Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Here Now the "News"

Conan O'Brien offers up yet another instance of why, if the verb that describes your primary method of gathering information is "watch" instead of "read," you are not likely to know very much. He played clips from 20 local TV newscasts of a story about self-gift buying that include an identical quote.

One possibility, of course, is that several stations decided to report on this matter and the different folks who write the copy the TelePrompTer muppets read are all equally uncreative. I would certainly grant the uncreativity, but I don't think the writers at 20 stations can all randomly stink in exactly the same way.

When I worked at the newspaper, one of the things we would do if we received a press release we wanted to run was to call the person releasing the information to get a quote or two of our own and gather information they may have left out. At the very least we would rewrite it, tightening the wording and cleaning it up to better match newspaper style.

But not so at your local televised news: In this instance, whatever agency gave them this particular item package also gave them the script, and it seems that at some 20 or so of them, the script went into the broadcast unedited.

Broadcast news: an oxymoron right up there with jumbo shrimp.

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