Sunday, July 29, 2007

Journalism degree costs more

Some colleges across the nation are changing the tuition prices for students who major in certain fields, because of things like "the high salaries commanded by professors in certain fields, the expense of specialized equipment and the difficulties of getting state legislatures to approve general tuition increases." For journalism students at Arizona State University, it means they'll pay an extra $250 per semester (freshmen excluded).

Yet, students who want to go into broadcast journalism will be lucky to earn more than $23,000 per year in their first job. I would say they'd be lucky to earn $21,000 per year, as I've seen job postings for full-time journalism jobs where the salary is far less (in one case, $15,000 per year!).

Many news directors always wonder why it's getting harder to find a good journalism student. Here's a hint: they went into public relations to make more money.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Photographer killed in chopper crash once worked at WNEP

One of the four journalists killed in Friday's crash involving two news helicopters over the skies of Phoenix, Arizona was a former WNEP employee. KNXV photographer Rick Krolak worked for WNEP in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and also spent time in New York at stations in Elmira and Binghamton.

While WNEP is the only station around here with a helicopter, Skycam 16 has seen its share of crowded skies. Andy Palumbo wrote in his blog about one such experience during a NASCAR race at Pocono a few years ago.

"Skycam wasn't the only chopper in the air over the track. State Police were up. A private helicopter was circling, as well as one or two from the television network covering the race. [...] There were four or five helicopters over Long Pond that day and our pilot made sure we stayed out of trouble. Each of us was assigned an altitude. We kept out of each other's way. Still, I was relieved when the noon broadcast was over and we headed to the pad at WNEP."

Those of you who've seen WYOU's old promos on YouTube know that the station had a helicopter for a brief period in the early 1990s. According to one Beale's Bites reader, station management at WYOU and WNEP met to discuss things such as "how close, how far, aerial spacing, right of way" between both helicopters, to prevent what happened in Phoenix.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tragedy in the sky

Four people died in Phoenix, Arizona today when two television news helicopters collided as they followed a car chase. The pilot and photographer aboard each helicopter died.

Part of me wonders why something like this didn't happen sooner. In large markets like Phoenix, every station has a helicopter, and whenever there's a car chase, up they go. Combine that with a police helicopter, and you've got perhaps four or five hovering close to each other, trying to pay attention to the chase, and to each other. It's a recipe for a tragedy, which sadly happened in this case.

For those of you who aren't squeamish, there is video of the last seconds of video of one of the helicopters.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hazleton's back in the spotlight

A federal judge just decided that Hazleton's immigration ordinance - the law that brought so much national attention to our area - is unconstitutional. At the time I posted this, WBRE and WYOU already had a breaking news update posted on its website. WNEP didn't have anything.

This is sure to be the top story on all three stations tonight, so I'd like to know your thoughts on tonight's coverage. Respond here, or shoot me an e-mail!

EDIT: Typo fixed. L before E!

Celebrity news, BEGONE!

A lot of you paid attention and applauded when MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski ripped up a script about Paris Hilton a couple of weeks ago. Now, here's something new to buzz about. CNN anchor Jack Cafferty also expressed his disgust with celebrity news by asking to skip a story about Lindsay Lohan.

I don't know if both Brzezinski and Cafferty's on-air displeasure was real, or scripted, but it's refreshing. I'm fed up with all of the attention paid to spoiled celebrities who get arrested, when there's more than enough local and national/international news to "fill the void" in a newscast. If there's one good thing to be said about the news stations in this area, it's that they're not obsessed with celebrity news.

Friday, July 20, 2007

WYOU reporter now writing for newspaper

Former WYOU reporter Phil Yacuboski has been hired as a writer for Scranton's Electric City. He's also done some work for them in the past.

A reader also swears to have heard Yacuboski reading the news on an area radio station this week. Is true, perhaps that non-compete clause from Nexstar is no longer an issue?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Buyer beware

It's pretty bad when you have to do a story about people using your station's website to try to scam people. WBRE reported this week that scammers were trolling classifieds ads on to find people to rip off through so-called advance fee fraud. You know how it goes; seller posts ad, scammer sends check for more than the actual price, asks seller to send difference. Good luck getting your money.

('s classifieds now sport a warning from WBRE consumer reporter Jeff Chirico on how not to lose your money.)

To be fair, isn't the only place where scammers look for suckers. Anyone who's posted a classified ad, in the newspaper or online, has probably gotten a bite from someone hoping to rip them off.

We somehow impressed New York City

I spent the past week getting caught up on some off-Internet work, and look at what I missed! Two accused cop killers from New York City pick the Poconos as their hideout, just like the Fort Dix terror suspects, and the area is swarmed by reporters from the Big Apple.

A person with close knowledge of the whole affair writes in to say that WBRE and WNEP did great coverage by teaming up with their respective network affiliates in NYC. "Apparently all of NYC guys left with stellar impressions of the Scranton news market... go figure!"

The folks from WNBC probably didn't leave with good impressions of the State Police. The aformentioned source reports a trooper from PSP Swiftwater ordered the combined Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/NYC press corps off I-80 around 6:15 p.m. last Wednesday, and killed WNBC's live shot after the crew didn't move its satellite truck.

"The bottomline, PSP was awfully difficult to work with during this ordeal. It wasn't until midnight that a dispatcher from Swiftwater informed everyone about the nuts and bolts, and she only did it out of compassion for the lack of repsect all night long."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

One does, one doesn't

A viewer points out an interesting discrepancy from the local Nexstar duopoly this morning. WBRE chose not to air the President's press conference, while WYOU did. Both stations share the same news video, but not the same press conference?

Remember when...?

I've written in the past about the treasure trove of NEPA television you can find on YouTube. Besides historical perspectives from the era when WYOU had a helicopter, there's also things that make you laugh, shake your head, or both.

WBRE's Josh Hodell and Kerry Shahen report on the February snowstorm in a professional matter befitting of such a serious event. Oh wait, they made snow angels on the roof.

You're not allowed to smile when you're on WBRE's I-Team.

WYOU 1st News, "the area's only 5:30 newscast!" I don't know about you, but I really liked WYOU's old theme music.

Being an intern at WNEP means you can jump on a slip-n-slide. Just don't mention this to a prospective employer when you're asked about your internship experience.

From 20 years ago, a promo from Norfolk, Virginia's WVEC, with a younger Mike Lewis!

Search for any of the stations on YouTube, and you'll find many more videos.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A friendly reminder

The "NEPA negativity, revisited" thread seemed to bring out the worst in people, and in retrospect, there are some comments there I probably shouldn't have approved. So, I believe it's time for a refresher in what's not allowed.

1. Unfounded personal attacks

To borrow words from a Supreme Court justice, I can't define what a personal attack is, but I know one when I see one.

2. Rudeness or obscenity

If you can't post without a stream of words that would make a sailor blush, then don't do it.

3. Anything involving a person's personal life

We're here to discuss broadcast journalism, not what someone does on their own time. Go read one of the gossip columns in the local "alternative" newspapers, or head over to Talkback 16 to speculate about hair color.

4. Speculation about who posts here

Most posts here are anonymous for a good reason. Please respect a person's decision to be anonymous.

Let's keep it civil, OK?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Former WYOU photographer dies

Bob Dennis, a former photographer for WDAU/WYOU, died of cancer Friday night. WNEP's Andy Palumbo
shares a pretty touching story
about his last day on the job with Dennis...

"Bob was the photographer on the last story I did as a reporter for WYOU, in August of 1996. We were on our way to Mahanoy City to do a follow-up story on a rather large fire. The station had a new owner, and changes were in the works. I had a feeling I wasn’t included in the plans of the new regime. I told Bob how I felt in the truck on the way to Schuylkill County. Bob replied that I was too valuable to the company, and management would never get rid of me. He was trying to calm me down, and get my mind off my problems. I got fired that afternoon. Bob felt worse about it than I did."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Exclusive: More firings to come at WNEP?

Beale's Bites has learned that the four firings that happened earlier this year at WNEP may not be the only ones to happen under new ownership at Montage Mountain Road. Sources have revealed there may be plans to jettison staff that has been there for quite some time. It's not known when this could happen, but some people at WNEP are apparently aware of the cost-cutting plan.