April 02, 2005

Update on Pope John Paul II's condition & network coverage

Pope John Paul II remains in "very grave" condition this morning in his apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Several masses have been said in his honor and in prayer for his condition.

The networks have been scrambling to cover the impending end of the Pontificate. NBC's Matt Lauer was able to arrive in Rome in enough time to co-anchor Today from there yesterday morning, and after the Pope's condition became more pressing late yesterday morning, Lauer and Ann Curry in New York anchored a freshened edition of Today for the Pacific Time Zone.

CNN's American Morning ran an extra three hours, until Noon ET, with Wolf Blitzer taking over anchor duties at that point. American Morning is running a special Saturday edition this morning, with Bill Hemmer anchoring from Rome.

Shepard Smith took over the anchor desk at Fox News Channel shortly after Noon Eastern, and ended up making a major faux pas a bit later, when he said that the Pope had died. Smith's call came shortly after a press conference was carried by FNC, during which a producer could be heard talking in English over the translator, exclaiming, "The Pope is dead!" The other networks quickly advised caution, with CNN pointing out that several news services, including networks in Italy, were claiming that the Pope had passed away, but that confirmation had not come from the Vatican.

MSNBC's Lester Holt and Alison Stewart anchored live coverage there, and NBC's Brian Williams was expected to anchor coverage on the broadcast network from Rome as soon as this morning.

The broadcast networks will begin coverage of some measure once the Pope passes away, with John Roberts there for CBS and Peter Jennings in Rome for ABC.

Newsworld International carries special report coverage from CBC Newsworld and the CBC broadcast network, with their lead anchor Peter Mansbridge.

In addition,BBC World is available to some online, and is carrying ongoing coverage during their newscasts, which may be simulcast with BBC News 24. I wouldn't be surprised if BBC America began carrying BBC World coverage once the Pontiff passes.

I'll have coverage off and on during the weekend, and will do a streaming link list once coverage kicks in.

Posted by mhking at April 2, 2005 07:59 AM

Pope John Paul 2 died 3 hours ago.

Not religious but a very very sad day for the world whatever your affiliation. Of the three men responsible for the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe only Gorbachev remains.

A great, honest and devout man the world will sorely miss.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at April 2, 2005 05:42 PM
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