Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sometimes 6+9+10+13=0.

This post has been gestating in my mind for weeks, but before it was born, Mark McGuire of The Times Union said what I wanted to say and said it well. So read his column on the vapidity of news coverage by the Capital District’s television stations, and pretend I wrote it.

McGuire’s problem with local television news broadcasts:

Watched in bulk, the locked-in format of Monday's news product from the news-weather-news-sports-weather construction to the stories covered became numbing. Worse, these reports told me little of value about who we are and how we live.

McGuire’s Cure:

The cure for what plagues the local nightly newscast is painfully clear, even if all the ingredients remain hazy.

Blow it up, the whole hackneyed, predictable format. Scrap it entirely and start over.

I don’t want to steal anymore from McGuire, but I would like to add something to what he wrote.

It concerns the posts I wrote on New York State’s Department of Correctional Services. The detailed investigator’s notes, time sheets and video that I drew from to write these posts, were offered to two local television stations last year, and they decided not to use them. (If you didn’t read the posts, here they are.)

Why not? I don’t know for sure, but it’s probably because they weren’t “sexy” enough. If the photos had shown two cleaning personnel having sex on top of a desk in the Corning Tower, as happened many years ago, no doubt the material would have been used, even though such a story does not impact us in the way that State officials abusing their privileges does.

As McQuire wrote:

What matters to us? What can make us better/safer/smarter/healthier citizens? Sure, this is the focus of some stories. It should be the mantra behind entire newscasts.

That may mean passing on some juicy footage, or even a decent crime story But, but ... we have video of the perp walk!! and digging deeper into given stories that actually matter in our lives. Story counts (the number of stories aired) are less important than stories that count.


  • Mark McGuire USUALLY has something of value to say, but he missed the ball on this one. Many of the things he said added up to a strike out. How come the news covered the story in Rennselear County when two guys were drinking on their work hours not too long ago? Was it only because the mayor and the Police Chief were at odds? Was it a “sexy” enough story?

    Dan Weaver is the only one that dove head first into the issues that people want to hear about. Plus, people keep asking for more. I take the time to read his blogs. The Times Union is becoming the Times Useless.
    Hats off to Dan Weaver.

    By Anonymous A Happy Blogger, at 7:11 PM  

  • If it bleeds, it leads...

    By Anonymous valleygadfly, at 1:50 PM  

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