Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Channel 6 Evening Anchor Who Reports?

Tracy Madden continues to delight as she nears the end of her first month as successor to Pat Persaud. Not only does she class up the joint, Madden also seems determined to shake off the lethargic pall that has settled over the rest of the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. broadcasts.

She has, for example, proven herself capable of the quick comeback, no matter how inane the remarks from deskmates John Knicely and Dave Webber. It's a colossal improvement over the befuddled blank stares and babbling that her predecessor employed in those same situations.

And Madden has actually retained the ability to go out and report stories. Tuesday found her in the living room of 85-year-old Joseph Kvapil, who had been shot earlier in the day, caught in crossfire as he approached a bus stop at 16th & Vinton.

In a promo that sounds like a pointed attempt to separate herself from the examples set by Persaud, Knicely, and Channel 7's Julie Cornell, Madden suggests that an anchor's credibility is higher when she continues to function as a reporter. (We know; it seems like a no-brainer, but these days at Channel 6, it's truly a novel concept.)

Gotta like that attitude, which could eventually spur Knicely to do more than the occasional stunt story (John Gets Tasered) and/or prompt Cornell to move beyond her "Julie's Diary" features, which too often seem to involve Julie gracing some retarded, ill, orphaned, or handicapped kid with her presence.

Channel 3's Deb Ward and Greg Petersen must be gratified to see Madden joining the "working anchors" club: It's something they've been doing for quite a while now. For viewers desiring an improvement in the quality of local TV news, Madden's efforts are most welcome.

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