N.Y. spreadin' the news all around town


If New York ever needed to make its case for being the center of the media universe, today would be Exhibit A.

For the first time in recent history, each state in the tristate area — Connecticut, New York and New Jersey — is holding a primary that will matter, thanks to the wide-open nature of both parties' races and an expanded Super Tuesday. The media industry is gearing up to cover the races from the New York-based news divisions.

If that wasn't enough, Sunday night's heroes the New York Giants will be feted with a ticker-tape parade in downtown Manhattan and a giant celebration across the Hudson River at their Meadowlands home. Add in Fashion Week and a big convention at the Javits Center, and it's all shaping up to be a huge news day.

"It's one of our busiest days since Sept. 11," said Dan Forman, senior vp and news manager at WNBC-TV, NBC's O&O in New York. "It's a big undertaking."

The local stations are spreading out to cover New Jersey and tony southwest Connecticut for Super Tuesday, which also will be heavily covered by the broadcast network news divisions and the cable news stations. ABC, for instance, is devoting its entire primetime to Super Tuesday coverage.

While voting will go on all day and into the early evening, all eyes will be on Lower Manhattan for the Giants' ticker-tape parade in the so-called Canyon of Heroes. The Super Bowl champions and their supporters will start off at 11 a.m. EST at Battery Place and head up Broadway and Chambers Street to City Hall, where they will be honored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Many if not all the New York stations will be providing live coverage of the parade and ceremony, which was scheduled for today because some of the Giants have to leave for Honolulu, where the Pro Bowl will be played Sunday. The local stations will be banding together to cover the event, with five or six pool cameras stationed along the parade route and City Hall Plaza so that the stations can best use their taxed-to-the-limit resources.

WNBC's Forman said that the stations still will have their own cameras at the beginning and end of the site and provide their own coverage. But he said it's a smart way to deploy limited resources.

One hitch, however, is the weather. It will be warm enough — a high of 55 predicted compared with the Feb. 5 average high of 39 degrees in Manhattan — but on-and-off showers are expected, which won't make for good parading. That won't make for good coverage, either, and Forman said the low cloud ceilings make it unlikely that local TV outlets will be able to use their choppers. So on Monday afternoon the stations were working with the NYPD to find a suitable place for a high-angle camera platform.

Then the momentum will move over to the Meadowlands, where the Giants play their home games; the celebration will start at 4 p.m. EST. The late-breaking development, which came up in the late-afternoon Monday, was making it that much more difficult with the coverage plans. Not that anyone was complaining.

"The town doesn't win the Super Bowl every day," Forman said.

Adding to the gridlock in New York is Fashion Week 2008, which has taken on even more of a celebrity feel in this strike-impacted entertainment industry. Fashion Week has drawn a number of celebrities as well as first lady Barbara Bush, who spoke Friday. And the New York International Gift Fair is drawing as many as 45,000 people to the Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side for the semi-annual event.

At least the WGA, which has seen its share of demonstrations in New York since the writers strike began in early November, won't be holding its own giant protest. A guild spokeswoman said Monday that today's pickets will be the regular smaller-scale picket lines that have been up for a while. That's the site of "All My Children" and "The View" from 8:30-10:30 a.m., the studios of "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" from 4-6 p.m. and the 30 Rockefeller Center studio of "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" from 3-5 p.m.