FOX NEWSMEN KIDNAPPED IN GAZA
Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and his cameraman, Olaf Wiig, were abducted by masked Palestinian gunmen in Gaza City Monday. The men reportedly were sitting in an SUV marked "TV" near the headquarters of the Palestinian security service, along with a driver, an interpreter and one other man. The other three were released, according to the London Daily Telegraph. The kidnapping of reporters is becoming increasingly common in the area, but all those who have heretofore been abducted in Gaza have been released, according to Joel Campagna of the Committee to Protect Journalists. The organization's director, Joel Simon, issued a statement calling for the release of Centanni and Wiig. "These are well established journalists who are not participants in the conflict. They should be treated accordingly and freed," Simon said. Wiig's wife, Anita McNaught, a newscaster for the BBC, told the Associated Press that negotiations between Fox News and the Palestinian Authority for the release of the men have already begun. "Fox News are vastly experienced on the ground there, so they have all the contacts they need," McNaught said.
LONDON AIRPORT CLOSURE -- A MEDIA EVENT?
Anti-war blogs on Monday said that an NBC report suggested that the arrest of the suspected plane bombers in England and the subsequent shutting down of British airports may have been contrived for maximum political show in the news media. The network, citing unnamed U.K. officials knowledgeable about the case, said that contrary to statements made by officials over the weekend, the attacks were not imminent; no plane tickets had been purchased by the suspects; some hadn't even applied for passports. (British police confirmed Monday that there was no truth to earlier reports that airline tickets had been found at the residences of the suspects.) The sources also said that British authorities had wanted to continue to run surveillance on the suspects but that Washington pressured them to move in quickly. The blog Truthdig asked why, "if the attacks weren't imminent, were so many flights canceled -- as though the suspects were actually at the airport, waiting at the gates? And why, if the attacks weren't imminent, did it all of a sudden become too dangerous to allow people to bring water bottles on planes?"
COURIC: LOOK FOR MORE IN-DEPTH COVERAGE WHEN SHE TAKES OVER
Four weeks before taking over the anchor's desk on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric said that she expects that the major change in the news program will be an effort to provide more in-depth coverage of major stories. "We can give people a deeper understanding" of the news, Couric said Monday during a meeting with a group of reporters at CBS News's New York headquarters. She said that on her recent meetings with focus groups in six cities, viewers told her they wanted the news program to be expanded to one hour -- something that Walter Cronkite pumped for two decades ago. (Local stations opposed it.) Couric indicated that there were no plans for a separate webcast of the news program or a daily blog. "I think they are about No. 6 on my to-do list after going to the grocery store," she quipped. She added later, "I think it's great to have some kind of anchor presence on the Web, but I'll be doing that with a variety of correspondents." Several times during the news conference, Couric attempted to dampen expectations of her takeover, at one point remarking, "I don't expect there to be a huge ratings surge, and I'm honestly not focused on that." She also expressed concerns about how critics would assess her work, saying "If you can persuade the TV critic community that Katie's going to start out slow, but, gosh, she's got a big learning curve, maybe they will be less ready to condemn."
ON-DEMAND TV SHOWS TO BE OFFERED IN HOTELS
On Command, the company that provides pay-TV movies in hotel rooms, said Monday that it will begin providing "on demand" primetime TV shows produced by NBC Universal as well, just hours after they are originally broadcast. They include Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Office, Monk, and Battlestar Galactica. In a statement, Tad Walden, senior vice president of marketing and programming for On Command, said, "Hectic travel schedules no longer have to be a reason for missing some of the best television programming and this agreement with NBC Universal gives our guests more options to catch their favorite shows in the convenience and comfort of their own rooms."