Saturday, August 15, 2009

!!! BREAKING NEWS !!!

…and the “local” news does not escape my scorn either.

This week, the local morning news broke into itself (or at least introduced the following story as somehow more important than the rest of the news) to tell us about a fire in Indiana which had disrupted local traffic for their rush hour.

I found myself wondering why this was more important to me than the accident on one of the local expressways that was going to directly impact my commute that came on a few minutes later. There is so much going on locally, why is it that the “local” news needs to break into itself to cover things that can in no way impact the local audience?

This is not to say that there isn’t important news that I need to know about that is not local, but with only seven minutes of content (repeated ad nauseum) over the entire two-hours of the local news cast, why talk about trivial things? The other day one of the local stations broke into their evening news to cover a car chase in Atlanta. It was bad enough when I was working in Los Angeles to discover that the local TV stations all broke into their regular scheduled programs to cover the local police chases. It was worse yet to see the amount of manpower that was being devoted to it. (Every local station tracks the chases using their news helicopters.) But it was mind-boggling to discover that the ratings numbers during these chases tend to be ungodly high.

That being the case, the fact that our local stations are now breaking into programming to cover police chases in other states is completely unbelievable! What has become of the news industry? How bad will news have to get before people start demanding better news?

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will speak-up, demand more news in your local newscasts!

Don Bergquist – August 15, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

2 comments:

CathyW said...

You're on a roll this week Don!

I'll never forget OJ's ridiculous "car chase" so many years ago. Really, a waste of electrons.

Don Bergquist said...

Hey, Cathy!

Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. Yeah, the blog has been active this week, hasn’t it!

But then rarely is there so much in the news to get worked-up about. My problem with local news coverage is deep-seated and is something I seethe over as my broadcasting degrees and background tell me how wrong it is that there is so little news in our news!

Your mention of the whole Simpson case is a wonderful example! I remember that during the trial I was doing a system installation in Atlanta Georgia. Here is how bad it is… (not only is the case still talked about – what a waste of energy) but during the install, Atlanta was hit (surprisingly hard) by a hurricane.

When I went to bed the previous evening, the storm was in the gulf and the track had it moving ashore somewhere between Mobile and Panama City some time around midnight. What, exactly, happened I do not remember and am not sure I ever actually discovered. But I was awakened some time around five the next morning by the sound of my laptop computer giving the alarm that it was running low on battery power.

I looked at the clock to see whether that was what I was hearing only to discover that the clock was dark. I reached for the light and found that it too was dead. As was the phone. I quickly dressed and went to the car to see what time it was. What met me when I left the apartment were gale-force winds, downed branches, and evidence that the entire neighborhood (near Mercer University in the Atlanta outskirts) was without power. Knowing better than getting out in the storm.

Somehow the storm had made the 300 mile trip inland in the intervening seven hours. I tell this story not because of what happened that morning, but because of what happened the next. You see the next morning when we were able to get into the client site to finish-up the installation, my colleague and I were interrupted not by continuing coverage of the storm, how suddenly it had hit, the continuing situation of thousands of people without power, you know, things that the good people of Atlanta and its suburbs desperately needed to know.

Nope! 24 hours after the freak storm, we were treated to an all-day infotainment fest recapping the entire Simpson trial, the facts of the murders as known, replay of "the chase" footage, and culminating with the announcement of the verdict around lunchtime. Well, not really culminating, we were treated to cold rehashing of the entire thing for pretty much the rest of the day.

The "news" has been sliding into its current gutter for quite a while now. Were but that it was different!

Until the American public decides that they are fed-up with it however, I fear I will remain a voice in the wilderness…

Ah, well! Such is my lot!

Thanks again for reading and commenting on my blog.

Don