Wednesday, June 2, 2010

not eye-ight...

This is just a schmeducated guess, but I'm pretty sure most people who have the Internet no longer turn to broadcast news to get their information. Which may explain why local broadcast outlets even attempt to keep Web sites these days. The only problem is that, instead of featuring clips of what they're good OK at (broadcasting), they choose to feature clips of what they're really, really bad at -- written news.

Remember when I postulated that WUSA9 weatherman Topper Shutt's blog was written by a 5-year-old? Well, that was being nice. After all, some 3-year-olds in Asia can solve Rubik's cubes in under 2 minutes. So, really, telling someone they have the writing skills of a kindergartner isn't necessarily an insult. If we were in China, it might even be a compliment!

However, we're firmly in America where kids are only good at one thing -- posting photos of themselves on Flickr taking shots of vodka THROUGH THEIR EYES. But at least that's original, unlike WUSA9's Web reporting, much of which is simply regurgitated national news stories. And their report on the aforementioned subject of "eyeballing" is no exception. (Very similar stories were reported days earlier, including on WTOP and in a Washington Post blog, both of which also failed to put a true local spin on things.)

The really sad thing, though, is that WUSA9 (or WTOP) could've used this as a starting point to do an original, perhaps even interesting story. For instance, duh, I dunno, how's about reporting on how this "fad" (WUSA9's word) affects local teens? Seriously, sometimes I wonder how some local news affiliates stay in business, while I remain a reporter without a steady place to report, at least when it comes to hard news. But honestly, I think even to non-reporters, putting a local spin on a national story seems like the obvious choice for a LOCAL news outlet.

And, for the record, I want to point out to WUSA9 that including a paragraph full of incomplete local statistics (they only "reported" on Virginia) doesn't count as local reporting to people who haven't severely damaged their brains by pouring liquor into their oculi. Sure, 76 percent of Virginia's high school seniors may drink, but what percentage imbibes their drinks through their eyes?

Oh, but wait. That would require WUSA9 to do its job properly and actually report, which as evidenced by the sh*t they try to pass off as news items, could be a difficult task. For instance, setting aside that WUSA9 told us absolutely nothing new in their article, take a look at this particular line:

"[Dr. Stephen] Glasser says the damage can be done in one sitting, if the person does it enough times to cause damage."

OK, let me see if I got this right: Causing damage causes damage? Is that what you're saying, WUSA9? IS IT?! Because in a world where brevity can earn you millions of dollars (see: Twitter), wasting 84 characters on that line is just f*cking stupid. Either that, or this Dr. Glasser the article references specializes in obvious. "Why yes, Mr. Smith. It seems your cancer is causing your cancer!" Uh-huh. Yeah... For some reason, I'm apt to think that line isn't the doctor's fault...

But, like I said, who cares? Knit-picking over failed use of quotations and retarded redundancy is just the poo-flavored icing on the asscake that is local broadcast news' presence on the Web.

The only excuse, I think, for even posting something so pointless would be that whoever wrote cut and pasted and [shchm]edited that article was just wasted. I hear you get a wicked high from "eyeballing." (And no, I didn't learn that by trying it. I appreciate vision.) Although, considering WUSA9 seems to lag behind other local news outlets, I'm guessing they're still reeling over there about 2008's big idiot fad, anal beer bong...

And yes, that show, The Doctors, is aired on WUSA9. Surprise!


Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...


Why don't they just put up netcasts of their broadcasts, along with the ads that they show on cable? Add those views to the Nielson numbers, and shop those numbers to their advertisers?

Or is that just too sensible?

Marissa said...

Way too sensible...