Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Just So We're Clear About This

We've received more than a few emails from readers unhappy with our comments about Channel 6. We've been accused of, among other things, having a "vendetta" against spritely anchor Pat Persaud, and of favoring Channel 7 and/or Channel 3, and/or Channel 42. Some have also suggested that our comments are unfairly directed at reporters who are just doing their jobs. With that last comment, we mostly agree.

Here's the deal: almost all of our gripes about Channel 6 are about things that management has screwed up, not reporters or anchors. Tired format? News directors and assignment editors are to blame. Inane, over-hyped stories about vegetables and speed-zappers? Ditto. Does anyone think Rebecca Kleeman was itching to go stand in front of Conestoga Middle School in Nehawka all day, or that she lobbied for having a live camera there for 10 to 12 hours in case a bomb actually went off? Or, for that matter, that she came up with hyping a story on gargantuan fruits and veggies? Not bloody likely.

Granted, we've taken shots at Andrea McMaster for being an inept anchor, at Persaud for being perhaps the laziest excuse for a journalist we've ever seen, and at Brian Mastre for just coming across as an all-around goon. But they didn't hire themselves. It's not as if they just walked in one day and started doing stories. Someone hired them and continues to put up with them, rather than coaching them and insisting that they do better work. That's a management failure.

So when we're picking at 6, for the most part, we're picking at those running the show. Sure, there's some dead wood there when it comes to "talent." But on-air idiocy is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself.


Luke said...

I personally think the blame is spread liberally among the many dolts in town. I would like to see more Travis takes, but understandably, there's only so much time in the day to devote to more legitimate "journalists."

papiopete said...

Did it ever occur to you that Omaha is not a major media center and that the talent here is simply trying to do the best they can ?Every once and awhile somebody will move up to the big time, but most of them are middle of the road. This isnt New York or Chicago. This isn't a big news town either. Your bashing of local talent is kind of like criticizing the Omaha Royals for not playing like the St. Louis Cardinals. They aren't major leaguers, but for the most part they hustle and do their best.

Luke said...

You're joking, right? You mean there are only so many people able to read a teleprompter feasibly? That we have to settle for mediocre talent?

Since you're so convinced that this is a nowhere, hick town, why stop there? How can we explain the fortunes of the Buffets, Wantenabes, Sokols and Thiesens of Omaha? Aren't the smart business people supposed to be in big towns?

How about explaining John Beasely or 311 or Lew Hunter?

Willa Cather anyone?

I don't think anyone is expecting Pulitzers to be bestowed, but if your claim to journalism sainthood is the "Polaris Plunge" or "That's my opinion" then I have a right to bitch about it.

Sorry, but I've long stopped apologizing for living in Omaha and Nebraska in general. I've traveled the country and have worked with many people in my profession from Really Big Companies In Really Big Cities and frankly, I'm better than many of them. Living in New York doesn't give you a You're Better Than Me Pass.

papiopete said...

Luke, Im just saying there are economic realities of mid market television you have to take into consideration. Sorry, this isn't Denver, St.Louis, of Chicago and while some of the criticism I read is legitimate, I think much of it is unrealistic, not too mention mean-spirited.

Luke said...


I truly understand your point, but I still think you're making too much of this being too small of a market. I agree, we shouldn't be looking for the next Big Three Anchorperson Diamond In The Rough, but the abilities of the people here are tragically bad. Worse, many of them aren't even from here that would could allow for our station managers' tight-fisted idealism to hiring home-grown talent

Mean-spirited? Yes, but readers like myself love the moxie. There's nothing in what these people are doing that is going to end world hunger or bring peace to the middle east, so I think that allows a certain latitude.

Have you seen anything that is untruthful here? Aren't you sick of the teaser bullshit they try to pull all the time? It's like they're trying to sell us Amway or something rather than speaking to knowledgeable people. I'm tired of their formulaic asstacular setups. Tell me what you're going to tell me. If I want to watch it, I'll sit through the commercials and the other stories, but stop insulting me with heavy handing neuro-linguistic attempts at luring me in.


Will said...

Finally, a liveley discussion around here.

Trust me, guys, the news around here is no worse than anywhere else, it just sucks in a different way. I travel a lot to Los Angeles and San Diego on business and news broadcasts out there suck in a Big Market sort of way: Stations there will break into American Idol to go to the Batcopter with more on the latest car chase on the 405.In fact, I'm surprised all those helicopters (news and law enforcement) don't crash into each other. Here, the news sucks in a Small Market way, e.g. Rebecca Kleeman shamefacedly eating giant vegetables.

As far as Pat Persaud goes, I think she essentially "gave up" on her career about three or four years ago, but stuck around anyway and her work became, shall we say, less than distinguished.

And insofar as the Big Six is concerned, their main problem is hardening of the arteries. They've been number one for so long that they started coasting, and now that their ratings are slipping, they're desperate and they don't know quite what to do.

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