Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Weatherpeople with the power of the man upstairs

That Washington post article really nailed it with its satire of local TV news wx folks. The dumbing down of America is reflected in how silly TV news has become. Don't worry, I'll probably bring this annoyance up more than a few times, along with other great and annoying facets of TV news.

The worst thing to happen to TV news is when the first news director and station manager, president, etc. saw how easy it is to make a profit. Of course, to make a profit you need to get higher ratings so you can charge advertisers more for airtime. And how do you do that? The three T method of thinking...tits...tears...tots. Start airing stories that are racy and sexual in nature no matter how irrelevant it is to the media market or has any place in the news. If you can get someone crying on camera or some "disturbing video", well that will surely get ratings, nevermind you're ignoring the quality of your product. And of course anytime you can show pictures of cute babies or kids, well who doesn't want to see that.

This is why people have come to appreciate shows like nightline or the Newshour because not only do they discuss what really is news, but they give their reporters and producers more than 90 seconds to tell the whole story from both sides. If you watch TV news, it will definitely leave something to be desired. Local TV news gives you an abbreviated capsule of the story which is fine if you would rather read USA Today instead of the Post or the Times.

Of course there is that whole issue of anchors and the silly things they do. For now, I think everyone should know that WX reporters are not omnipotent (as my blog jests). It's just silly, overused and annoying to have an exchange like this:

Anchor (A): "Well it sure was a nice day today Mike"

WX Guy Mike (WX): "It may not stay this way for too long as we head toward the weekend."A: "Let's hope you give us some good news and change it for the better. (followed by some fake laughter)

WX: "I'll try my best, but you know I don't have much control on these storms."

A: "But you're our only hope for better weather."

WX: "For the last f-ing time! I have no control over these storms. I have no God or almighty or whatever you believe in powers to control things. I'm just someone who likes meteorology and wanted some local fame instead of being some scientist researching atmospheric conditions over the Atlantic Ocean and only being known amongst my collegues. Who wants to be behind a desk for NOAA when you could be asked to cut the ribbon at a new Target opening or have people look at you like they sort of know you when they only know you as that weatherguy who controls the atmosphere thanks to the silly banter I deal with every stinkin' day from anchors like yourself. And would it kill you to write your own lead-ins for once?"

A: "So you're saying you won't be bringing us sunshine this weekend?"


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