Friday, June 10, 2005

Keep It Tactful

That's what we keep reminding ourselves to do with this post.

See, there's this poor five-year-old kid who was badly injured a couple of years ago when he was attacked by a pit bull. Channel 6 has dutifully provided updates since then and has worked to draw attention to a fundraiser for the lad's reconstructive surgery. Fine, right?

The problem is that EVERY time John Knicely mentions the kid, he also mentions that the boy's "genitalia" were torn off in the attack. He always uses the word genitalia.

C'mon, John. Doesn't the little guy have enough problems without you reminding everyone that he has no testicles? Honestly, he's gonna be in school soon. Do you really think you're doing him a favor by continuing to bring up the exact nature of his injury?

For cryin' out loud, from now on, just say he was badly injured and leave it at that. Okay?


janetdoe said...

You have an excellent point, but the fact is John is not to blame. Knicely simply reads off the prompter what has been written for him by the producer. (A la Ron Burgundy: "He will read anything in the teleprompter... aaaannnnnyyyyy-thhhhiiiiinnnnngggggguhhhhhhh.")

Should he take the initiative and have the judgement to make this change on his own? Yes. He simply does not do such things.

King Vernon said...

Ja maar metioning dat hij geen ballen heeft is zo veel grappiger. It probably hurt like hell, but it did make me laugh. Er benötigt nicht Zicklein irgendwie, sie ist nichts aber Mühe.

Ted Brockman said...


Is this typical of anchors in this market...not writing their own copy? What do they do with the rest of their day?

If you could email me, that would be great.


Cogitor said...

Why should the A-team at SixNews be any different with this story than with the one several weeks back where Baltes -- that's "Paul Battles" if you're Shiela Brummer -- showed the parent of a murdered child (I think)? That wasn't tactful or necessary.

For that matter, why should WOWT be any different than KETV ( Did you check out Brandi's story with the grieving 12-year-old brother of the little boy killed by the bus in Council Bluffs? Nice (sarcasm).

janetdoe said...

Ted: Any passerby in the WOWT newsroom can tell you that John spends much of his time watching golf on the little TV at his desk.

I can't beleive it would be any secret that the producers write almost everything and determine what gets on the air. They control the content. Only when anchors ARE the producers do they regularly write anything themselves. That happens with Paul Baltes as the WOWT weekend producer and anchor, as well as Mallory Maddox on the noon show (as did Trey Jones and Thom Knight before her). However, even then it's mostly copying stories from prior newscasts verbatim.

Anchors generally could do MUCH MORE pre-reading and re-writing of scripts before seeing them in the prompter. Many anchors will "help" the producers and write a few things here and there, but by and large, it's all the producers.

Reporters do write their own stuff, obviously, although producers will savage their lead-ins and tags before the shows.

I get the impression that the general viewers really do think the anchors do most if not all of the writing. That's not what they are paid for. Some anchors have been in the trenches and are talented writers and judges of what information should go over the air. Most of them, though, are prompter readers that have only one job -- looking good.

Again, though, this is no great revelation. In the business, everyone knows who really does all the heavy lifting, and anchors are not the ones getting their hands dirty. it's the shooters, editors, reporters, production staff, and producers really making the whole thing go.

Ted Brockman said...


Pardon my ignorance, but I didn't know that the anchors were THAT uninvolved in writing. That's just plain pathetic. So, aside from Knicely watching golf, what does the typical workday look like for these people?

My broadcasting experience is limited to radio, and in radio (Omaha, anyway), the on-air types pretty much did all their own stuff and pieced together reports done by others, of course. It was nothing like what you're describing.

In Omaha radio, the term "producer" generally means "phone answerer/screener."

Again, if you'd email me, I'd like to pick your brain less publicly. I promise not to out you. It's not in my interest to do so.

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