Friday, May 12, 2006

Sweeping away sweeps

There is an advantage to the ratings situation here in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: nobody really gives a damn about sweeps. WNEP hasn't lost the ratings war since the 1980s, and WBRE and WYOU don't even subscribe to Nielsen anymore. You, the viewer, benefit from this whenever sweeps rolls around, as you're spared the gamut of "SEX OFFENDERS" or "MYSPACE" or "THE SODA THAT WILL KILL YOUR FAMILY" stories.

Those are the stories that news consultants go ga-ga for, since it's supposed to get the viewer's attention. Does it? Alarmist sweeps stories do nothing but simply fuel ignorance, hysteria, stupidity, or all of the above. Whatever happened to reporting in the public interest? Ferreting out government corruption? Discovering oversights that suck up tax dollars? Exposing abuse in the system? It all got replaced with Myspace stories, apparently.

This market has problems, don't get me wrong, but a lack of hysteria-fueled sweeps pieces is just fine with me. What about the rest of you? What's your take on sweeps?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think sweeps should happen at random times during the year. That way the stations can do those stupid stories and the ratings are based on the quality that they put out all year long rather than when they know sweeps are going on.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

howard, I had a typo in my last post. It should have said "stations CAN'T do those stupid stories" if you could fix that before you post that would be great.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In all honesty, I do not enjoy sweeps in this area. I realize that it's ten times easier to do our jobs without the sweeps hysteria rushing through the newsroom, but it simply isn't the same. I think competition only improves a market, it gives most reporters a reason to actually work and dig deeper into a story past the press release. Heck, in the small town markets bordering this market, I enjoy their newscasts better, simply because there is healthy competition. And this isn't only during sweeps. WYOU/WBRE simply aren't going to work hard to get in the lead, they don't even subscribe to the ratings anymore. And since there is pretty much no threat for WNEP, their sliding downwards. Why would you work your butt off when you know there is no chance in hell that anyone is going to knock you off the 1st place pedestal?

So I do have to disagree, I do realize that there are a lot chessy sweeps features on how MySpace is the root of all evil and "ten things you didn't know about what can explode behind your dishwasher", but where is the competition? Simply put, healthy competition in this market is long gone. WBRE/WYOU will be lucky to send one photog to a deserving story, and WNEP will just, well, not be as good as they were. I think if Nexstar sold one of the stations, everyone, including the left nexstar station would benefit, since there may be a new chance at healthy competition. Don't get me wrong, I like it here, but I ain't stayin here forever.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WNEP hasn't lost the ratings war since the 1980s

Well, no, not quite right. WNEP hasn't lost one since at about 1975. WBRE came close to clipping them(on the 11)a time or two within the the last decade or so, but that's about it.

The insanity today is that WNEP is the only station of the three that measures audience, yet the other two also-rans keep doing sweeps pieces. No small wonder that local news viewership nationwide is in serious decline.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now if the stations could just hold off, even for a day, the "crash-and-burn" leads. And those lawyer-for-a-day featurettes are real stinkers.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the worst kept secrets at WNEP. There are no real sweep reports this time around because they don't have enough staff!
They have everything they can do just to fill the "slots" on a daily basis. They can not afford to let someone go out and dig up a "real" sweeps report.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you have to take in to account that even though WBRE and WYOU don't subscribe to the ratings, many ad agencies do. You will see "sweeps" stories on these stations because regional buys are based on the ratings. How 'bout the badly edited story I saw where Andy M. was in a hotel room when a few of those online predators came to meet their prey?

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweeps reporting isn't unique to this market...I receive the Philly stations and they are doing many of the same types of hype stories...
Can you get bird flu from KFC, the story at 11....

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After decades of never needing those sensationalistic work-in-any-market consultant orginated sweeps stories, WNEP could use them now to fill the news hole.

Whether by design, neglect or circumstance, the current news management should be forever remembered as the regime that took the quality out of 16.

I would love to know what previous news managers think of today's product. They would probably be shocked by what WNEP passes off as responsible and quality work.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How 'bout the badly edited story I saw where Andy M. was in a hotel room when a few of those online predators came to meet their prey? >><<

When I saw the story, I could not help but think that they were just doing what Dateline is doing (over and over I might add). I did not have a problem with it.

HOWEVER... I could not help but shake my head when (after the bad guys were taken down) Andy interviewed the woman producer who helped set up the bad guys.

NOTE TO NEWS BOSSES: It looks very very bad (and lazy) when news people have to interview each other. It stinks of the classic case of creating news and trying to tell people what to think about what they have just seen. Rather than locking the producer in the closet, why not invite REAL PARENTS to these busts, then get THEIR reaction. WBRE should have interviewed real people not each other. (we need another thread just to hear reaction to this sweeps piece).

1:47 AM  

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