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To Rome with microphone - why are so many local TV news anchors covering the conclave?

by AirTalk®

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Cardinals gathered in Vatican City on Monday, a day before the papal selection process known as the conclave begins. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Not that anybody needs a good excuse to go to Rome, but this week is an especially crowded one in Vatican City as journalists flock to St. Peter's Square to pontificate on the selection of the next pope.  And as Kevin Roderick noted in LAObserved, local news outlets who tend to give short shrift to Sacramento politics seem to be especially well-represented there.  Channel 2, KCAL 9, NBC 4, KTLA 5 and ABC 7 all have reporters on the scene.  

While waiting for the white smoke they can offer little but local color, speculation and the occasional cardinal sighting.  So why the breathless, minute-to-minute coverage of what is, so far, a non-story?

 Is this the best use of resources for our local news stations?  With plenty of national and international journalists filing pretty much the exact same story, do we really need to see  hometown talking heads in front of the Vatican? Are they ignoring local stories they should be covering instead?

Todd Mokhtari, Vice President of News, NBC 4

Kelly McBride, Senior Faculty, Ethics, Reporting & Writing, The Poynter Institute

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