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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) 20 years ago tonight, Western New York and the world was riveted by the slow-speed pursuit of OJ Simpson. As we look back, a former TV news director talks about how it changed media coverage of live events.
"When the OJ chase came along, it gave viewers the ability to see it unravel live," says Tim Clark of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission and former Channel 7 news director. "It really defined what news operations can do now and it kept viewers riveted to the sets."
Clark says live news coverage benefits the news consumer who prefers information as it happens, but there is a checks and balances needed. "Controversy surrounding some of the live events, first of all, and there has to be a gatekeeper who can basically decide analyze and determine this is worth breaking into programming to show you," says Clark.
Clark says there's an inherent risk in live coverage. "If something had gone wrong in the OJ chase where he had an accident or did something to himself, that's the risk because you don't want to show that kind of graphic reality to the people at home," notes Clark.