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Harry Smith

TV news juggles two big stories

The strain of covering a crisis on the scale of Hurricane Katrina was apparent yesterday as television networks and cable channels found themselves juggling the breaking news of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's death, which was announced late Saturday night, with nearly round-the-clock reports on the suffering and relief efforts along the Gulf Coast.

News executives' inability to decide which story was more important was apparent yesterday on CBS, NBC and ABC. All three networks are reshaping their news departments after the departures of longtime anchormen Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw, and the death of Peter Jennings.

A vivid snapshot of the dilemma was provided by CBS. At...

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