Channel 4 follows Najibullah Zazi to New York City

There was something strange about last night's report by Channel 4's Rick Sallinger about terror-suspect Najibullah Zazi. While his counterparts at other local TV-news outlets offered their updates from the comfort of their home studios, Sallinger was actually in New York City, trudging through Zazi's old apartment building and being berated by his former neighbors.

Once upon a time, this kind of coverage wouldn't have been unusual: Stations and newspapers regularly sent correspondents on the road if the story was big enough -- which the Zazi plot most certainly is. But as documented in a May 2008 Message column, falling profits and shrinking budgets have made long-distance travel a rarity except for the largest of sporting events, like the Super Bowl. Guess that makes Zazi's arraignment today the Super Bowl of terrorism. Hope we win.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts