CONTAINING LINKS TO 51991 STORIES FROM THE NETWORKS' NIGHTLY NEWSCASTS
     TYNDALL HEADLINE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM FEBRUARY 15, 2008
Thursday's shooting on the campus of Northern Illinois University hardly had national scope. Steven Kazmierczak, a 27-year-old former graduate student who specialized in the sociology of criminal justice, killed five students in a lecture hall, wounding 17 others, before committing suicide. Obviously the crime will attract saturation attention on the local news in Chicago. The reason why it should be the lead on all three network newscasts for a second straight day is not so clear. Yet it occupied almost a third of the entire three-network newshole (18 min out of 57), easily qualifying as Story of the Day.    
     TYNDALL PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 15, 2008: CLICK ON GRID ELEMENTS TO SEARCH FOR MATCHING ITEMS
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video thumbnailCBSNorthern Illinois University campus shooting spreeFormer graduate student killed five, then selfCynthia BowersIllinois
video thumbnailNBCNorthern Illinois University campus shooting spreeKiller used legally-obtained firearmsPete WilliamsWashington DC
video thumbnailCBSNorthern Illinois University campus shooting spreeCampus security unable to prevent deathsRandall PinkstonIllinois
video thumbnailABCCollege campus security measures surveyedSome students seek to go armed, CCTV installedDavid MuirNew York
video thumbnailNBC2008 John McCain campaignWill be endorsed by former President BushKelly O'DonnellWisconsin
video thumbnailABC2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton campaignTargets middle class voters as their championDavid WrightWisconsin
video thumbnailNBC2008 Barack Obama campaignRecord on nuclear power regulations scrutinizedLisa MyersWashington DC
video thumbnailNBCInfluenza coverageSudden serious outbreak, vaccine lacks successRobert BazellNew York
video thumbnailABCFine art painter Stephen Wiltshire is autisticRenders scenes with uncanny photographic memoryNick WattLondon
video thumbnailNBCNBC Nightly News marks 60th anniversaryHistoric clips show cavalcade of anchorsBrian WilliamsNew York
 
TYNDALL BLOG: DAILY NOTES ON NETWORK TELEVISION NIGHTLY NEWS
CHICAGO’S GRIEF GETS NATIONAL ATTENTION Thursday's shooting on the campus of Northern Illinois University hardly had national scope. Steven Kazmierczak, a 27-year-old former graduate student who specialized in the sociology of criminal justice, killed five students in a lecture hall, wounding 17 others, before committing suicide. Obviously the crime will attract saturation attention on the local news in Chicago. The reason why it should be the lead on all three network newscasts for a second straight day is not so clear. Yet it occupied almost a third of the entire three-network newshole (18 min out of 57), easily qualifying as Story of the Day.

All three newscasts started the same way, with a correspondent in Dekalb Ill--Kevin Tibbles for NBC, Cynthia Bowers for CBS, Barbara Pinto (embargoed link) for ABC--to provide a narrative of the lecture hall carnage, a brief thumbnail of Kazmierczak's successful academic career and a plea from his bereaved father in Florida: "Please leave me alone. I have no statement to make and no comment, OK? I would appreciate that. This is a very hard time." ABC had Eric Horng (embargoed link) follow up with sketches of those students Kazmierczak killed. CBS' Randall Pinkston checked campus security procedures: "It was a day the university tried to prevent with meticulous plans and practice drills." Within eight minutes, ten police officers converged on the scene but even that was not quick enough to prevent violence. Kazmierczak had already killed himself.

ABC and NBC looked at the regulation of firearms. NBC's Pete Williams pointed out that the three handguns and the shotgun that Kazmierczak used had been purchased "entirely legally" under Illinois laws, which require a three-day waiting period. Williams speculated that a pending Second Amendment case before the Supreme Court "could make it more difficult to restrict gun ownership." On ABC's A Closer Look, David Muir told us that "twelve states are right now considering whether to allow concealed weapons on public university campuses." A Texas student explained that he wanted to bring his gun to class to be able to shoot back if violence erupted: "Right now the only recourse they have it to hide under a desk and pray."


NOTES FROM THE STUMP On the campaign trail, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell followed Republican John McCain's continued quest for prominent endorsements. Wednesday it was the GOP House leadership; Thursday former rival Mitt Romney; now he announced that former President George Bush would announce for him on Monday. O'Donnell observed that McCain is gearing up for Barack Obama as his General Election opponent. He and Obama had both pledged to rely on federal financing, which has an $85m maximum, instead of unlimited private contributions. "That was before Obama started raising eyepopping funds," O'Donnell pointed out, when McCain challenged the Democrat to stick to his vow of relative poverty.

Obama, of course, still has to beat Hillary Rodham Clinton. ABC's David Wright followed her attempts to frame herself as the candidate "of, from and for the middle class." She launched an attack ad against Obama for his failure to endorse universal healthcare and his refusal to debate her before next Tuesday's primary in Wisconsin. CBS' Dean Reynolds could not nail down a report in The New York Times that Rep John Lewis, the Civil Rights leader from Georgia, was switching his superdelegate vote from Rodham Clinton to Obama. Lewis's spokesman issued a non-denial denial, "saying the story was 'inaccurate'--they did not exactly say how." Reynolds called the confusion "a worrisome development."

As for Obama, NBC's Lisa Myers examined his relationship with Exelon, the nuclear power plant operator--a prominent source of campaign funds and influential employer in Illinois--while CBS anchor Katie Couric added credibility to Obama's prospects in the second part of her so-called Exclusive interview with his wife Michelle. Her husband is not even the nominee, let alone the President, yet Couric asked her to contrast herself to former First Ladies, specifically "a lawyer, a mother, an outspoken advocate for her husband. Do you see any similarities between you and Hillary Clinton?" "I am sure there are some but I feel like I am uniquely me," Michelle sidestepped.


ELSEWHERE… Both CBS' Jon LaPook and NBC's Robert Bazell looked at the sudden surge in influenza cases as the latest mutation of the virus seems able to confound protections the vaccine was supposed to offer…ABC's Lisa Stark (no link) warned all her viewers watching an analog broadcast on a rabbit ears set that they need to add a $40 converter a year from now or Dancing with the Stars will turn to white noise...NBC Nightly News first went on the air 60 years ago--its title back then was NBC Television Newsreel--and anchor Brian Williams introduced us to a cavalcade of his predecessors to celebrate his newscast's birthday…and ABC commissioned its Person of the Week, autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire, to show off his photographic memory. ABC's Nick Watt took the painter to Piccadilly Circus and had him study the heart of London for ten minutes. In little more than an hour, Wiltshire rendered the skyline in perfect detail relying on nothing except his mind's eye.


MENTIONED IN PASSING The network newscasts do not assign correspondents to all of the news of the day. If Tyndall Report readers come across videostreamed reports online of stories that were mentioned only in passing, post the link in comments for us to check out.

Today's examples: President George Bush has embarked on a five-nation trip to Africa…obesity has been isolated as a risk factor for a dozen different types of cancer…the funeral was held for the first Los Angeles police officer to be killed while serving on the LAPD's SWAT unit…Rep Henry Waxman (D-CA), the chairman of the House committee that grabbed headlines with its probe into baseball's Roger Clemens, regrets holding the hearings…aviator Steve Fossett, missing for months in Nevada, has been declared legally dead…Swiss engineers have built a $1.5m automobile that doubles as a submarine.