Monday, January 10, 2005

Curiosity And The Cat Coverage

I reverted to flipping mode tonight to see what kind of coverage the three stations had on the UAW vote. A couple of thoughts. I liked that WHOI brought in their main anchor team. No offense to the weekend crews, but when you bring your main team in, it brings more attention to the importance of the story. That said, WEEK bringing Gina in to cover was the next best move. She has a lot of experience covering Cat/UAW.

Just for reference... I was never a big fan of the "we got it first/happy, happy... joy, joy" mentality of TV news because in the end, who the heck really knows the difference. Really. I'm guessing almost no one at home is flipping around to see who got the ratification announcement first. I'm guessing no one at home has three televisions on to monitor this. Really. The only people who know are people in the respective newsrooms.

But in case you're keeping score (and unless I missed a quick mention while flipping) an out of breath(just talked to her), on set Gina Morss (WEEK) was first (for reference, the UAW hall is literally throwing distance from 25). As Gina was finishing, Laura Michels (WHOI) was second with a live shot. WMBD was starting their weather at the same time as Laura's report, got through the weathercast, went to break without a tease, then started the next block with a Lisa Miller live shot. Don't know if there were technical issues or what. But like I said, in the end I don't think it really matters on something like this. Now, on a tornado coming through the area, the quicker the better.

Basically the big benefit comes for promotions who can create a spot that says "we were first to tell you..." Producers can write in their leads "as we first told you..." which you hear once in a while, although if you're gonna play that game, write it "as we were the first station to report..." A subtle difference I know, but whatever. I do give a lot of credit to news directors who refrain from singing this song when they don't know for sure, because some will take credit for being first or doing something in a promotion when it's not even true.

As for the web coverage, as of 11:30, WEEK and WHOI both had the ratification news on their respective websites as did the Journal Star and WMBD radio. WMBD TV did not have it.

In the end, all three stations did a solid job on a Sunday night when staffing isn't usually all that good.

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