Sunday, April 23, 2006

Not quite live

Did WNEP learn anything from the VNR fiasco? Probably not, according to this Talkback 16 poster, who says WNEP passed off a look-live as a live report. Even anchorman Mike Lewis played along as if it was live.

For those who don't know, a look-live is a reporter standup or package that appears to be live, but is not. If you don't see a "LIVE" graphic anywhere, then you know the whole thing has been pre-recorded and edited. Though I think look-lives are stupid, there's nothing unethical about it, provided it's not passed off as being live.

And if that poster is right, did WNEP pull another one over on its viewers? I didn't see the story in question, so hopefully someone can shed light on things. But after the whole "fake news" brouhaha, one would think WNEP would be keeping a sharper eye on its product.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

for the 89th time...


WNEP could produce the most gawd-awful newscast in history, worse than a 6th grade A-V club. And what would happen? How would this knock them down? There'd be a few people saying "You guys really messed up tonight" followed by dozens more saying "we love you anyway" and give us more Ryan Leckey. They have no need for proofreading, or quality control or ethics management.

It'll take years of these mistakes to get 16 to fall, especially when the baboons at nexstar can't take any advantage of it now

12:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Anderson Cooper does (and Aaron Brown did) inform viewers that a given interview was recorded earlier. It took nothing away from the piece, but enhanced their reputations as being honest with the viewers even when they could have gotten away with it.

"We did this earlier" is certainly no slur on the station's newsgathering and/or interviewing efforts.

Then there's the matter of the "correspondents" who have a station identifier under their standup, and every effort made to have viewers think it's an exclusive feed to this outlet. It gets obvious when there is a patchcord fade at "This is Joe Hairspray reporting"cut. "Thank you, Joe. Did we cut off the end of your sentence?"

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This deserves some attention:

In a media world where 24/7, HDTV and broadband is what it's all about, and lower saleries and jobs being cut are coming up more and more often, this won't be the last of look-lives in NEPA. They've happened before, usually unnoticed, but I believe this is the future of broadcast journalism.

Take for example News 10 Now in Syracuse NY, or News 8 Austin in Texas. These are just two of a growing number of 24/7 local news networks popping up across the nation, run by Time Warner. They specialize in local news around the clock, and utilize bureaus, having one in nearly every county of the viewing area.

These networks do have live trucks, and do go live, but as Beale has mentioned, look-live reporting has become an everyday way of life. Lets face it, how many times can a crew go live for a 24/7 news network, even if the story is 'live worthy' for 14 hours? The reporters cover the story, edit it in the truck, and send it back to the station, as a look-live. Usually, they start and end with a 'look live' stand up that is generic, so they can use it over and over until the story develops, and can be updated. The reports use "reporting on the scene in...". Unless they are live, they don't use 'live'. For look-lives, they even have an "on the scene" graphic, nearly identical to the 'live' graphic. But, they don't use live, and they never say live, unless it is.

With all of WNEP's resources, why did this happen. If WNEP, WYOU or WBRE wants to start utilizing look-live reports, fine. But DON'T pass them off as live. That is simply beyond unethical. A journalist's job is to keep the community informed of true stories happening in their town. I don't believe pulling off stunts like airing ad-promos as news and airing pre-recorded stories as 'live, on the scene' shots is in our job description outline.

And what bothers me about this is WNEP knew about this story with plenty of notice. For the love-of-God, they sponsored the event! They went live at 6, but they couldn't at least slap an edited story together for the 11? I doubt WNEP had a huge issue to deal with before the 11, and I don't remember any huge, catastrophic story breaking that night. In my opinion, there was no excuse for this to happen?

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The practice of "look-live" is absurd, unethical, and just plain wrong. After twenty years in the business, hearing the term "look-Live" still feels like someone poking me in the eye with a sharp stick. It's either live or it isn't live, case closed.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will someone at WNEP let us know how this once top notch news operation has fallen so far in a matter of months?

The current News Director has been in the job for quite a few years. Even when News Directors came and went every year or two, the product at WNEP always remained high quality.

It's difficult to believe the whole staff decided to shut down their brains at the same time. Please, what happened?

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 50 also does the look-live thing occasionally. 16 rarely does it, and it was Jake, for God's sake, --the POL guy---not a member of the news department. don't start tearing 16 down over this, like it's another VNR-Jill Garrett scandal. It's not.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why has this become a bash WNEP blog? It's getting a little old. WYOU/WBRE have done their share of look-lives in the past(example: Dustin Briggs trial) but I don't see anyone calling them out. This was the Black & Blue Ball. Can anyone name a time when a WNEP REPORTER did a look-live for an actual news event? I can't. You can continue to trash NW16 all you want...bottom line is it's a dominant #1, it's the best place to work (in this market), and its product is better than the competition (not perfect...but better). Any of the posters bashing the place would jump ship to work at 16 Montage Mountain Road in a second if given the chance. Just my take on things.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

This isn't a "BASH WNEP RAWR" blog. I've criticized all three stations equally.

I brought this up because it sounded fishy. And though it wasn't a reporter who did it, I still think it's fishy that Mike Lewis played along as if it was live.

When the other two stations do it, I'll criticize them as well.

If it's pro-WNEP fare you want, go check out the Talkback 16 message board.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've criticized all three stations equally.

That seems to be a bit of a stretch.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all posters....I'm sure that's EXACTLY what all the viewers were thinking!!! Goofs!!! Viewers have more going on in their lives than you people who sit around and analyze each and every tidbit of a newscast. Get off your couches, fatsos!!!

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, It would be hard for viewers not to notice it. It was very unnatural, and since it was basically the live report at 6, it just didn't toss over right at all. Its one thing to do look lives, and say on the scene, because they are on the scene. For WNEP to LIE, yes LIE. That report was not live, yet his tag was reporting live at the..., that just doesn't look that great. Plus, add on Mike Stevens who plays along with it like he is live. When you say stuff that isn't the truth, and its more than obvious, it sends out a bad signal. Just 'cause a crew uses a mast cam at a car crash, your not going to say "heres a view live from our chopper..." Please, viewers do notice, and it is a big deal. For a source of public info that we turn to, these latest potholes WNEP has been hitting hasen't gone unnoticed.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those who wonder why WNEP is getting bashed.....

1. When you're watched by nearly everyone with a tv in the area, people notice when things are wrong or you do something that's questionable. When things go wrong at WBRE/WYOU, there are so few viewers it's pretty much a secret.

2. WNEP has been known for decades as the place that breaks big stories, covers major spot news better than the competition, makes fewer factual errors and has the highest of ethical standards. Several incidents in just a matter of months suggest WNEP isn't what it once was.

None of this should lead people to think WNEP isn't still a powerhouse. Unfortunately, the current management is either leading the reputation downslide or it's not on top of the operation enough to catch these embarrassing situations before they cause damage.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To do a "look-live" is one thing, to play along as if it were actually live is another thing. All of the stations do them, some don't pass them off as live though.

And to the commenter who keeps saying "channel 50". Would you please use call letters? Everyone gets WNEP,WYOU and WBRE on different channels. I have no idea which station you are talking about and therefore have no idea who to laugh at.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are you posters? So many posts recently show you people have no idea what it's like to work in a newsroom, in a newsroom in scranton and/or in a newsroom in 2006. There is NOTHING wrong with a look-live as long as it doesn't have a "live bug" or is tossed to as "live" by the anchors. I didn't see this specific example, so I'm not sure what happened. The only difference between look-lives and straight pkgs is the reporter is on the front and back end of the insert. What's the big deal (again... as long as it's not called live on the air)?!?!

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and just a note to those of you who mentioned how viewers are clueless morons who only chant "We want Ryan Leckey!"

Yes, talkback is full of the usual, "I think I'm in love with Ryan Leckey..." and "WNEP is so #1", but consider this. I have had much more luck having my replies posted when I use constructive criticism. If you just blatently go off bashing WNEP for it's mistakes, do you think it will be posted. Mark does a good job. No station is going to set up a forum for people to only bash the station. I've just learned that when you want to be heard, you're much better off slipping a comment in it. I think that if the poster wrote "WNEP blows" rather than, "I'm disappointed", the post would have never made it online in the future.

Remember, your viewers aren't clueless. Yes, some have no idea what is going on and couldn't catch a station's biggest mistake of the year. But a majority are educated, and are watching with a close eye. Don't underestimate them, because when you least expect it, it will surely come back and bite you in the bunion.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 1:40pm poster says the report was tagged off as "live." It that's true, this is not a discussion of look lives.

I agree with 1:40pm, that makes the presentation an outright lie. On top of the fake news VNR issue and some other recent embarrassments, WNEP can't seem to get out of the way of its own poor judgment.

WNEP's owner is the New York Times Company. Take a look at one of the Core Values of the company:

"Content of the highest quality and integrity-This is the basis for our reputation and the means by which we fulfill the public trust and our customers' expectations."

Someone should be held responsible. I wouldn't want the person who okayed the fake live story to continue working in a newsroom.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think someone's just a little jealous of Mr. Leckey.......

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think WNEP's apparent drop in quality while still remaining above the quality of the competition speaks to management that thinks it can save money and still retain the market.

The truly frustrating part of this is that neither WYOU or WBRE have risen to the challenge. Not that I expect them to.

Regarding the WNEP web "Talkback" feature- it's a lovefest. If you have a bubblegum comment, it will be posted. If you have anything controversial or that questions anything at WNEP, from stories to content and beyond, you will not be posted.

Why bother even going there. I don't. Fluff like that doesn't deserve eyeballs. I just hope Sowers doesn't come down with Diabetes from all that sugar.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Dear 3:06pm

And to the commenter who keeps saying "channel 50". Would you please use call letters? Everyone gets WNEP,WYOU and WBRE on different channels. I have no idea which station you are talking about and therefore have no idea who to laugh at.

* * *

We all use "Channel 50" to indicate the obvious similarities between 28 + 22 (=50). It's not a cable setting; just a shorthand for the common video and some common news programs.

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

50 is what some call WBRE/WYOU. 22+28=50.

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look-lives are a good thing...

Especially when you can't hit a microwave receiver because of distance or obstruction --or-- because of lightning.

In large markets, it's not uncommon to see one reporter after another presenting a look-live because of thunderstorms rolling through the region.

The common anchor toss is So-and-So reporter is in Scranton tonight with the story... No "live" mentioned, no name-toss.

If 16 played "we'll pull one over you" and fake-tossed to a tape, then too bad. It's their mistake. Sounds like a green producer to me.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:38 poster "Any of the posters bashing the place would jump ship to work at 16 Montage Mountain Road in a second..."

I'm a reporter at the competition and 16 Montage Mountain Road is the last place you would ever find me working.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading the comments and some of you are correct. The problem is management, specifically TOP management, "Clueless Lou" and her puppet "Little Lou Abalou". C-Lou walks around like her head is in a blender, and unfortunately you never know what you're going to end up with. C-Lou, we know you're reading this. Just let your people do what they do best. Keep your nose out of the things you have no "clue" about. Go socialize at the country club and leave everyone alone!

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For "The News Station", I can say things are heading down hill, FAST. A few friends out of no-where have been asking me whats up with 16, so many on air problems, just things don't seem as smooth as they used to be. All I can say is, I always felt lucky growing up in a market with such a prestigious station. Now, well, I don't know. I just hope they can turn the boat around before things start getting TOO out of hand.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably because you are Totally clueless instead of half clueless

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the 3:38 p.m. poster: As someone who has worked in a NEPA newsroom (albeit not in 2006): I couldn't disagree more with your claim that look-lives are OK as long as the word "live" does not appear and is not uttered. You're splitting hairs and playing right up to the edge of the rules.

It's not a big thing, but as my wife keeps telling me, the little things are the big things. I am impressed when I see a look-live report and hear the anchor follow with a "and that report from Newswatch X staffer John Doe was made earlier this evening." It's a sign of class and of professionalism.

Look-lives, which are often followed with a "thanks, Fred" from the anchor, are cheap.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone posted:
Regarding the WNEP web "Talkback" feature- it's a lovefest. If you have a bubblegum comment, it will be posted. If you have anything controversial or that questions anything at WNEP, from stories to content and beyond, you will not be posted.

Why bother even going there. I don't. Fluff like that doesn't deserve eyeballs. I just hope Sowers doesn't come down with Diabetes from all that sugar.

Please rewind: It was a talkback call that started the ball rolling on the VNR mess. I know someone who works there and management listens to the talkback calls. They are taken seriously.

11:55 AM  

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