly News, which Williams has been hosting from Boston for most of the week, will be expanded to an hour again tonight.
The graveyard shifts of local and national media were thrust into covering one of the biggest, fastest moving news stories of the year last night — an alleged convenience store robbery, which turned into a carjacking and escalated into a manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and a firefight that left a police officer and one of the suspects dead, a suspect on the loose and a whole city on lockdown. Getting reliable information in the middle of the night amidst all the chaos was incredibly difficult, but local Boston media got a chance to shine.
Related: Networks’ Coverage Of Boston Manhunt
The Boston Globe was miles ahead of everyone else, reporting the connection between the MIT shooting and the Boston Marathon suspects as well as the apprehension of one of the suspects at least an hour before anyone else. Gun-shy after erroneously reporting that there was a bombing suspect in custody on Wednesday, CNN anchors led by Jake Tapper were overly cautious, declining to even reference the Boston Globe report on the arrest and only connected the events after the statement of Col. Timothy Alben, commander of the Massachusetts State Police. Meanwhile, Fox News‘ Bill Hemmer was holding a tablet with the Boston Globe on air, reading updates off the site.
The way the Globe was ahead of all national papers, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, local stations beat the national news networks too, with Boston newspaper and TV outlets also getting the news of the death of Suspect #1 out first. CNN actually tapped into the feed of a local Boston station to carry Alben’s key impromptu presser, which officially confirmed that the chased men were the bombing suspects and that one was dead and one on the lam.