Thursday, April 20, 2006

Crews control

You heard it here first. There is no such thing as a firefighter, paramedic, or EMT anymore. Well, that's if you watch local news. We've packed those individual jobs into one word: crews.

WNEP: Crews spread were thin as brush fires flared up...
WBRE: ...while waiting for emergency crews.
WYOU: It took emergency crews nearly an hour...

Call me a stickler for good writing, but "crews" is a word that says "We didn't bother to see if they were firefighters, paramedics, or police officers." It's much like the word "officials," which also gives no clue as to who said it.

However, since this is brush fire season, I fully expect to hear "crews" come out of every anchor's mouth at least three times in a newscast. It's no surprise. All three station in this market have trouble writing clearly. WNEP is the worst, and WBRE and WYOU seem to be catching up.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WNEP writers make an art out of writing without verbs and tacking "ing" on just about everything to make you think they use verbs. What you get is awkward structure. The stories also have different and conflicting "facts" on the same stories from newscast to newscast. Who knows which one is correct?

WNEP used to be more accurate and have stories you could understand. The people who used to proof scripts must have quit or been eliminated by budget cuts.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WNEP has had so many "corrections" lately that I'm beginning to expect them, like a nightly "feature."

By the way, is a "bad" accident one that was poorly done? That's one of my favorites, like fingernails on a chalkboard.

From the "Talkback" segment where your quote is only used if it meshes with the webmaster's opinion to the overall poor reporting, WNEP is quickly evolving into competition for WYOU and WBRE. The fall from excellence is long and pitiful.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must be like the newspaper, they also seem to count on the fact that no one is paying close attention.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favortie buzz word nowadays is "sparked." What "sparked" the blaze; officials don't know what "sparked" the inferno, blah, blah, blah. Where did "sparked" come from? Hey, it sure as hell ain't a "firefighter" term, right? How about "...turned up missing?" If you turned up, you ain't missing. There are times when being in this business is embarrassing.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True Story: A few years ago... a state police fax came over, fatal accident, producer wrote up what is called a "reader". I read over the story ahead of time before hitting the anchor chair, and I JUST happened to notice the name on the report... the producer used the victim's first and middle name, and then called it quits... meaning the middle name was almost read on the air as the poor guy's last name.

With that in mind, I started checking other "scripts" or news stories, and EIGHT times, the time frame was incorrect. Example: What was said on friday night was something like, "Earlier today"... and the script was not changed to "yesterday" to reflect that this was now Saturday morning.

Bottom line? Young writers, lazy writers... a little of both run wild in this market. There are just too many people hired with no experience. Is this now a "starter market"????

And if you are one of those news writers, and you think this does not apply to you... how many times have you ever typed out... "No word yet on what started that fire in Luzerne County".

While it is not a problem the first three times you use it in the same newscast ~ but when EVERY fire, traffic mishap, or industrial accident you write ends with such a phrase, you have to ask yourself why you are marching in the lazy news writer parade.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

When I first started in radio, we had a ND who came up with a pretty good idea for freshening up news copy. We came into work one day and there on the typewriters were notes: "What's the right now angle on the story?"

For the most part, nobody "was" doing anything; people "are" doing something. I didn't write a story about Miss Pennsyltucky being crowned Miss America last night, etc, but that Miss Penn is enjoying her first day as ... etc. We had nothing new, but at least it sounded new.

For the benefit of the station that's essentially reading the CV on it's 11:00, at least punch up the copy a bit and make it sound fresh. It's live; let the newspaper(s) use the past tense.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:41 poster:
"No word yet on what started that Luzerne County fire." Maybe we shouldn't just ask producers how many times they've written that "lazy" line...How about asking every single anchor at WNEP they've read that? Every time I hear a story from them...the script always ends with the same line (with different facts). Maybe the anchors there should start asking themselves how many times they recite that line like a bunch of zombies????? It almost looks mechanical.. They should start re-writing if it sounds redundant script afer script.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's 16's motivation? They could slap together the most half-assed newscast you ever saw and what difference would it make?

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people are such dorks. Seriously.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No word yet on what started that Luzerne County fire."

Two anchors rubbing scripts together.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Poster 2:16 sez:
You people are such dorks. Seriously.

No word yet on what that poster in X County meant by his comments.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Two anchors rubbing scripts together?"

Scott and Julie?

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people are such dorks. Seriously.

Could be. But then what kind of a moron are you for visiting this blog over and over and over?

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate the use of "white stuff" to describe snow. One WNEP anchor ref. to rain as "the wet stuff."

2:57 PM  

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