Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sufferin' Succotash

• A producer at Channel 6 must have a sense of humor. What else could explain having lisping anchor Jim Siedlecki announce another inane "Top 6 List" that forced him to say "Top Six Cities for Shortest Commutes"? Even if there was no ulterior motive behind it, hearing Jimmy spray his way through the title provided a brief bit of entertainment in what has again become a monotonous broadcast.

• Someone needs to give an award to Journal Broadcasting for taming the hair of KMTV's females. The station that a year ago was a haven for all manner of bad cuts has, in the past few months, given anchors Deb Ward and Mary Weeyums considerably downsized coiffes. It's amazing how much easier these people are to watch when you're not distracted by hair that looks like storm damage.

• It may be a very long time before we complain about weekend anchor Suzanne Deyo, now that the geniuses at Channel 7 scared the shit out of us by plopping Fubar Fazal behind the anchor desk on Saturday. Does Fazal have pictures of management in compromising positions? Is she slobbin' somebody's knob? Why won't they stop subjecting viewers to this woman? She's not getting any better! We can think of at least a half-dozen KETV reporters who are better candidates for the anchor desk than Fubar. Why not use one of them?!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Such an Easy Target



How can anyone not love the Onion? It's even more lovable when it mocks local news claims of "non-stop news" and other such hype-laden bullshit. Or is it bullshit-laden hype?

10 O’Clock News Team Relying Heavily On Work Of 6 O’Clock News Team

Friday, August 25, 2006

"Big Turds of Poop": A Fubar Fazal Story

This item comes to us from an alert reader, who pointed us to a story we'd missed.

And who couldn't love a story that includes the phrase "big turds of poop," even if it were just in writing? The bonus is that there's video (at least until KETV decides to pull it).

We're not sure that the closeup shot of sewage was entirely necessary, but it's fitting that Channel 7 dispatched its shittiest reporter to cover a backed-up sewer. (At one point Fazal points to where a light pole was "until about this afternoon." About this afternoon, Fubar?)

You can find it all here.

6 News: Covering the Really Important Stuff

Friday's 6 p.m. newscasts at WOWT and KETV displayed an interesting contrast between the two stations.

KETV devoted the first six or seven minutes to the story regarding the state's attempt to fire Nebraska State Patrol officer Robert Henderson for his ties to the KKK.

WOWT, on the other hand, devoted only two or three minutes to that story so it could get to John Chapman's hard-hitting report about a gaggle of high school girls attending a football game at Millard South High School, parking at an adjacent apartment complex despite many no parking signs there, and —gasp— having their car towed.

"The girls were crying, so I'm crying too with them and I say 'what happed?' [sic] you know," a mom named Starla screeched during the piece.

Thank God WOWT news director John Clark has his priorities straight.

Patton Mentioned in Report on KKK Trooper

KMTV weekend anchor Devon Patton is mentioned in the arbitration decision released Friday by the Nebraska Attorney General's Office. The decision addresses the firing of a member Nebraska State Patrol who is alleged to be connected to the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, it appears that Trooper Robert Henderson's interactions with Patton indirectly led to the Patrol's discovery of Henderson's KKK ties.

Relevant excerpts from the decision:

In August of 2005, Sergeant Todd Kinghorn ("Kinghorn") was promoted to Lieutenant and trasferred from the sex-offendr registry to Internal Affairs. On August 26, 2005, Lt. Kinghorn received a Complaint Control Form (801 Form," "NSP 801," "801") from Captain Tom Schwarten alleging that the Grievant was abusing his authority and haraasing a black k man who was employed as a new [sic] anchor for a television station in Omaha, Nebraska. The Grievant had pulled-over the news anchor because the news anchor had been residing in Nebraska for more than thirty (30) days and had not yet obtained Nebraska license plates, as required by law. The Grievant issued the news anchor a warning. This same news anchor and the Grievant's fiancée worked for the same news organizaiton and there appears to have been some friction between the two coworkers. After being stopped by the Grievant, and being warned to obtain Nebraska license plates, the news anchor had lodged a complaint against the Grievant. The Agency conducted an investigation into the incident — including a review of the in-car video of the traffic stop that was the genesis of the allegation — and concluded that the Grievant had not engaged in any misconduct.

On October 17, 2005, Captain Lloyed Peters ("Peters") received information from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation ("KBI) that a law enforcement officer in Nebraska may have joined a website affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan ("KKK," "Klan"). The information provided by the KBI included mention of an incident that sounded to Management quite similar to the one involving the Grievant and the reporter from Omaha.

The report also quotes a Complaint Control Form, which in turn quotes a posting to a Knights Party message board, allegedly contributed by Henderson:

I have been in law enforcement for 23 yrs. My fiancee has been working in TV news locally for 8 yrs. A recent hired black anchor ie: they need people of color on the news desk, has been trying to get real friendly with her. But she has told him to leave her alone. She even complained to the higher up's. They told her not to cause trouble. So, I contacted him, the black anchor and old him the same thing. Leave her alone. I was very polite and kind about it. He complained to my Capt, that I was harassing him. I was found not to be thru and investigation by IA. But I was told not to contact him any more by my Capt. My fiancee went to an atty. That specializes in these matters. She was told the black card wins all the time. So she probably should start looking for another job, or just not say anything to anyone at work.

It is pretty bad when a person can not even complain about these things and they are told to stay away or not say anything. Over my 23 years in my job this sort of thing has been getting worse, not only at work, but also with suspects. Whites are loosing their rights slowly. It's sad. I pray about it. I hope my prayers get answered. White knight in Ne.

At the end of KMTV's coverage of the story during the 5 p.m. broadcast, anchor Greg Peterson acknowledged that the "news anchor" mentioned in the report was, indeed, Patton.

In the decision, the Arbitrator overturns Henderson's firing. The State is appealing, and State Senator Ernie Chambers is promising to pursue revocation of Henderson's law enforcement certificate.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Live. Local. Big and Thtupid.

Latest word mangled by a Channel 6 anchor: "Tourist."

Morning anchor/Loud-Talker/Gomer-Pyle-Lookalike Jim "Last Word" Thiedlecki pronounced it "tower-ist" several times on Thursday's broadcast.

But what could we reasonably expect from a guy who sounded so enthusiastic when tellling viewers about the October 24th "Cirque DAY Soleil" performance in Omaha?

The folks in Branson and thereabouts must really miss this hayseed.

Reed Continues to Shine; Fazal Festers

The first five minutes of KETV's 6 p.m. news on Thursday revealed everything you need to know about Channel 7.

The station dispatched its newest star, Kailyn Reed, to cover a developing story—a collision between a car and a kid-filled schoolbus. Reed delivered a clear, stumble-free, and apparently extemporaneous report and then conversed briefly with anchor Rob McCartney. It was one of the best spot-news reports we can remember seeing on any station in Omaha.

Not long after that, McCartney turned the proceedings over to Fubar Fazal, who, surprisingly didn't screw up her assignment, which was a mop-up job on a Wednesday story—OPS's latest misplacement of a kid on a bus. For Fazal, not screwing up a worthless story is a victory. Yay, team! Fubar didn't drive us into the ditch!

We'll give credit to KETV management: they at least had the good sense to send Reed out on the live story and consign Fubar to the re-hash desk. Why not go one step further and show Fubar the door?

Honestly. How is it that someone a year removed from college can go out and slam-dunk a story with little or no preparation, while another, allegedly with years of experience in the business, can only manage adequate work on stories that are so easy, even a high schooler could do them? Yes, Reed may be exceptionally strong for a virtual rookie. But, by the same token, Fubar is unbelievably weak for a veteran.

Disappearing Deyo

We hadn't meant to suggest that there was anything sinister in KETV's use of the chroma-key "Newsplex" background during a recent weekend newscast. Multiple sources have informed us that Channel 7 was re-tiling the floor of the real Newsplex and put Deyo against the greenscreen as a temporary fix. We did, however, enjoy the sight of Deyo vaporizing on-air. (Unfortunately, the clip has been removed from YouTube.)

Even if the entire Newsplex were chroma-keyed in every day of the year, you wouldn't hear us gripe, as long as it looked realistic. Anyone who's taken the NBC tour at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York knows that the newsroom behind Brian Williams is a repeating loop. (If you don't believe us, keep an eye out for the guy who pops into the left side of the scene, talks briefly with the person at the desk, and then leaves. So repetitive are his appearances that folks in the news division refer to him as the "hardest-working man in network news.")

More Ladendorff Info

Had we not seen the old KETV promo, the name of Marcia Ladendorff would have made us think of Tim Conway's "Dorf" character. [Shudder]

Several alert readers, however, have reminded us (a) how to spell her name—two Fs, and (b) that she spent time on CNN after leaving the Big O.

Armed with the proper spelling, we were able to locate a bio that fills in some gaps. As of a year ago, she was teaching at the University of North Florida. Here's the complete bio from zoominfo.com:

Marcia Ladendorff, assistant director of the Honors Program at the University of North Florida, came to academe after 22 years in the broadcast news business. During those two decades, she did everything possible in the newsroom, from reporting, anchoring, producing, and editing to even a short stint as a "weather girl."

She's flown through hurricanes, gone swimming with dolphins and sharks, and covered presidents and popes. She worked in markets all across the country, including Phoenix, Arizona; Rochester, New York; and Omaha, Nebraska.

Before coming to Jacksonville, she worked for the Cable News Network. Marcia was one of the original anchors for CNN, working out of Atlanta, Georgia. After the birth of her first child, she moved to Jacksonville where she spent seven years anchoring the 6 and 11 o'clock newscasts at the NBC affiliate, WTLV. She retired from broadcast news in 1993.

Today, Ladendorff is assistant director of the Honors Program at the University of North Florida and teaches Honors courses on media and their impact on our society and culture.

As a media consultant, she also conducts workshops and strategy sessions on how to work effectively with the news media. She is often called upon to conduct workshops on how to make effective presentations. She also occasionally takes on freelance writing projects.

As for her co-anchor in that promo, several folks have let us know that the chap's name is Allan Muse, another name we barely remember. If you have info on Muse, let us know.

Puzzle Half-Solved

An alert reader reminds us that one of the desk jockeys in the 1970s-vintage KETV promo is Omaha's first female anchor, Marcia Ladendorf, something we wouldn't have remembered if we'd had a hundred years to think about it. A very quick Google search turned up little recent info on her. Anyone know what became of Ms. Ladendorf?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Name These Anchors, If You Can

In our YouTube explorations, we came across this item, labeled "KETV Retro Promo." While we pride ourselves on knowing most anchors going back as far as Lee Terry, Sr., we have no idea who the two kids at the anchor desk are. Anyone know?

Playing Hide the Helmet

Oops. It appears KETV has been playing a little chroma-key background trick on viewers to inflate the look of its "Newsplex." Evidence? Click here for the screwup that let the cat out of the bag.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Separated at Birth: Auditory Edition




Mystery Man, "The Spleen" and WOWT's Rachel Pierthsch

Saturation Pandering

Please note August 21st as the date on which we lost our patience with the bickering-through-advertising being foisted on us by U.S. Senate candidates Ben Nelson and Pete Ricketts. Enough already.

If either of these guys had any sense, he'd make an ad saying, "I know you're sick of listening to us piss and moan about each other all the time. Therefore, starting on September 1, I am pulling all my ads off the air until one week before the election. Enjoy September and October. I'll see you again around the first of November!"

No, it'll never happen, but we can dream, can't we?

Honestly, though, does it really matter which multimillionaire ends up winning this thing? Won't they both end up caving to the same lobbyists and special interests anyway?

Why don't these two take all the money they were planning to spend on TV ads and give it to some worthy charity? Or the Ted Brockman Fund for More Extravagant Living?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Morning Nightmare

Talk about scary.

We awoke Saturday morning, flipped on the tube, and were plunged into an unexpected nightmare.

First, Channel 6 was running its usual weekend shitfest, only with an uglier-than-usual twist. Speech-impaired, fashion-challenged anchor Rachel Pierce showed up for work sporting perhaps the gaudiest, most-inappropriate, busy, deep-purple outfit we've ever seen on a TV newsperson. Wearing a giant purple beaded necklace and that awful hair, Pierce looked even more out of place than usual. There really aren't words for just how hideous it was. (We won't even get into her attempt to pronounce "unconstitutional," because that was at least entertaining.)

Seeking relief from the shower of spit, we flipped to Channel 7. What awaited us there was a lighter shade of purple—lavender, to be exact—being worn by stumbling stooge Fubar Fazal at the anchor desk. Alone. [Cue Little Richard: "Help me! Somebody help me!"]

We won't go into the details. It's just too painful. Suffice it to say that Fubar is as worthless at the anchor desk as she is as a reporter.

Every time we see something like this, we think Omaha television finally has hit bottom and that things will start to improve. But experience is starting to suggest that there is no bottom, given the hiring habits of these stations' management types.

Friday, August 18, 2006

If They Exerted Any Less Effort, The Screen Would Be Blank

Because we write so much about the almost constant screwups on Channel 6, there is always the temptation to forego writing about them, feeling as if we're piling on. But ignoring glaring incompetence and unprofessionalism would really defeat the purpose of this little enterprise, which is to shine some light on our local television news outlets.

Today's episode involves the "Live at Daybreak" gang. Unswervingly following their latest copycat gimmick—having a reporter live in the field—the kids at Daybreak had Unfrozen Caveman Reporter Mike Cronemeyer cover the "Ribfest" scheduled to open today in Council Bluffs. But because it was pouring rain between 5 and 7 a.m., Dronemeyer told viewers, the remote from C.B. was called off, so he was reporting from "about a foot" outside the station, standing under an umbrella.

Translation: We were all too damned lazy (or stupid) to (a) have a contigency plan and (b) come up with a creative solution in the pinch. So we just decided to have me stand outside the door and babble.

Meanwhile, in a demonstration of how to do a real program, KETV's FirstNews had a "Plan B" and brought the Ribfest folks into the studio to show off their delicacies.

Do you think anyone at WOWT is even the least bit embarrassed about this latest example of complacent lethargy?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Omaha's Daily Paper Adopts "Breaking News" Fetish

From Thursday afternoon:



This may be the most idiotic use of the "Breaking News" crutch we've seen yet. The great thing is that it's from a self-aggrandizing outfit that barely recognizes the existence of the medium it's now imitating.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Same Old Fubar

An alert reader informs us that Fubar Fazal, KETV's one-woman incompetence squad, was reporting from Harlan, Iowa on Wednesday night, covering the drowning at a lake there. One of her interviewees was Harlan's fire chief, whose last name is Bissen. But Fubar, rather than calling him by his given name, decided to refer to him as "Chief Harlan."

Just how bad do you have to be to get KETV management to pull your babbling ass off the air? It's not like this is WOWT, where foul-ups, bleeps, and blunders are standard procedure. If Channel 7 is serious about setting itself apart from Channel 6, it'll show Fubar the door and replace her with more talent like Kailyn Reed.

More Time to Reed

Aside from the Channel 6 "first response" event on Tuesday, the only other memorable item we've seen is the work of KETV's Kailyn Reed. We've decided Reed is the Anti-Fazal; she is everything that Fubar isn't. Attractive. Articulate. Poised. Intelligent.

We were with friends who'd not seen her before when one of them remarked, "She's way too good to be working in Omaha." Yeah. We know.

The Newspeople You Don't Trust

We've seen very little local TV the last few days, but on Tuesday morning, we did catch Channel 6's pathetic claim of having the first images of the scene on the West Dodge Expressway, where a construction worker fell 35 feet and suffered critical injuries.

Was it their "first response" team that pulled off this coup for the 8:55 Today Show cut-in? Nope. It was a shaky "CityCam" image—a shot in which one could vaguely make out flashing lights and rescue personnel. That's right: WOWT's "work" involved some stooge pointing a remote-control traffic camera at an accident site.

It was a splendid use of someone's tragedy to pad the station's cut-rate news operation. News director John Clark and Company must be awfully proud of this "journalism."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Even Ten Minutes a Day Is Too Much Channel Sux

Unable to bear the sight of cross-eyed Sheila Brummer in the afternoon/evening or the thound of a solo, loud-talking, know-it-all Jim Thiedlecki in the morning, we've avoided Channel 6 this week. Unfortunately, we twice made the mistake of not changing the station when we got in the car after someone else had left the radio on 87.7.

During Wednesday's "Live at Five" broadcast, when corpse impersonator Gary Smollen was "reporting live" from somewhere or other, the microwave signal went out, forcing brain-dead anchor John Knicely to ad-lib. It took a good ten or fifteen seconds for ol' John to put together a meaningful, relevant sentence.

During the same broadcast, Brummer identified the area of 42nd Street between F and L Streets—the location of a police search—as "midtown." Anyone who knows Omaha will tell you that's South Omaha.

(Sidenote: Why, when referring to the station website, does Brummer insist on referring to the web address as "Dubya-dubya-tee dot-com"? Isn't she forgetting a letter? She's been doing it for months; doesn't anyone mention this to her?)

This morning, during the 7:55 local cutaway from the Today Show, Thiedlecki referred to a chase that led to "an exchange of gunfire from both parties." Umm, doesn't the word exchange make it obvious that both parties were involved?

The piece de resistance, however, was weatherguesser Scott Akin's totally useless forecast. His first sentence suggested it would be raining at least through the morning, but the rest of his time was spent seemingly backing away from that statement. He showed radar images and said the rain had moved out of the metro area into Iowa and ended up saying that any rain would be "isolated."

So, Scott, it's gonna rain, unless it doesn't?

More and more we're convinced that WOWT's target viewer is blind, hearing-impaired, uneducated A.D.D. sufferers who don't really listen to what's coming out of the TV. Who else could take these people seriously?

Wichita Station Flirts With Sanity

In a move that should be emulated by every local station on the planet, Wichita station KSN has stopped using consultants for its newscasts.

That's what it says in this Wichita Eagle story.

Our two favorite lines:

• The new GM is quoted as saying, "'We're not going to do the same old stuff. We're just not going to do it.'"

• "He's told his consultants that their services are no longer needed."

Can you imagine anyone in the WOWT chain-of-command having the balls to say either of those things?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And You Thought the Dental Plan at Channel 6 Was Bad

"How stupid does one need to be to get a job reading the television news?"

With a first line like that, we said when we received an email recommending this essay from London's Sunday Times, it's gotta be good.

And it is. Among other things, it (sort of) reminds us why John Knicely remains on television year after year.

You can read the entire piece by clicking here: Stupidity Has Its Place

Readers Keep Beating Us to the Punch

A reach into the old OMANews mailbag reveals more discontnet among viewers. We pass along a few of our favorites...

One alert reader writes regarding KETV's Matt Schick:

He apparently has a blog and it's run in the Reader on line today.

He is like every other t-v sports reporter I've ever seen. They think they're overworked and never hesitate to waste a half hour to tell anyone who will listen how overworked they are. I mean, it's tough putting together three minutes of high quality volleyball reporting especially when you need to find some fan in the stands you can get a picture of so you can rip off Warner Wolfe and come up with a smug remark to show the fan's interest in the game.

It has been my personal observation that sports reporters are anything but overworked except when they linger too long at the omni-present free luncheons or dinners that precede virtually every sports event thus cutting short their time to come up with enough two syllable words to describe an incomplete pass.

They are fawned over and praised. They get to cover sports events for free and take glamour vacations to bowl games when their overworked day always includes a dozen shots of bikini clad co-eds frolicking in the surf.

Those poor overworked sports reporters. If they're so overworked I imagine they can change jobs with most any beer swigging, big gutted, fan parked in front of a t-v and a plate of wings who'd be willing to give up his left nougy to get out of the oil- change pit and cover any sports event, even soccer.

Anyway, poor overworked Schick is so overworked that he not only has time to keep a second by second diary of his overworked shift but then somehow manages to find time in his busy overworked day to put it in a blog.

As the wonderful Mike Royko used to say.."sports writers... the nice but slightly retarded members of the journalistic fraternity."

Another, however, reminds us that it's not just sports that features the retarded, noting the following:

On tonight's 10:00 news, John Knicely was wrapping up a sad story about a man killed by a drunken driver when he told us that one possibility under consideration to curb such incidents was "vehicle revocation." Not vehicle confiscation, not license revocation: "vehicle revocation." Maybe channel 6 will follow up tomorrow with a story about how this cutting edge law enforcement tool will work.

Amid all the guffaws over each other's on-air lame jokes, does anyone at that station ever stop to actually proofread their scripts?

Nor is such bumbling confined to any single station (despite WOWT's best efforts). According to one alert reader, Brandi Peterson "was doing the 11am news Saturday, and she mentioned what was coming up on Channel 7: "The Summer Ten Games"...not the Summer X Games, bless her heart." However, the subject line of this email is the real kicker: "Just don't put Brandi in front of a "Thirty" Bookstore."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Alert Reader Assists in Stowell Update


Where would this blog be without the assistance of our many alert readers. Less than 24 hours after our last post, we received info allowing us to provide more info about and a picture of new KMTV weekend anchor Kerri Stowell.

As mentioned previously, she is originally from the KC area, is a grad of UMKC, and her old KCAU station bio says she enjoys reading.

When is the last time WOWT or KETV hired someone who reads (without moving his/her lips)?

In a related development, a new weatherguesser showed up on KETV Saturday at 11 a.m. Her name is Candace Sorenson, and she does not appear to have spent much time reading.

Friday, August 04, 2006

KMTV Hires Weekend Anchor

An informed source tells us that Kerri Stowell from KCAU in Sioux City has been hired as weekend anchor and weekday reporter at Action3 News.

Stowell is originally from the Kansas City area and has been handling weekend anchor duties at KCAU since joining the station in May 2004. We'd tell more if we knew it, but KCAU has already removed her bio and pic from their website.

We can only hope that Stowell has been informed that she'll be responsible for seeing that her new co-anchor, Devon Patton, gets his tranquilizers before airtime.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Selective Highs?

An alert reader raises interesting questioins below. See what you think.

Having watched both 42 and 6 last night, I'm sorry that I did. I noticed that there is sometimes a nasty discrepancy between weather related high temperatures that both Pearsol and Flowers give to the viewing public regarding the high temperature of the day. Last night's instance of this was 42 giving us the recorded high temperature of the day as 84 degrees and WOWT giving us the reading of 80 degrees. It's rather interesting that Jim Flowers had forecast a high of 80 on the nose and this was the recorded high temperature that he gave.

I've noticed this glaring discrepancy before. I don't wish to point fingers at Jim Flowers or the Channel Six weather team, but the recorded numbers have been off before when compared with 3 and 7 as well as 42. Where are they getting these numbers? I thought that they all got them from the same place. Or do they go looking for other alternatives to make themselves look better in their forecasting skills. Apparently I'm wrong on this matter. I was wondering if anyone else noticed this and if there is an explanation of this by either 6 or any of the others.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Index Card Consumption Continues Despite Murrell Absence

Who the hell is Veronica Todd?

It has the ring of a soap opera name, but actually, it's the one attached to the airhead filling in for regular KETV morning airhead/traffic reporter Jana Murrell.

Like Murrell, Ford can't seem to speak without the aid of a trusty pink index card containing her lines.

Honestly, how hard is it to remember two or three traffic items? It's not as if these nitwits are trying to rattle off travel times like the half-dozen or so familiar to Chicago commuters.

And does KETV have a whole truckload of interchangeable idiots they can stick in this spot? Think about it: Murrell appears to have the I.Q. of a gerbil, and Todd's cranium seems equally vacant. Couldn't this job be done just as poorly by Laura Liggett?

Memo to KETV: We're not in Chicago. We don't even need a traffic reporter. But if you're gonna stick eye-candy on the air to talk about traffic, at least find eye-candy that has the skills of an average eighth-grader.

Weide Gets Scoop on Meuret

In his blog, The Reader's Media Notes, Sean Weide reports that former KETV reporter Trisha Meuret has taken a job in communications with Omaha jeweler Borsheim's.

Weide also includes information on KETV's attempts to fill the gap left by the departure of veteran reporter Tom Elser. For the time being, former intern Kailyn Reid has been enlisted to do some reporting until a permanent replacement can be found.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Picking Up the Mail

Coming back from vacation entails picking up all the mail that came during our absence. Several good items offer themselves up for sharing.

• One alert reader provides us with this link to a Lincoln Journal-Star review of "Don't Touch That Dial," Nebraska Educational Television's look back at the pioneers of local television in the state.

• While out of town, we happened upon a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature in which the paper's TV writer provided answers to readers' questions. One such reader asked,

It is just me, or is KDKA news so anxious to get breaking news on the air that they don't get the facts? Watching Channel 2 late last week, they reported a drowning in Dormont pool around 4:30. Around 5:30 it was reported as a near-drowning. To me a drowning means someone has died. A near-drowning means they are not dead. Not to pick on only Channel 2, but they reported last night a man had to have his arm amputated after being hit by a bus in the Strip District. I found out this morning that was not the case. Facts seem to be an afterthought.

In an eerie parallel, we received the following from one of our readers on Sunday:

10pm Sunday Jul 30
WOWT
Breaking News - Top Story..
Paul Baltes: "We begin tonight with local breaking news... Within the hour paramedics were called to a Council Bluffs pool to save a child who had apparently drowned..."

Cut to Rebecca Kleeman at the scene:
"Blah...blah...blah...
We're on Rue Street in the Council Bluffs... blah... blah... blah...
We do know this is a 2 year old...and was taken to the hospital in very critical condition...
Blah... blah... blah...
Again a two year old in Council Bluffs... an apparent drowning... and we're hearing this child is in very critical condition... Jamie?"

Mmmmm...
drown (past and past participle drowned, present participle drown·ing, 3rd person present singular drowns)
1. transitive and intransitive verb die by immersion in water: to die by immersion and usually suffocation in water or other liquid, or kill a person or animal in this way. Death occurs either from lack of oxygen or as a result of cardiac arrest from the lowered body temperature. death by drowning

Mmmmm...
How the hell could a child who drowned be saved by the paramedics and/or be in extremely critical condition?

I'm thinkin' the term, "victim of a near drowning" would have been more accurate considering there was no word as to whether the child had died at the time of the report.

Uncanny, huh? Just to show that it's not an isolated incident at Channel 6, we'll note that Tuesday morning found lishpy reporter Rachel Pierce proclaiming that four people had been killed, two of them confirmed, in a house fire in South Omaha. And yes, that's exactly how she delivered it.

• Yet another alert reader sends this report from masslive.com regarding former KMTV meteorologist Tom Bevacqua:

SPRINGFIELD - Tom Bevacqua, chief meteorologist of abc40, has announced that he will retire on Aug. 31.

"We'd like to thank Tom for his remarkable service to the station and wish him well in the next chapter of his life," General Manager Will Meyl said in a statement. "He's been a trusted friend to Springfield viewers since 1993."

The Greenfield resident came to the station in September 1993 from KMTV in Omaha, Neb. He is on the faculty at Greenfield High School, where he will continue to teach courses in geography, news and meteorology.

We've included the picture from the abc40 website for readers who may not remember Bevacqua or his hairpieces.

• Finally, our favorite alert reader email, ever:

Tonight I was treated to how the heat is a big enemy to our pets. Gripping story.....But the video wrapped up with an over-extended view of a pitbull lickin' his junk close-up. Thanks WOWT!

Now, back to work.
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