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Channel 4 News does the best job covering Flight 3407 tragedy

It quickly became apparent Thursday night that the most interesting place to go for local TV coverage of the tragic crash of Flight 3407 was Channel 4 News.

WIVB-TV's news team provided some of the best, emotional work Thursday night and Friday morning.

Much of Channel 4's work was so good that you could almost forgive it for airing some of the worst speculation about the cause of the crash and for erroneously reporting that no one in the house where the plane crashed was injured.

Despite its relative shorter staff, Channel 7 did a decent job, too.

The most disappointing coverage came from Channel 2, which heavily relied on phone interviews with witnesses and video from the Internet site, Skype.

Channel 2 tried to recover Friday by staying on for hours to cover the continuing story and provide an outlet for grief.

It is tragic times like this that local TV reports the news and also serves as a communal gathering place for people to deal with their emotions.

Channel 4 reporter Lisa Flynn did one of the first emotional stories Thursday night, interviewing a man, Chris Kausner, who realized his 24-year-old sister, Ellyce was on the flight. Flynn appeared to be holding back tears after she said that Kausner had to tell his young boys what had happened to their aunt.

The magnitude of the crash wasn't apparent at first Thursday night as there had been reports that it was a small plane that crashed, which suggested a limited numbers of passengers rather than the 49 aboard on a commercial airliner.

When County Executive Chris Collins and other local officials had their news conference after midnight, much of the erroneous speculation was cleared up.

Before that, the stations were bound to speculate. Channel 7 anchor Keith Radford, who is an expert on aviation, used his expertise to speculate on several details about the plane, some of them interesting. Radford also noted that the plane crash was the first one in Buffalo of this magnitude.

"This is so foreign to us," said Radford. "This is the first time there has been any major airline crash in Buffalo. Many times I've thought about how fortunate we've been."

Channel 7 was the first to leave local coverage Friday morning, which enabled ABC's "Good Morning America" to be the only broadcast network program seen here.

The national perspective was welcome since local coverage was becoming so repetitive. "GMA" reporter Chris Cuomo had an interview with Chris Kausner and another sister, Laura, about the death of their sister, Ellyce.

The CBS coverage, reported by Western New York native Jeff Glor, didn't air on Channel 4. Glor, who this week was named the new Saturday anchor of the CBS Evening News, will anchor from here tonight on his first newscast in his new role.

The newscast airs on WNLO-Channel 23. Naturally, the cable news channels were also on the national story, with CNN covering it for hours.

And as details came in about some of the prominent people who were on the flight, you can be sure that local and national TV will be extensively reporting on all the heartbreaking stories about the victims and their families this weekend.

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com

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