Friday, October 20, 2006

Covering the president

For a local reporter, nothing is more exciting - and boring - than covering a presidential visit to your area. It's a big deal when the president and his entourage make a stop in the region, even if it's only to stump for a congressman. The national press is shuffling about, Secret Service agents give you stone-cold stares, and you always wonder if something important or earth-shaking will be said by the president.

Well, why is it also boring? The local press is pretty restricted in how it can cover an appearance, like Bush's pit stop at Keystone College. Obviously, we're not the White House Press Corps, and none of us are going to get THAT close to Bush to ask him any real questions. Instead, we're resigned to shooting video of Air Force One and his motorcade, and we rely on pool video shot by the networks. We sit around, listen to his prepared speech, and that's that.

Still, there are always the small stories that add something interesting and different to an otherwise bland presidential visit: the people who served Bush and company ice cream, the boy who toured Air Force One, the other boy who met the president, the woman who received a volunteer service award from the president...and the Republican v. Democrat political bickering.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was surprised WNEP showed the whole fund raising speech by President Bush. Maybe it would have been on WDAU/WYOU years ago, but WNEP never let the politicians stump for free. Who made that decision and why?

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such detailed coverage would have been appropriate for official business. Making an appearance for a local candidate doesn't deserve total coverage and can be considered a violation of the equal access law. It would be interesting what would happen if the opponent demanded equal time.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That left me dazed as well. It was just a pep rally for Sherwood. I know they had Carney in their 7pm newscast that night, but still I don't know if that is really "equal time". The President went on for a 1/2 hour. I don't think they devoted that much time to Carney. Would WNEP do the same thing lets say if Bill Clinton or Sen. Clinton made a campaign stop for Carney?

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Would WNEP do the same thing lets say if Bill Clinton or Sen. Clinton made a campaign stop for Carney?

7:47 PM

Of course not: but then neither of the Clintons is the sitting President of the United States.

"Equal Time" doesn't apply. First, there are four exceptions to the rule: newscasts, interviews, spot news, and documentaries. The Bush visit qualifies as spot news.

Second, Bush isn't the candidate, Sherwood is. The station can say it wasn't covering Sherwood--it was covering the President of the U.S.

Finally, no journalist or editor expects absolute daily balance: "Let's see, Carney got 1:12 today, we can't give Sherwood 1:35, it would be unfair." The goal (pretty well achieved by newspapers and broadcasters around here) is to--over time--balance the opportunities the public has to examine the opinions of the candidates on crucial issues.

The President makes news and IS news even if he's just shilling for a local pol.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wasn't "spot news." It was free campaign advertising. Simple as that. All the local media outlets show up at these stupid gigs more or less just to be seen - by the hand-picked audience and by each other. That mic with the station's logo on it is what it's really all about. Did the local yokel media types also stop to chat with any protesters that may have out and about nearby? Not that I saw in the post-event coverage.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Did the local yokel media types also stop to chat with any protesters that may have out and about nearby? Not that I saw in the post-event coverage."

12:47 PM

Actually--yes. But don't let that spoil your silly rant, or get in the way of your idiotic "the media are in cahoots" theories.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It wasn't "spot news." It was free campaign advertising. Simple as that."

12:47 PM


Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone. It's all part of the vast media conservative conspiracy. Don Sherwood has had reporters eating out of his hand since Day One. Have you ever SEEN someone get such favorable press before?

Dubya showed up hoping some of that Sherwood magic would rub off on him.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bush visit definately does not fall into the "spot news" catergory. Spot news as far as I am concerned is a spontaneous event (a three alarm fire at a warehouse). The presidential visit was planned weeks in advance. I have a feeling the entry was made by WNEP webmaster Mark Sowers...hahahaha.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There certainly was no equal time trigger and a visit by President Bush IS news. That doesn't mean WNEP should have carried the speech live for nearly 30 minutes.

Did WNEP violate any law? Of course not, but management is guilty of stupidity.

It was an announced fund raiser. Why would any station give a politician, even a president, free reign to beat up on another party for free? It's not good journalism. It's not even good business sense.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Spot news as far as I am concerned is a spontaneous event (a three alarm fire at a warehouse)."

11:28 AM


No disrespect intended--or not much, anyway--but for the sake of this thread what you think doesn't count anywhere near as much as what the FCC thinks.

The FCC has repeatedly ruled that a Presidential address (on the campaign trail or off) is a non-scheduled news event and therefore "spot" news.

Hehehehe.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't say anything about "the media [being] in cahoots." What a stupid thing to put in someone else's mouth (or keyboard). Get a fucking life.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I didn't say anything about "the media [being] in cahoots." What a stupid thing to put in someone else's mouth (or keyboard). Get a fucking life."

7:54 PM


Signed, a local yokel critic of the local yokel media.

6:48 AM  
Blogger David Yonki said...

I think both Jill Kanopka and Amy Bradley did a great job in reporting the story. I had the opportunity to watch every edition they reported (being in a waiting room with a burly woman guarding the remote will give you that opportunity, must have been related to a BRE sales rep or an advertiser wanting to see their spot) and found that the stories were varied, not the same stuff over and over.
Yonkstur

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, see, Dave, Bradley is supposed to be an I-Team reporter, supposed to be doing investigative work, not covering a "you almost cannot do them wrong" stories like a presidential visit. And what's the deal with Holden? Was he voted off of I-Team Island? The last promo I saw shows only three members of that I-Team, and Holden ain't one of them. I could almost sign an affadavit that the promo starts with four shadowy figures, but when they turn on the lights there's only three left. What the hell, nothing else is working, try a little sleight of hand.

6:14 PM  
Blogger David Yonki said...

Well, see, Dave, Bradley is supposed to be an I-Team reporter, supposed to be doing investigative work, not covering a "you almost cannot do them wrong" stories like a presidential visit.

True and her work is very good. But when you have a huge news story like a Presidential visit, have limited staff and need every hand on deck, you can take a reporter off a designated beat and use he or she for the team coverage.
As far as Joe Holden, he'll turn up.
Yonkstur

10:28 PM  

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