On Wednesday morning, CNN went into rolling breaking news coverage. The story, however, involved CNN. The Time Warner Center, the headquarters of WarnerMedia and the home of CNN’s New York bureau, was evacuated on Wednesday following a “suspicious package” that was delivered to the building.
CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto was airing live and discussing suspicious packages that had been sent to the homes of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama when an alarm could be faintly heard in the background as the anchors were talking. They were joined via Skype by Tom Fuentes, CNN’s law enforcement analyst, who commented on that story, and when he was done Harlow and Sciutto jumped in to say that the alarm was indeed going off and that they had to evacuate. As they said this, newsroom employees could be seen evacuating in the background. CNN Newsroom then went to commercial.
Here’s the moment CNN had to handoff to DC and evacuate Time Warner Center in New York pic.twitter.com/TUtnWrss9z
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) October 24, 2018
Once the commercial break was done, Rene Marsh in Washington took over anchoring. As of publication, CNN’s New York bureau was the only bureau to receive a suspicious package. Shimon Prokupecz, CNN’s crime and justice reporter, reported on the event. Sciutto and Harlow were eventually able to rejoin the broadcast by calling into the show on their cell phones. Marsh then handed over anchoring duties to Wolf Blitzer, also in Washington.
Athena Jones, a CNN correspondent based in New York, was able to broadcast with an actual microphone and a stronger video quality. Around 11 AM, Kate Bolduan started effectively anchoring the continuing coverage using her smartphone and earbuds. Bolduan’s At This Hour begins airing at 11 and Bolduan talked to the correspondents and reporters. As of publication, CNN did not explain why and how Bolduan anchored her show while Sciutto and Harlow used Blitzer for the remaining.
Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN Worldwide, said in a note to New York employees that the evacuation was due to “a suspicious package having been received in the mailroom.” He stated that they “are also checking all bureaus around the world, out of a complete abundance of caution.”
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “We condemn the attempted attacks against fmr Pres Obama, the Clintons, @CNN & others. These cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country. Grateful for swift response of @SecretService, @FBI & local law enforcement. Those responsible will be brought to justice.”
Throughout the evacuation, there was an unmistakable image: CNN continued to report and was able to seamlessly hand off to different locations in spite of the package.