NBC Boston goes ballistic with blizzard 15 box

Boston TV stations were in full winter weather mode over the weekend of Jan. 29, 2022 after much of the northeast got walloped by a major winter storm — and that means it’s time for another round of “box-a-polooza.” 

At first, Boston’s WHDH appeared to come out on top — with a “12 box” style layout fed the the various LED video panels along the back wall of its newsroom set and captured with its jib. 

However, NBC 10 Boston, WBTS (technically licensed to New Hampshire), managed to up that to 15 boxes that showed up in a more traditional fullscreen layout, shown above in a screenshot captured by Universal Hub.

That still doesn’t get anywhere near when an Atlanta station did a 25 box during an oddball winter storm in 2014.

Box layouts like this are a popular way to showcase team coverage of major stories — though they’re more commonly seen with perhaps two to five reporters on screen. 

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Like with most “box” layouts that exceed more than a handful, these were likely “simulated” in the sense that not all the reporters’ images were live feeds.

Although it’s at least theoretically technically possible to create live looks like this thanks to increased use of broadband to send live shots back to the station, bringing in a dozen or so live feeds at once also would have significant logistical challenges (such as trying to get all 12 or 15 reporters to look at the camera at the same time), so often “look live” clips of the reporters are captured and then combined to create the view shown on screen. 

WHDH was using “Storm Force” branding and “Blizzard 2022” branding heavily throughout the weekend, while WBNS used its “First Alert” branding for coverage.

At one point, two WHDH anchors needed a reference to just how much snow 30 inches is — so meteorologist Jeremy Reiner helped out by using what appeared to be a yardstick to measure 30 inches from the top of the anchor desk.

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