Thursday, November 10, 2005

The midday roundup

Let's compare today's noon newscasts from WNEP and WBRE/WYOU's "Pennsylvania Midday."

WNEP
  • Gordon 18-wheeler crash
  • Susquehanna Co. farm fire
  • Broken water main in Pittston
  • Mock terrorism drill
  • Williamsport stabbing
  • Veterans tribute at VA hospital
  • USPS safe driver awards
  • Bird flu
  • Hazelton gift certificates
  • Churches preach anti-smoking message
  • Jordan terrorism

    WBRE/WYOU
  • Jordan terrorism
  • Iraq terrorism
  • Bush Tobyhanna visit preview
  • Bush to award local firefighter
  • Witness recants, couple arrested
  • Williamsport fight
  • Car window breaks

    Call me crazy, but when I watch a local newscast, I want to see local news. I know WBRE/WYOU are making the most of those NBC Newschannel reporters, who provide customized reports to affiliate stations, but throwing the "For Pennsylvania Midday" tag on the end doesn't change things. I can turn on any of the cable news channels, and get my fill of foreign terrorism. Now, let's discuss importance. A woman is driving down the street, when her car windows suddenly breaks. Could it be a rock? A BB? A bullet? TERRORISTS? It's in the first block, so it has to be important!

    Let's head up the road to WNEP. I've always said WNEP tends to favor crime and disaster in their newscasts, and it shows. A truck crash here, a fire there, mock terrorism drills for extra flavor, and more crime in Williamsport! The broken water main at least broke up the monotony. Then it's a mixed bag of local stuff, finished up with a mention of the Jordan terrorism.

    Let's summarize. WBRE/WYOU wouldn't need to rely on NBC Newschannel for filler if they would send photographers and reporters out to, well, cover local stuff! But if they're paying good money for Newschannel, you know they'll use it. And WNEP's hard-on for crimes and disaster continues. How about using those mighty resources to report on something other than the latest crash or fire?
  • 4 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If the attacks had happened this morning I could understand the lead and live shot, but not 24 hours afterwards. Bottom line in looking at both their line-ups, its a slow newsday....

    1:52 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Crashwatch 16 Strikes again. It may be local, but is it important? They need to ask that question "in house" more often.

    11:25 PM  
    Anonymous News Blues said...

    A lot of the stories NW16 covers aren't exactly earth shattering, but lets face it: THERE'S NOT MUCH "NEWS" IN THIS MARKET. Certainly not enough to fill on the newscasts they now have. So if there's a fire, and they can get do it, what do you expect them to do? What would Beale like to see on his or her local newscasts?

    5:30 PM  
    Blogger Howard Beale said...

    A news director once told me how he responded to reporters who told him, "It's a slow news day." He told them there's plenty of stories out there, but they'll have to find them. And that's very true, and with resources like this, there's no such thing as "a slow news day."

    I know very well of the constant deadlines in TV news. As much as I'd like to practice so-called "shoe leather journalism," I often don't have the time to do so. But to paraphrase the Howard Beale, we're constantly shown video of fires and car crashes, as if that's how it's supposed to be.

    What do I want to see in local newscasts? Real stories. Stories with a human face. Stories that actually affect people and make them say, "Gee, I never knew that" or "How can they get away with that?" Stories that tell the viewer why they should care about ATM denial fees, or designer dog breeds, or why 30% of high school freshmen don't graduate in four years.

    Car crashes and fires aren't going anywhere, and sometimes those stories deserve top billing in a newscast. But there's more to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market than people driving into trees and fires that burn down garages.

    There are actual stories are out there waiting to be told. Let's find them.

    11:37 PM  

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