Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Merit

We go through this every so often, but it's been a while.


From time to time, what typically happens is that we make comments about someone's on-air work or goofy affectation and we're deluged with emails saying things like, "But he's a really nice guy," or "She looks great."


Therefore, we'll say it again. The perspective we offer here is that of the viewer, and our comments are based on the product that stations present on-air. It doesn't matter what the TV person is like behind the scenes. That doesn't improve the viewing experience one bit if the anchor or reporter can't pronounce Hernandez or slaps on a ridiculous and distracting amount of eyeshadow.


So while it's sweet that many who know him find J-Pa Knicely to be a pleasant fellow, the fact of the matter is that he is a joke as a news anchor. No one in this market seems more uncomfortable with transitions or unscripted conversation.


And while Maltard Maddox may be physically attractive, she typically has all the gravitas of a high school cheerleader and vocal delivery to match. If she spent as much time learning to pronounce gang and look as she spends on her thrice-a-year curling iron attacks, she might be someone we could take seriously.

Monday, March 29, 2010

News

Breaking stories on this morning's SuxNews Daybreak program:


Maltard Maddox's hair is back to normal and, according to Maltard, she doesn't want to "spind twinny becks" to see Hawt Teb Time Machine.


Meanwhile, Jimmy Thiedlecki reports hearing that Hot Tub is about as funny as The Hangover.


No wonder folks in the Heartland turn to SuxNews.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Farrah?

It's bad enough that morning blabberer Maltard Maddox is filling in at 10 p.m. this week in Tracy Madden's absence.

But then she decided to, like, play dress-up with her girlfriends and they, like, curled each other's hair and stuff, and talked about boys, and it was, like, SO much fun! It was just like getting ready for, like, prom or something!!! And then she, like, went on the air and we're like, OMG! Look how grown-up she looks, and like, wow! It's, like, we can't even believe she's, like on TV! Can you even believe it?!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Squeeze

SuxNews's Nadia Singh is subbing this week for regular morning blabberer Maltard Maddox, who is subbing for evening anchor Tracy Madden, who is on vacation. 


There are plenty of things wrong with that picture, although we're not sure the morning arrangement is any worse than Maltard's usual festival of nasally, twisted pronunciations. 


But someone might want to tell Singh to stop waving her arms as if she's trying to signal passing aircraft. Her gesticulations, which sent her hands as high as her chin Thursday morning, are even more pronounced than those of evening anchordolt J-Pa Knicely, whose mitts habitually dart in and out of his headshots.


Our second suggestion would be that, if it's truly essential for Singh to be wearing a leather jacket at the anchor desk, someone should get her one that fits, rather than trying to pack her like a parachute into the one she wore this morning. Given management's desire to run newscasts with minimal off-camera personnel, that should free up at least a couple of staffers.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Exit

For those of you who've been wondering what became of KETV reporter and weekend morning anchor Marla Rabe, sources tell us that she has not only left the building, she has left the biz. There's something about more money and better hours that attracts people. 


No word on the nature of her new career.


Rabe's departure is a loss for the station, which has done a good job in recent years of hiring and cultivating talent. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spread

Suxism, our new term for the worst habits of local TV news stations both here and across the country, is slithering into print journalism more and more often. 


Cartoonist/blogger Neal Obermeyer of Lincoln points out an AP story about Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning's claims that the health care reform measure passed on Sunday is unconstitutional.


In a post entitled, "Your Liberal Media at Work," Obermeyer names those quoted in the story—four Republicans (or their spokespersons), all of whom oppose reform—and then adds, "You know who wasn’t interviewed for a story on the constitutionality of the healthcare bill? An expert on constitutional law."


Such is life in the "Heartland."


You can find Obermeyer's blog here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Judgment

Do you suppose anyone at SuxNews thought it might not be a good idea to have your personnel grinning beneath this headline on one of the station's Facebook pages?























Apparently not.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leadership

An oft-run promo on WOWT gushes that the station is the first in the area offering full HD.


After Wednesday's day-long debacle—"technical difficulties" that shut down the "Daybreak" program and severely handicapped newscasts for the remainder of the day—the SuxNews braintrust might want to craft a new message celebrating the "Heartland's" first full HD meltdown.


This seems to be a case of chickens coming home to roost. A December story on Broadcast Engineering's website features Jim Ocon, Gray TV's VP for technology, bragging that “in Omaha, we are running newscasts with as few as two people. . . . Compare that to other similarly sized stations that require 10 people to put a comparable show on-air.” 


Who could've predicted that cutting corners so dramatically could result in problems?


Given the cluelessness of the suits at Gray, the cluelessness of its on-air team makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Down

It's hard to remember better 6-7 a.m. SuxNews programming than what aired today.


We'll let an alert reader describe this unexpected treat:
This morning I woke up and instead of the Daybreak news they had the live feed of the Today Show with a message saying they were experiencing technical difficulty but not to worry, you could see the latest news on WOWT.com. 
So I hit the rewind on the DVR to see what was going on and it was just plain bizarre. They were doing their "normal" morning news when suddenly Ms Maddox announced they were experiencing technical issues and to stick with them. 
Then you had several minutes of a WOWT logo before weather guy Rusty Lord appeared on the screen, sitting down, talking to the camera for a couple minutes...But with no sound whatsoever. Very weird.
Several more minutes of the WOWT logo before Maddox and Siedlecki appeared on the screen, talking to the camera...Again with no sound.
That was when they finally switched over to the Today Show.
Needless to say, they really outdid themselves this morning. And the sad part is that every single one of them will still be on the job tomorrow morning.
As far as we're concerned, they can air the first hour of "Today" twice a day, every day. If we're to be subjected to the same program two hours in a row, we'd much rather watch a professional operation than the self-absorbed, lithping, diction-challenged nitwits from the local outfit.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fake

An alert reader sends us this link to a cracked.com piece entitled "5 Things the Media Loves Pretending Are News."


Several are similar to the sorts of crap we rail about here, including "Let's Ask the Idiots about Science, "Now for the Weather," and "Passing Advertisements off as News."


There are many wonderful and amazing things about living in the 21st century. Shitty news reporting—especially the local stuff—isn't among them.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Controversy

Tribune Company executive Randy Michaels is under fire from TV news types after a news director in Chicago passed along Michaels' list of phrases he no longer wants to hear on Tribune-owned stations.


The list (below) was disseminated by WGN's Charlie Meyerson to his Chicago underlings, and the blowback on assorted media blogs has been colorful, to say the least.


Critics are right to suggest that the head of a company in bankruptcy ought to have other things to do than micromanage news copy. And his additional request—that employees keep a log of co-workers' trangressions—borders on madness. 


But we'd welcome a little more corporate involvement locally, where we've watched the quality of several once-respectable local stations evaporate in recent years.


That kind of increased scrutiny might (one would think) lead to (A) the firing of all but about three on-air staff members at SuxNews and probably a third of those at the other stations, or (B) a significant improvement in local news.


What's not to like in that?


Here's the list. Suggestions we consider idiotic or unnecessary are red. Those with particular applicability are blue. Our comments are in green.

“Flee” meaning “run away”
“Good” or “bad” news
“Laud” meaning “praise”
“Seek” meaning “look for”
“Some” meaning “about”
“Two to one margin” . . . “Two to one” is a ratio, not a margin. A margin is measured in points. It’s not a ratio.
“Yesterday” in a lead sentence
“Youth” meaning “child”
5 a.m. in the morning
After the break
After these commercial messages
Aftermath
All of you
Allegations
Alleged
Area residents
As expected
At risk
At this point in time
Authorities
Auto accident
Bare naked
Behind bars
Behind closed doors
Behind the podium (you mean lecturn) [sic]
Best kept secret
Campaign trail
Clash with police
Close proximity
Complete surprise
Completely destroyed, completely abolished, completely finished or any other completely redundant use
Death toll
Definitely possible
Diva
Down in (location)
Down there
Dubbaya when you mean double you [This means you, SuxNews.]
Everybody (when referring to the audience) 
Eye Rack or Eye Ran
False pretenses
Famed
Fatal death
Fled on foot
Folks
Giving 110%
Going forward
Gunman, especially lone gunman
Guys
Hunnert when you mean hundred [Pay attention, Maltard!]
Icon
In a surprise move
In harm’s way
In other news
In the wake of (unless it’s a boating story)
Incarcerated
Informed sources say . . .
Killing spree
Legendary
Lend a helping hand
Literally
Lucky to be alive
Manhunt
Marred
Medical hospital
Mother of all (anything)
Motorist
Mute point. (It’s moot point, but don’t say that either)
Near miss
No brainer
Officials
Our top story tonight
Out in (location)
Out there
Over in
Pedestrian
Perfect storm
Perished
Perpetrator
Plagued
Really
Reeling
Reportedly
Seek
Senseless murder
Shots rang out
Shower activity
Sketchy details
Some (meaning about)
Some of you
Sources say . . .
Speaking out
Stay tuned
The fact of the matter
Those of you
Thus
Time for a break
To be fair
Torrential rain
Touch base
Under fire
Under siege
Underwent surgery
Undisclosed
Undocumented alien
Unrest
Untimely death
Up in (location)
Up there
Utilize (you mean use)
Vehicle
We’ll be right back
Welcome back
Welcome back everybody
We’ll be back
Went terribly wrong
We’re back
White stuff
World class
You folks

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tin-Eared

If the Peabody Awards committee ever bestows a prize for incompetence, Channel Sux should submit a tape of Wednesday's "Daybreak" program. 


Among the highlights of just one half-hour:
  • Rusty Lord warning that showers Wednesday night "could be a little more heavier";
  • Use of the term "Weathermaker" to describe what is essentially a forecast map;
  • Nadia Singh, standing at 120th and L Streets for no apparent reason, saying Nebraska could join "19 other states, including the District of Columbia" in adopting a law against texting while driving;
  • Maltard Maddox, referring to a Tuesday night "gain fight" (that's gang fight in regular-people talk); and
  • When Maltard finished a story about "bedge-itt ketts" eliminating jobs at UNL's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Jimmy Thiedlecki's jumped in with this nonsequitir: "That was a really big business card to begin with!" [Good one, Captain Cornpone! You're like a hillbilly Oscar Wilde. And people losing their jobs is always an early morning knee-thlapper.]
It was during this same 30-minute span that we were able to catch the latest Channel Sux promo, which urges viewers on Facebook to "become a fan of the Channel Six page!"


Really? A fan of a station's page? Or a fan of a station? Do the people who write this crap even know what Facebook is?


Oh how we hope there's an especially miserable corner of Hell reserved for every nitwit who helps churn this sludge out day after day.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Horror

KETV took its turn on the stupidmobile during Sunday night's post-Oscar broadcast.


"What's on your makeup brush?" was the tease leading up to the piece, reported by the station's consumer reporter, Kristi Andersen.


It was hard for us to figure out why anyone thought this was a news story, until well into the report, which featured appearances by a dermatologist who advertises on the station and the founder of an Omaha company that sells a $59 brush designed to mitigate whatever supposed catastrophes lie waiting in regular brushes.


Apparently conjuring up crises designed to boost clients' fortunes is what it takes to cram five minutes of real news into a sixty-minute time slot. 

Oscar

On Sunday evening, when an Oscar winner thanked some Omahans in his acceptance speech, were we the only ones who thought we heard local newspaper columnist Mike Kelley crap himself? 

No one seems more obsessed with pointing out every mention the city receives, no matter the size, so a shout-out on a live Oscar telecast must've sent the poor guy right to the underwear drawer.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tasteless

Now, we know we'll be accused of picking on Channel Sux, but the facts speak for themselves.


All four local stations reported on the horrible case in which a woman is accused of leaving her dog outside without food and allowing the animal to either freeze or starve to death. 


To draw attention to the story, the Nebraska Humane Society released photos of the dog and the doghouse in which it died, which all seem to have used.


KETV Newswatch 7's Melissa Fry handled the story for her station and photographs of the dog were pixelated so as to spare viewers the stomach-turning sight. Kudos to her.


KPTM's gave the story to reporter Jenny Nowatzke, who also chose not to shock viewers with the most graphic of the photos. Good work.


A check of KMTV's website displayed no video of the story, so we don't know how the photos were handled. Given that longtime reporter Kathy Sarantos-Niver filed the story, it's hard to imagine that she felt the need to sensationalize the dog's suffering. Who knows?


But then there's SuxNews. Perhaps it was too much work for them to pixelate the close-ups of the dog. Maybe it was just another of the all-too-plentiful "technical glitches" associated with the ultra-high-tech equipment their promos are always bragging about.


No matter how you spin it, it's hard to find an acceptable excuse for dimwit Brian Latham augmenting his mumbly report with up-close, unpixelated pictures of the animal curled up and frozen to the bottom of its doghouse. And there was no warning for viewers that the content might be disturbing. Nothing.


Compounding the offense, the station plastered a similarly graphic still shot of the dog in the "Latest Headlines" rotation on its "web channel," again without providing any sort of opportunity for visitors to avoid being ambushed.


This sort of gross incompetence and unprofessional work is a prime example of why we hammer this station so frequently. They make it easier every time they hire inferior talent, engage in what one alert reader calls "intellectual dishonesty," and air anything they have lying around, just to fill another few minutes of airtime. 


Television stations are supposedly to be operated "in the public interest." Exactly how is that interest served when a station airs this kind of shoddy, shocking work?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jimmy Thiedlecki Name of the Day

Kudos to the Channel Sux producer who must've thought it'd be a hoot to hear Jimmy thay the name of a thity hard hit by the Thaturday earthquake in Chile: kun-THEP-thee-yone. It's Concepcion in regular-talk.

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