Busy weekend ahead

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

February 17, 2012 2:15:42 PM PST
So many things to write about for tonight's 11 p.m. newscast: The eve of Tim Dolan's elevation to Cardinal while a Vatican scandal swirls around the festivities; a weekend of mourning for the family of Whitney Houston, with a private viewing today, a funeral tomorrow and burial on Sunday; and several police shootings that are coming under increasing scrutiny.

But the top of mind for tonight as we prepare our newscast is the sudden and sorrowful death of one of the best war/foreign correspondents of our time.

New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid had been smuggled into Syria to report on the uprising against that country's president. He died from an asthma attack, apparently brought on by an allergic reaction to his guides' horses.

This is a reporter who has been in harm's way - and then some - for years, as he covered "ordinary" people caught in the conflicts that infect the countries of the Middle East. He has faced violent many times, and yet it was asthma that took his life.

Those who knew him talk with such reverence about his reporting, his ability to look at events through the eyes of the people affected by them, and his fearless approach to informing readers.

And to the rest of us Shadid's death should be a reminder of the constant danger journalists face in so many places in the world as they try to shed light on darkness, and force truth out into the open.

I'm just sayin'.

Now to tonight's 11 p.m newscast.

A weekend of mourning for the family of Whitney Houston. A private viewing today, an invitation-only funeral on Saturday at the church where she sang as a child, and a private burial on Sunday. The singer's fans will not be allowed anywhere near the church, and so tonight is their last chance to bring flowers or leave notes or do whatever Whitney Houston fans do at these venues.

We're there with them, at 11. And you can see the funeral service tomorrow on Eyewitness News beginning at noon, or on the web at 7online.

We're also in Rome tonight, on the eve of Tim Dolan's elevation to Cardinal. Today, the New York Archbishop gave the speech of his life to the world's Cardinals, using his well-known humor and his admittedly rusty Italian to offer a serious message in a light-hearted style.

The event tomorrow is taking place with a scandalous cloud overhead. Leaked Vatican documents, and reports of political infighting, financial mismanagement and administrative chaos - that's how the wires are describing the situation at the Vatican.

Maybe it's just the expected drama over the expected politicking for who will become the next Pope. After all, Benedict the 16th is 85, and is reportedly slowing down.

Our Joe Torres is in Vatican City for our coverage. And we will air Dolan's elevation to Cardinal tomorrow beginning at 4:30 a.m. Ken Rosato anchors our coverage.

And our Nina Pineda tonight has the story of a house in Dutchess County - sold against the will of the homeowner - because of an unpaid tax bill. Was the county justified, or was this simply an example of government run amuck? Nina and 7 On Your Side lets you decide, at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports, including the highlights from the Knicks game, where Jeremy Lin and his team go for 8 straight victories. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20's 2-hour special on the life and times of Whitney Houston.


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