Channeling history

Some of the ways - and there are many - to watch today's events weren't available in the past

Obama's Inauguration

January 20, 2009|By Jill Rosen and Chris Kaltenbach | Jill Rosen and Chris Kaltenbach and, and

When Barack Obama puts his hand today on the velvet cover of Abraham Lincoln's Bible to take the solemn oath of office, never before in the history of the presidency will so many people bear witness.

As Harry Truman was sworn in on a brisk morning 60 years ago, television cameras were there, allowing, for the first time, people across the nation and in other countries to watch grainy, black-and-white footage.

In 1997, at Bill Clinton's inauguration, live video streamed over the Internet - though few people had access to it. Today, with interest in Obama at an all-but-unprecedented fever pitch and with more people than ever having the ability to tune into the ceremony live from their office computers or from their iPhones as they run errands or from dozens of TV and radio outlets, viewership will be at an all-time high.

People who want to can immerse themselves in inaugural news, commentary, video and whiz-bang technological gadgetry from dawn to dusk. Finding coverage of a wide variety won't be a problem. Choosing which to tune to might. Just be flexible with the start times. The day's events will be historic, not necessarily prompt.



The Early Show will broadcast live from Washington and then Katie Couric will anchor coverage which will run live from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Couric will anchor a one-hour special, Change and Challenge: The Inauguration of Barack Obama. The show will trace Obama's road to the presidency and consider his role as the country's first black president.


7 a.m.: Live coverage begins with a three-hour Good Morning America broadcast from the Library of Congress.

10 a.m.: Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor coverage of Obama's swearing-in ceremony and inaugural parade from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue. Reporters will be stationed to get reaction across the country and the world - including in Kenya, Obama's ancestral home.

8 p.m.: The network will be live for the first event of inauguration evening, the president's Neighborhood Inaugural Ball, to showcase the Obamas' first dance of the night, the president's initial speech of the evening, and performances and appearances by musicians and celebrities.

10 p.m.: Gibson, Sawyer and Stephanopoulos will anchor A Moment in History: The Inauguration of Barack Obama. This program will cut live to inaugural balls and track the president and first lady as they celebrate in Washington.


The network's coverage opens this morning with Today broadcasting live from Washington, with each of the four anchors taking in a different D.C. vantage point. Brian Williams will anchor the reports beginning at 10:30 a.m. A live one-hour special at 10 p.m. will feature the inaugural galas.


11 a.m.: The Newshour's Jim Lehrer will anchor live coverage of the inauguration, including Obama's arrival at the White House, the church service and the inaugural address, running until 2 p.m. Joining Lehrer will be a panel of political analysts and historians, including Mark Shields, David Brooks, University of New Hampshire professor Ellen Fitzpatrick, Brandeis University professor Peniel Joseph and National Review senior editor Richard Brookhiser.

In addition, the Online Newshour ( will feature live, streaming video of the Newshour's coverage, plus maps, historical timelines and forums where questions can be submitted to the Newshour panel. There will also be photo and text updates via Twitter and Flickr.

7:30 p.m.: MPT, Channels 22 and 67, will air a special edition of Direct Connection, with analysis of the day's events from Herbert Smith, professor of political science at McDaniel College, and Richard Vatz, professor of rhetoric at Towson University. There will also be live reports from one of the inaugural balls in Washington.



10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: The channel will broadcast live from the National Mall as Obama is sworn in. Coverage will continue from the mall into primetime, with Hardball with Chris Matthews, Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show.


5 a.m.: Live coverage begins with an edition of American Morning broadcast live from Capitol Hill. At 10 a.m., the network's headquarters moves to the Newseum with Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper. Correspondent John King will use CNN's "magic wall" technology from inside the Newseum to demonstrate how traffic and crowds are building in Washington.

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.: The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer will feature live coverage of the parade.

7 p.m. to midnight: Campbell Brown and Cooper will anchor live coverage of 10 inaugural balls.

Midnight to 1 a.m.: Larry King will conclude the network's coverage with an inauguration edition of his show.

Fox News Channel:

6 a.m.: Live coverage begins with Fox & Friends; at 8:30 a.m., Bret Baier and Shepard Smith will begin broadcasting from the Newseum.

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