Almost all live on-camera reports follow the same path. Let's say there was a serious accident on King Street in Old Town Alexandria. The report will start with a live shot during which the reporter teases the story yet again (after the anchors have done so all day long in promos and their intro). Then the tape will roll consisting of two sound bytes from police officials, shots of flashing lights, cars driving on King street, and maybe an MOS (man on the street) interview about how dangerous the intersection has been the last few years. Then a shot back on-camera as the reporter decides it's time "throw things back to the studio."
I've noticed one regular reporter separates himself from the others.
Is it because he breaks stories? Nope, not that I've noticed or care to notice (since credit for breaking news is always given to the reporter on the story no matter their input).
Is it because the cameraman he works with gets great pictures in synch with his words? Nope, the shots during his report are nothing you can't find on the other major stations (though shots during Fox's weekend broadcasts would be greatly helped if someone used a tripod).
This reporter has a certain way of speaking. And in my humble opinion (it's my blog, so I can't be humble!), his manner of speaking is so slow that it's annoying. Of course I'm speaking of WRC/NBC-4's Pat Collins, who does a good job putting together any story, but that minor detail when he opens his mouth to actually talk, happens as fast as a 100-meter sprint through molasses.
I'm at the point where I refuse to view his pieces. I no longer even wait to hear, "Pat Collins is live on the scene." NBC-4 also has George Michael, and well that's enough reason for me to change the channel before I lose another second of my life that I won't get back.
Collins' speaking reminds me of a jack-in-the-box with a dial on the side that you turn to play a song before the big surprise when it's done. Of course, his jack-in-the-box dial needs so much WD-40 because it is turned so slowly that you've forgotten the last note that was played because it was so long ago. If you've never had the (cough) opportunity to listen to his reports, try this experiment. Have someone talk to you about anything, but they're only allowed to say one word every 7 seconds. Let me know if it's annoying. Talk about pulling teeth sans anesthesia. I've always felt life moved a 1/2-step slower here in the DC area compared to the pace of life in the city (that's NYC for you newbies), but this is ridiculous.
This Washington Post article gives you a nice idea of his reporting style. Here's an excerpt:
Does he get his facts right? Sure, but as the Post wrote, "
The saddest thing? Here's the kicker (ahh, those TV terms haven't left my writing vernacular!), once TV station owners realized the amount of profit available in local TV news (thanks to incredibly low salaries for everyone off-camera, and lots of commercials, among the many factors), the bottom line for a TV news broadcast quickly became ratings while quality quickly dropped.
If Mary Jane's cousin was murdered, it would be nice if things like the story's facts, including such aspects as, oh, I don't know, Mary's account of who her cousin wasb fill the 90-second piece instead of imposing your own take on things. While a report about the latest crime shouldn't need any help keeping our interest, the sad truth is because local TV news looks, sounds, and feels the same, you've gotta differentiate yourself to please news directors and station managers. You'd be naive to think a story is ever allowed to stand on its own. Ever wonder why you don't exactly see the ugliest people as anchors?
As a grizzled, veteran DC reporter, his skills are not to be questioned. He can gather facts like other "reporters", but he just takes too long telling it to viewers. His style is overly-dramatic when the story should be what we notice and care about.
How do you increase ratings? Well there's the whole "tears, tots, tits" theory, along with "if it bleeds it leads" to get viewers. However, if the other 3 local TV stations have the same stories because they all listen to the same police scanners (as station exclusive stories aren't daily occurrences), you can only differentiate yourself by the person actually telling the story.
And that's why Collins has been filing reports for decades. For better or worse, he's a personality in a field and market lacking any.