Sunday, May 21, 2006

To catch a few more viewers

A few of you have asked about the recent WBRE sweeps piece that was a blatant copy of Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator" ratings ploy. I didn't catch it when it originally aired, but thanks to one tipster, I got to watch it for myself.

Much like Dateline NBC's sensationalist pedophile sting bust, WBRE set up online chats with suspected perverts, and then had them come to a local motel. But when the pedophiles came to play, Andy Mehalshick was there to bust them...or at least do his best Chris Hansen impression while the cops cuffed them. Sadly, there wasn't a camoflague cop hiding in the bushes, like on Dateline. But we did get to speak to the producer who helped set up the sting! Come on, reporters interviewing fellow co-workers? Did someone get inspired by the Times Leader?

In all, WBRE's sweeps piece was nothing to write home about. Like other NBC stations, they decided to piggyback on NBC and do their own version of "To Catch a Predator." It's a quick and easy way to get viewers. All you have to do is run ominous promotions of "PEDOPHILES ARE COMING AFTER YOUR CHILDREN."

It would have been nice to see WBRE actually do something different on the pedophile angle, instead of the tried-and-boring. But after seeing so many of these damn "PEDOPHILES HOLY CRAP THINK OF YOUR CHILDREN" stories, I feel compelled to vomit, or poke my eyes out with a steak knife.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for some real, hard-hitting investigative reporting. I'm waiting for the story on Lyndal Stout's coming wedding (the promotion says it's LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AWAY!!!!!!)


You can take the girl out of Oklahoma, but you can't take the Okie out of the girl.

Guess WBRE will blow the lid off the high price of limo rentals!

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the piece---and although interviewing the producer was lame I give some credit to Andy and WBRE. At least they took the TIME to do something that caught people's attention.
Take a look at the number one station in the market WNEP.
They CAN'T take the time to do something like that--WHY? They don't have the staff (managements fault) and because of that their sweep pieces consist of "does it really work" and one "special" health report.
You want to see NEP hit another low point--wait until their prime staff vacation time hits in June and July.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least somebody had an orgasm

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. A TV station "creating" its own "news" story? And a public service agency -- the cops -- support it all the way?

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the 9:19AM post, interviewing the producer was lame (by the way, she did not sound like a teenager either,) but I think Andy did a great job. Was he part of the investigation team, when they had it? If he was, they should really bring that back, and make him head of it. I think he could do a real good job.

Lyndal Stouts's wedding...that is the dumbest thing I've heard the past few minutes (second comes watching the local news.) Who is really gonna watch those segments about her getting ready for her wedding? It would be funny, but I don’t think they are dumb enough to do this, is to show her wedding LIVE on television, make it like Princess Diana’s wedding. (Oops, just gave them an idea, hope management doesn’t read this.)

Talking about WNEP...when will people in this area notice that 'NEP, really isn't that good. I've seen tons of stations in my life, and I have to say, I'm not impressed by 'NEP. I've seen better, MUCH better!

6:37 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

Was he part of the investigation team, when they had it? If he was, they should really bring that back, and make him head of it. I think he could do a real good job.

I know why WBRE wanted to put Mehalshick as Keith Martin's replacement, but honestly, he's a far better reporter than he is an anchorman. Mehalshick scooped WNEP on many occasions, and he was a solid reporter with a huge Rolodex. That's what WBRE really needs right now.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of Andy Mehalshick's
"I'll say it even if I can't prove it" journalism, but I also give him some credit on this predators series. Even though the self serving producer interview should have been deleted and I didn't get how a "13-year old" could rent a motel room, the stories reflect something we haven't seen in the market in quite some time.

Investigative stories that actually get results are so few and far between on 22/28 and 16, we should applaud.

WNEP, are you listening? You used to be the leader. Now, you just seem to lead the way with corrections. How much bragging can the news director do about such memorable journalistic moments as tasting Gertrude Hawk candy?

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in what I don't read in any of these comments, from 7:26 a.m. to 7:34 p.m. and all points in between. This wasn't a situation of cops busting some perps. It was a TV station doing the busting, all the time with a local police department's cooperation. BRE and all the other E media outlets (that utilize the public's airwaves, let us not forget) should not be in the biz of creating stories. They're supposed to report and nothing more/nothing less. Or is the local TV news biz not about the actual news and more about beating the other chump station?
What, no ethics reminder here?

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the 9:53pm poster:

I've worked in the news business for many years and don't see an ethical conflict.

In case I was missing something, I just re-read the RTNDA Code of Ethics. Andy's story addressed a subject of interest to the public and let police make arrests when they decided there was a criminal violation.

What's so unethical?

1:55 AM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Andy's story addressed a subject of interest to the public and let police make arrests when they decided there was a criminal violation. What's so unethical?

* * *

I don't see anything unethical about it, but it's more like a "60 Minutes" thing and, given the small amount of time that news has in a typical half-hour mix of news, sports, weather, inane chatter and promos, might be better done some other way.

(Truth In Advertising: I did not see the piece and I don't know how long it went.)

I think it's a good idea and could be extended to many areas, aside from sexual things. Just don't make it the station's prime news attraction.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also agree that WBRE did nothing unethical in this piece, it seems to follow along the same storyline as Dateline's story. Even if you don't like the style or concept, at least an alleged child perp is off the streets.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Andy's story addressed a public safety issue. An important issue, at that. But look at the methods behind the story. I don't recall Andy's narrative identifying the source of the story (himself? the Butler Township cops? Someone else?). I'm reminded of the Bob Reynolds trick of sticking a mic in a perp's face and asking, "Why did you do it?" If not unethical, it sure walks a narrow line.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Andy's still milking the Internet sting. The lead 5 minutes of tonight's 6 p.m. show included the fact that the prelim hearings for the two bad guys, originally scheduled for today, were continued. Andy missed, however, the appearance in Luzerne County Central Court of the man Hazleton police allege possessed the stolen handgun used in the recent murder in that city. Dear Andy, the defendant, Juan Romero, waived his hearing and now faces trial.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh My God! Andy's at it again. Part II on tonight! (Even this is a rip off Dateline) The saddest thing, and anyone who knows Andy knows this makes sense, he's using claims made on this board and asking cops the question, "Some people say we're just luring people here for tv." Also, ever noticed whenever Andy does a story he's on-camera asking the question? Not like a two camera shoot, like the camera swinging for him to ask a cop a question. That's shameless. You're the anchor of the station (granted no one watches) but you're on camera two hours a day. Come on!

5:14 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

"Some people think we're doing this for ratings" is such a funny statement, because all news operations know they (sadly) do things for the ratings. Think about this. If pedophile stings weren't a big ratings grab, would anyone even bother doing it? Or would a station say, "No, this is in the public interest," and do it anyway?

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turn it around for a sec.
"Some people say . . ."
Hell, that's an old FOX News Channel sourcing device, usually meaning, in the end, "we just made up this crap."
As in, "Some people say Al Gore invented the Internet." Or, "Some people say Cheney is the real prez."
Back to Andy's predator series: It was a shady piece because the station inserted itself into the story. Sure it would have been boring as hell, but if Andy wanted to do the story straight, as he should have, he would've just interviewed some cops and prosecutors about the issue (sexual predators) and the danger (Internet chatrooms). But no, he had to insert himself and the camera crew into the story. That's unethical.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least copying something that works is better than doing nothing at all. It's actually making a difference, cracking down on guys that will go after your own kids if given the chance. You all spend WAYYYYYY to much time focusing on things that aren't important. This story was the talk of the radio this past week something that many TV stations around here can't generate... BUZZ because their BORING. At least taking down a kiddie sex perp is a lot more fun to watch then a reader the day after someone is caught with child porn on their computer.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:53 blogger: "But no, he had to insert himself and the camera crew into the story. That's unethical.'

What is unethical about it? Please I am so tried of reading this same comment time and time again about the story. So what the crew was there to film the arrest...and please don't tell me other stations wouldn't have done the same thing.

What bothers me more is the idea of the station doing a story on Lyndal's wedding plans. I thought it was a joke when I read it a few days ago, but sure enough there was the promo last night...

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Want to talk about unethical how about WNEP's treatment of the story...three people arrested in the span of a couple of days on charges of child sex and as far as I can tell, they haven't covered the story. Now I am going only based on what I have seen and a check of the website, but nothing!!!

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes. Lyndal Stout get's the heroine's treatment. The queen anchor lady gets her own special promos.
Brings to mind -- again -- Diane Lee's self-promotion (on the air!) of her stupid Christmas CD.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Diane Lee is unethical for hawking CD's but Mike Lewis isn't?

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not in broadcasting, but would like to comment as to Lydall Stout's Wedding coverage. I don't see anything wrong with it as it is nothing more than a fluff story. People look upon anyone who is on TV as a celebrity and whether they be "local" or national does not matter. These personalities carry a mystique about them regardless of whether it is silly or not. Personally, I could care less about her wedding and am only aware of it from the promos they air. As far as your site goes, I happened to come across it through another blog link and I must say that it is quite fascinating. One of the best; I have come away with a more informed opinion of those local news organizations. I shall keep reading.

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard, you better start another blog on the stout-wedding thing. I heard the radio promo and then, I got it. She IS the first woman to ever get married. And if she stays in this market(God forbid), long enough to conceive, she WILL be the first woman to have a baby. Good thing for the 'BRE (flaccid) promo machine.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

10:21 said:
So Diane Lee is unethical for hawking CD's but Mike Lewis isn't?

* * *

Mike's were to benefit some charity, IIRC. Are Diane's for the same reason? (I don't know; just asking.)

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:21, yes Mike and Diane are on the same lousy page. Good point.
As for LS's wedding, I'll go along with it as long as she's clearly labeled a local TV celebrity, not a journalist or even a newsreader.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not in broadcasting, but would like to comment as to Lydall Stout's Wedding coverage. I don't see anything wrong with it as it is nothing more than a fluff story.

If you are not in broadcasting, I sincerely doubt you'd know the term "fluff story." Nice try.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do believe that "celebrity" and "mystique" were applicable at one time. Today, here in 2006, hell, no way. It's a different world, not the one some of us grew up in when local news was a "must" each and every day. We now have at least one generation that cares almost zero about local news, and we're working on another. Look at local news viewership on a national basis, it's evaporating.

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 7:35 Anonymous...

If you sincerely doubt that someone not in broadcasting could know the highly technical broadcasting term, "fluff story", I sincerely doubt you belong in broadcasting.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear this entire thread is the bailiwick of the Montage Mtn Road crowd: Selling CD's on air is unethical unless Mike Lewis does it...making a big deal out of an air personality's social life is wrong (until 16 takes a camera into the maternity ward for one of theirs).

Guys, why you so scared of Nexstar all of a sudden?


2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a local story and can happen in this area. I give credit to Andy and the cops for teaming up and giving folks a local perspective for this problem.

5:52 PM  
Blogger D.B. Echo said...

Lyndall Stout's wedding is getting coverage? I guess it's a good thing for Kim Supon that WNEP isn't desperate for ratings, or we might've seen live team coverage from the delivery room!

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not the job of the tee vee news folks to team up with the cops. It's the job of the tee vee news folks to report on the cops' work.
Andy waiting in the wings for the perps to show up vaguely reminded me of CNN's cameras waiting on the Somali beach for the U.S. Marines to storm ashore.
But then local tee vee news programs are no longer much about the news these days anyway. More like local showbiz.
(The chit-chat at the end of YOU's 6 p.m. broadcast today exemplified today's already droopy standards).

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you sincerely doubt that someone not in broadcasting could know the highly technical broadcasting term, "fluff story", I sincerely doubt you belong in broadcasting.

I've forgotten more about this business than most people will ever know. Congratulations, at least your spelling has improved. BTW, using the word "sincerely" twice in the same sentence is the work of a boob. And you are a boob.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Mike Lewis, can someone explain that Chad Everett shock of hair that hangs down on his forehead? Is that supposed to be the "I'm so polished yet the wild side of me is so strong that try as I might I just can't control that crazy sliver of hair that hangs down on my forehead like a young studly dude" look? Is that "Hi there, I'm reporting the news in my well-coiffed look but I just got through with my workout and in my busy day I don't always have time to get every hair taken care of but I know you'll excuse me because I am busy and important"? Is it for the chicks? Is it something you'd see if you were looking at boyish good looks? He's gotta know that we know it's likely the one detail of his personal appearance that takes an extra five minutes to create and in reality is anything but natural. How old are you now Mike? What's it gonna be, distinguished anchor or sexy dude? I think you'll have better luck with distinguished anchor...someday...but the first step ought to be to comb that thing out of your eyes.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 11:33 anonymous...

Hahaha! Funny. I'm a boob and you're the professional TV journalist who's forgotten more than most people know. I guess one of the things you've forgotten and something that us boobs couldn't possibly know, not being a part of that pantheon of intellectual giants who inhabit that place called Scranton TV Journalism, is "anaphora". Hahaha. And I'm the boob?!? See, in writing, in speech, there's a thing called rhythm, and...oh nevermind. Respond if you like but you've already embarrassed yourself. Have some more Ego-Helper.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One poster said:
"Speaking of Mike Lewis, can someone explain that Chad Everett shock of hair that hangs down on his forehead?"

Here's some information from someone who works at NEP. Mike seems to have 4 responsibilities--looking good---reading straight---once in a while at night doing a fluff piece and EVERYDAY asking what wx shot a crew has! LOL!! The guys making 6 figures a year and thats what he does! LOL

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, just when I think that one of the 2 1/2 local "newscraps" in the Scranton market can't do something to make me sick-BANG! One of them does.

Did anyone catch WNEP's "ONLY ON 16" story Thursday night? About the family members of troops making posters in Scranton to welcome the troops home?

Yes, dear viewers, "THE NEWSSTATION" was the only one to get inside the armory to get that story. The only one to get pictures of the posters being made and the markers hard at work. The "only" station to interview the families.


What criteria do they use to label a story an "ONLY ON"? I would love to know who made that call. I think a story needs to be a little "NEWSIER" than the "WELCOME HOME" story to be labelled "ONLY ON".

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I lived in NE Pennsylvania, I watched Lyndal Stout's newscast on WBRE28. I wrote to her a couple of weeks ago commending her for the fine work she has done. I also asked her for an autographed picture of herself. I took the time to write this apparently nice individual, and what did I get? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I sent my letter to the correct address, and I did not receive a reply. I doubt if it was lost in the mail. PERHAPS Lyndal Stout's true nature belies her on-screen personna. In which case I feel sorry for dominic what's his name, the future Mister Lyndal Stout. Paying someone a compliment and commending them isn't always reciprocated. If I were truly mean-spirited, I would call Stout alot of unflattering things. But I will not do so.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Lyndall Stout ever marry Dominic Yannuzi(?). I saw a picture of the guy and he looks like a male model. It does not surprise me that Stout wound up with a guy like that. Stout is not ugly by any means, but I regard her as Ms. Average. Somehow I doubt if Stout will be known on the air as Lyndall Yannuzi. Perhaps Dom will be known as Mister Lyndall Stout. I wonder who will be wearing the pants in that marriage? By the way, does Stout wear dresses or is she strictly a pantsuit type? My guess is the latter.

1:03 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home