Local Media Mumbo Jumbo

4 Nov


Last week, a bit of a row began over on Pundit’s blog when he commented on the banality of television news after he questioned the type of coverage offered by local CBS affiliate, WIVB, Channel 4 at a local political candidates night.

Last night, I attended and participated in the Clarence candidates’ forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Because Chris Collins was also there, some press showed up. There was Chrissy Casilio, daughter of a Clarence Town Councilman and occasional Bauerle call-screener there getting tape for WBEN. There was Scott Brown, following Collins around like an albatross. There was Channel 4’s Alysha Palumbo. I watched her story later that night. The only thing of interest? Collins showed up but Keane didn’t.

Alysha Palmubo, the WIVB reporter who was assigned the story, stopped by for a visit and she came out swinging…

I do not decide what I cover each and every night, nor do I decide the complete coverage of our station as a whole. I make suggestions, even argue when I think a story shouldn’t be covered – as I did in this case, but I lost.

Over the course of four or five comments, she takes on WGRZ Reporter Scott Brown’s ethics, the wisdom of her producers, the state of local news, her red pantsuit, blogs, and my claim that Melissa Holmes is more attractive than she. Credit to her for having the courage to face her critics, but Alan Pergament is wondering if it was the best career move.

The one thing I took away from all of this is that I am glad that I rarely watch local television news broadcasts. I’ve always found the “gotcha” shtick of the Channel 2 “redcoats” to be trite and the on camera grandstanding of guys like WIVB’s Luke Moretti to be tedious and self involved.

TV news, by its very nature, is meant to be a news aperitif. Sixty to ninety second stories can only relay a small part of the picture and since the stations are more interested in marketing themselves than telling the story, we end up with grandstanding and/or sensationalism. The cheap and easy angle is regularly chosen over the complex.

The moral of the story? If you want an honest picture of what goes on in this town, it’s boiling down to a do-it-yourself project. You need to get your news appetizers from the TV stations, fact check their angles with The Buffalo News, stop by WNYM and other local blogs for a different angle, and listen to Tom Bauerle’s three hour oldpeoplepalooza to hear about haunted toasters, terrorist scumbags, and news updates. After that, stop into Founding Fathers or Mothers to get the off the record scoop from insiders and media people whose stories are regularly shot down by their editors.

After all of that, you might finally get the full scoop on a local story.

7 Responses to “Local Media Mumbo Jumbo”

  1. Pauldub November 5, 2007 at 3:46 am #

    You have to at least give credit to Ms. Palumbo for jumping into the fray like that. Perhaps she will pay closer attention to what’s being said out here, get a different perspective so to speak.
    Local news has always been a “do it yourself” project. It’s too bad we don’t have another local paper to give us another angle.

  2. Buffalo Blood Donor November 5, 2007 at 7:05 am #

    “It’s too bad we don’t have another local paper to give us another angle.”

    Wouldn’t help. Far too few are interested in more than the sound bite. That would take too much work, too much time and would distract from “more important” things in life like The Amazing Race or ER or Halo 3.

    Far too few are interested in putting in the effort that Geek alludes to in this article to ever dig beyond the channel button on the remote.

    But I compliment this article for providing a how-to to do just that, for the few who are interested in issue details.

    You know how every so often the Buffalo News puts an in-depth feature article on the front page that runs for 4 or 5 days (“Children of Poverty” was the latest)? It might be an interesting experiment if a local news station would occasionally substitute such a feature for the drivel that they present every day at 5 and 6.

    But it probably wouldn’t help, either.


  3. Anon November 5, 2007 at 2:25 pm #

    I was once an intern at WIVB and my job consisted of calling every police station in WNY each hour [man that pissed off the officers ansering the phones] to ask about any leads. I found this to be the news version of an “ambulance chasing” lawyer. Each time I called one particular station the officer told me that even if something was going on it would be illegal for him to inform me.

    I also had access to the “national feed” which was a daily computer database of pre-digested “news” bits (video packages) which you could literally “drag and drop” into the computer automated lineup. Stories I remember from the national feed? I remember one night we ran one about the latest Beanie Baby craze (it was the late 90s).

    Don Paul was really really nice to me though.

    Ultimately the internship convinced me not to go into journalism because I realized that A) It’s more invested in crap stories like crashes and run of the mill assaults without any real investigation and B) corporate media (which has since gotten even worse and more consolidated) waters news down even further with homogenizing national feed pieces about beanie babies and other crap (.. new study refutes last study about health value of chocolate, wine, red meat, etc).

  4. Jon Splett November 5, 2007 at 2:31 pm #

    I give her credit for admitting Melissa Holmes is hotter than she is.

  5. Mark November 5, 2007 at 7:47 pm #

    alysha palumbo. she anice. wawawewah. cant say i pay attention/care what she says/does.

  6. Justin November 6, 2007 at 9:24 am #

    I wonder if this woman and/or the other female reporters give two sh&5ts about what they report.

    Having a degree in communications, I seen many of these young girls enrolling to be on air personalities just to become famous.

    Remember people, most of these people are newsreaders with degrees in communications and not journalism.

    Take a look at Luke’s college history. It consisted of an associate degree at Herkimer Community College. I’m sure he only took two or three classes on journalism at the most.

  7. Becky November 6, 2007 at 12:48 pm #

    I thought that the subject matter was so banal I never even noticed all the comments. Then again, I only watch the 10 o’clock news on occasion, the most banal of them all.

    I almost got defensive about “oldpeoplepalooza”, thinking all older people don’t listen to that sh…Then I remembered that my mom thinks everyone on that station speaks the truth and nothing but. She even repeats some of their tasteless jokes while I stare at her in amazement. She never used to be like that. It’s all 930’s fault… must be.

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