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March 23
Law's words frame new play

March 2
Wary Catholics return to church

January 25, 2004
Churches report attendance up

January 4, 2004
Dot parish struggles to survive

December 28
Hudson fill-in priest welcomed

December 12
Law prays daily for diocese

November 22
Assignment for Law expected

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Policies on VOTF reconsidered

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Crisis issues in church's future

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Meeting ban at parish is lifted

August 4
O'Malley given warm welcome

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Lawmakers see shades of gray

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An angry protest, and prayers
Voices of protest and support
Three in crowd bound in hope
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Lay group to engage O'Malley

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Many outraged after AG's report

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Law to skip bishop installation

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O'Malley invites Law, victims

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Bishops seek private opinions

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

Channel 4 was alone in cutting back on coverage

By Suzanne C. Ryan, Globe Staff, 12/14/2002

 About Cardinal Law
Career timeline: Priest to cardinal
Changing statements on abuse
Coverage of his career in Boston

 Photo gallery
Photo gallery: Cardinal Law through the years
Cardinal Law through the years

 Official statements
Cardinal Law on his resignation
Groups, officials, clergy react

 Related stories
The resignation
Law steps down, pope accepts
Scandal eclipses a long record
In cardinal's final days, a firestorm
Admission of awareness damning
Rare speed displayed by Rome
Focus moves to Law's deputies
The successor
Pope's choice to receive scrutiny
Lennon called a skilled manager
Memo cited in '90s abuse case
Reaction
Abuse victims react with relief
Catholics cling to hope of rebirth
Priests see sadness and hope
Many Latinos find foregiveness
Only Ch. 4 cut back coverage
Investigations
Law deposition may be on hold
Archdiocese faces 'mess' in court
Scandal's impact
Abuse patterns found nationwide
Around world, scandal takes toll
Opinion
Editorial: The cardinal's departure
Op-ed: Law captain of his own fall

 Timeline
A tumultuous year for archdiocese

 Message board
Boston.com readers react to Cardinal Bernard Law's resignation.
Read messages

It was a historic news day for the Catholic Church and the city of Boston yesterday. Which is why some viewers tuning into WBZ-TV (Channel 4) in late morning were perplexed to find the station broadcasting mundane programming like ''The Price Is Right.''

Its competitors, meanwhile, were airing continuous coverage of citywide reaction to Cardinal Law's resignation, from a teary press conference with reported victim Christopher Fulchino to expressions of hope from Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who spoke at a news conference in Washington.

WBZ's decision to air regular programming came after the station had broadcast 31/2 hours of coverage, beginning around 6 a.m. when the story broke, said news director Peter Brown. The station also had sent reporter Peg Rusconi to Rome, and it had a special report at 4 p.m. yesterday.

''The question is, `What more do you have to say?''' Brown said. ''For us, we felt we had reported the story ... and we were getting into repeat mode. We moved on to produce a well-rounded noon newscast.''

But for a local story of such importance, some in the industry said Channel 4 was premature in cutting off its coverage.

''It's a day of venting,'' said Jim Thistle, director of the broadcast journalism program at Boston University. ''If that's what's going on and you're a station with live capability, that's what you cover.''

To be sure, there was little footage of Cardinal Law available, other than a brief clip from Rome of him meeting with the pope. Auxiliary Bishop Richard Lennon, named to run the diocese temporarily, was not giving interviews.

Still, Paul La Camera, general manager at WCVB-TV (Channel 5), said it was a ''no-brainer'' for him to schedule nonstop coverage from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. ''This is one of the most important stories to hit this town in a generation.'' Channel 5 also aired a one-hour news special last night at 7.

WHDH-TV (Channel 7) also had coverage from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then again beginning at 4. It aired a 30-minute special at 7:30 and expanded its 11 p.m. newscast to one hour. Reporter Victoria Block has been in Rome since Wednesday. Likewise, NECN was on the story continuously from 5:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Of all the stations, Channel 7 stood out as the most aggressive in sending crews throughout the city to capture reaction. The station also interviewed former co-workers of Law in Mississippi and Missouri in an effort to profile the cardinal's early career. ''Channel 7 was everywhere,'' said Thistle.

Perhaps the most moving moments yesterday came when the Fulchino family appeared at a downtown news conference to speak just after noon.

Tom Fulchino said that 40 years ago he was abused by a priest, and years later, his son Christopher was abused as well.

''This is a mixed-feeling kind of day,'' the elder father said. Wiping away tears, the son added, ''I'm glad this day has finally come.'' Losing his composure, he then fell into his father's arms.

This story ran on page A17 of the Boston Globe on 12/14/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


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