TV News: The Sky's the Limit

Using satellites and other technology, local television news operations are boosting profits and bypassing the networks

For Dan Casey, it was the story of a lifetime. A television cameraman for WSB-TV, the Atlanta affiliate of ABC, Casey narrowly escaped death last week as a Georgia tornado flattened his mobile broadcasting van. Casey's tape of the tornado was dynamite. Alerted that evening by WSB that the story was being transmitted by satellite, ABC News decided to use the gripping footage as its lead on Nightline. By the time it did, however, thousands of viewers had already seen Casey's emotional report on Cable News Network, an ABC rival.

Much the same humiliation befell NBC's network news operation after last...

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