Monday, June 11, 2007

Boring reality

I once worked at a station that gave semi-regular tours of the place to anyone interested, which was usually elementary school students and sales clients. They were probably disappointed when they came through the newsroom. All they would see were people hunched over at their desks, writing scripts, making beat calls, and grumbling to themselves. It's a far cry from the oft-romanticized image of a television newsroom, where people are running everywhere, trying to beat the deadline.

Fact is, unless a plane crashes nearby, a television newsroom can be one of the most-boring places in the world. That's why I was rather surprised when I saw that the TV Guide channel will roll out a brand new reality TV show (as if we need any more) tonight at 8:00, called "Making News: Texas Style." It follows the hijinks and exploits at a small-market station in Texas, where the anchorwoman is a former Miss Texas, the anchorman is a well-groomed hire from a competing station, and their combined egos could probably fill up Madison Square Garden.

It's an odd pick for a reality TV show, as it doesn't show anyone stranded on a deserted island (though I imagine Odessa, Texas, is just as bad) or anyone eating a bucket of worms and spiders, but I dare say it might just be realistic. It might just show how mundane the inner-workings of television news is, or how some journalists have a vernacular that could make a sailor blush, or how egotistical some anchors can be. Hell, it might even show the rather morbid humor that's exclusive to this line of work. Only in a newsroom will you hear someone wish for a cop to get shot, or a house to burn down, just so they can blow off St. Ubaldo Day in Jessup.

Frankly, I'd like to see a similar show focus on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market. Until that happens, I'm sure you could call WNEP, WBRE, or WYOU, and arrange a tour of the place. Just keep your hands inside the car at all times.


Blogger Tom Carten said...

Howard said: Only in a newsroom will you hear someone wish for a cop to get shot, or a house to burn down, just so they can blow off St. Ubaldo Day in Jessup.

I run a main-channel radio reading service on the King's College FM station. Those of us who work on it are very dedicated to the cause and take great care to make sure the visually impaired and homebound are served as best we can.

That having been said, we do have our gallows humor moments off-air, most of which I'd rather not post here. If any of the regulars on this site have been on the Radio Home Visitor, they know what I'm talking about.

All newsrooms have their moments when you definitely don't want the local Brownie troop stopping by for a visit. There have been moments when even a stevedore with Tourette's might be embarassed.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I didn't work at WARM that long, it was one of the most interesting newsroom I have ever been was the mid 80's WARM was slipping but still a top three station and doing live news at the top and bottom of the hour. I did the 4 to midnight shift and work with Guy Randall, Terry and Andy Palumbo was on the road. Between Guy's smoking a pack an hour...Terry's frantic typing and the scanner's turned up to 10 because he could not was a mad house. I will never forget being sent out to a news conference and Guy stopping me to ask...And bring back any food they have...

Mark Thomas

9:01 AM  

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