09 February 2010


There was an obituary in the morning paper for a gentleman you’ve probably never heard of, but who has had a major impact on the way you view television - that is, the news on television. His name is Frank Magrid and he developed the concept called “Action News” which resulted in “co-anchors who chatted between stories, fast-paced graphics, sports tickers and live shots, and a heavy reliance on crime coverage and feel-good segments.” Now I have no quarrel with the man or his idea, however, I do have a quarrel with the way it has been implemented around here (here being the Valley of the Sun). Mostly, it has to do with the time wasted broadcasting meaningless videos to support a story. “Fast-paced graphics," indeed!

As an example, a driver loses control and the vehicle plunges into a building; simple enough, except while listening to a description of the accident, which drones on and on, we are shown videos of the rear of the vehicle, then a shot of a nearby undamaged shrub, then a group of police cars parked on some street, followed up by a tow truck. Good grief! Please stop it! Just tell me succinctly that the accident occurred, whether or not anyone was hurt, the extent of the damage, if traffic is impeded in the area, show me one picture of the scene, and then get on to the next story. And please, please, please use the past tense when describing something that has already happened.

One channel here has the annoying habit of announcing “Weather Alert” when there is a thunderstorm in Minnesota or the threat of a tornado in Oklahoma. “Weather Alert”! Give me a break. That’s like the boy who cried “Wolf” in Aesop’s Fables, or wherever. If it’s not local, why should I go on the alert?

Co-anchors? Who stumble over who has the next line? Who needs them? Certainly not me. Please, one or the other of you just tell me the news in plain English. No inside jokes, no “pleasant” banter, just the news.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my request.

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