SEVEN NIGHTS A WEEK! THREE-HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE DAYS A YEAR! THE LOCAL NEWS! BRINGING YOU THE STORIES THAT MATTER MOST...TO YOU!!! LOCAL STORIES! NATIONAL STORIES! SPORTS AND THE WEATHER! ALL BROUGHT TO LIVE! RIGHT NOW!!!!!
Just The Facts
There is no bias in local news.
If it bleeds, it leads. Unless we don't have video of it. In that case whatever we have video of leads.
"Dog Bites Man" IS actually bigger news than "Man Bites Dog" despite rumors to the contrary.
If the public isn't scared than we're doing our jobs wrong.
What is this local news thing anyway?
NEWS THATIS LOCAL! Well, actually most of it is national news repackaged as local. But you do get a local celebrity telling you the news and staring at you with their cold, dead eyes. And the weather is slightly more accurate.
OVER EMPHASIZING EVERYTHING FOR RATINGS! Everything is the end of the world, life or death, don't touch that dial or you and you whole family will be eaten by rabid badgers before the next commercial break. And speaking of commercials wouldn't you like to go to that nice local restaurant that is advertising right now, or maybe that annoying car-dealership with the hot blond? Please go! We need the money! If they stop advertising they'll fire all of us.
THERE IS NO BIAS! From the left to the right people keep complaining that there is some horrible bias in local news. STOP CONFUSING LOCAL NEWS WITH THE 24/7 NETWORK PUNDITS YOU RETARDS! Pundits are paid to have bombastic opinions to get people angry. The local news people are paid to keep you watching through the next commercial break.
YES THERE IS BIAS! So yes, there is bias. The same bias that exists in every other place in this country, the kind that exists in between the ears of the people that create the news. Liberals will lean left. Conservatives will lean right. But wait, it gets better. Star Trek nerds will find stories about Star Trek. Comic nerds will find stories about comics. Vegans will find stories about meat being bad. Hunters will find stories about how awesome it is to kill and eat an animal. A Democrat will search to find a picture of George W. Bush that looks like a retarded monkey (an easy thing to do.), while a Republican will search for a picture that make Nancy Pelosi look like a skeletal she-hag that crawled from the Stygian depths of Hell (also an easy thing to do.)
Worst romantic comedy EVER!
How Local News is made
LOCAL STORY WITH VIDEO! We open the show with something cool, like fire or some stupid kid wandering into traffic. Something tragic and local, or at least within driving distance. BUT ONLY IF THE STATION GOT VIDEO. If there is no video it doesn't exist. Nope. Not at all. There might be video tomorrow and then and only then will it reach air.
NATIONAL STORY BEATEN TO DEATH! Since on any given day there aren't enough murders in your average town to fill the whole broadcast they then add whatever the big national story is for the day. You know, the story you already saw covered in detail on the national news. But hey! Maybe there's a local angle. Some poor idiot wants to yell at our cameras about "the gov'mint" That would fill some time!
ALMOST REAL NEWS STORIES CULLED FROM THE WIRES! Don't touch that dial! There's more to come. Like a bunch of stories they pretend are news. Stories culled from the wires, which is a fancy way of saying "We don't have to do any work". These are stories from other affiliates around the country, or from the Network's own specialized departments. These are the stories about RECALLS and HEALTH. Stories about psuedoscientific studies that will be refuted on air a month later. Also MURDER. But only if it's really really gruesome. Then people don't care where it happened. They can stare at the screens and cluck their tongues and say, "At least that doesn't happen here."
FEATURE! This is an in depth analysis of stuff. This is what the reporters spend their time doing when they aren't chasing Breaking News. Also known as Resume Pieces.
FLUFF!!! Wait! Don't Go! There's happy stuff too! Like, like...um...this puppy! Or perhaps you like videos from the interwebs. Yeah, you do, don't you? Maybe a disabled soldier with a disabled puppy! Celebrity gossip, you like that? Or a water skiing squirrel? This stuff is actually carefully calculated to keep you watching and act like an after dinner mint to all the harsh real news.
HOLY CRAP!!! BREAKING NEWS!!!!! We don't know what it is or really what happened but we'll tell you anyway because God help us if the competition got there first. FUN FACT: Most "Breaking News" happened hours before the newscast but we're just going to pretend it's something that just happened. And we like nothing better than Breaking News except for...
HOLY CRAP!!! BREAKING WEATHER!!!!! Weather is happening alright. You and whole family are going to die unless you stay tuned to our network. Whether it be a snow in winter or thunderstorms in spring we'll sensationalize the crap out of it. Sometimes even starting hours and days before any weather is actually near the state.
AND VIEWERS LIKE YOU! But what does the average Joe Six-tooth think? We want to hear from you! So we throw mindless phone/internet polls on the air to pretend like we care about your opinion. We don't. Because the average intelligent viewer just watches while only flaming retards enjoy having their opinions pop on screen. The likes of Twitter have only made this worse.
I think, dear sir, that you will find that Descartes meditations on the freedom of man are certainly applicable in this current congressional debate.
WX! That's weather to you layman. In TV there's no time for full words, so it gets abv. WX. (likewise health is HX and so on) Weather! That thing that's outside. Some guy or gal standing in front of a green screen telling you what the computers told them to tell you. Often times this is the only part of the broadcast that anyone actually cares about. That's why they make you wait through all the other crap to get here. And usually they're only about as accurate as an old man's trick knee acting up.
SPORTS! Depending on what part of the country you live in this is either the most important or the least. Some guy wearing a suit jacket, tie, and Bermuda shorts gives you the highlights from all the local games you already watched if you actually cared about them.
GOOD BYE! We're out of time, but we have to get so many commercial breaks in to make rent this month so we come back for a few seconds to wave at the camera and pretend we have souls.
Who's Responsible for this Mess
ANCHORS! The people that sit at the desk and read the news. Once mighty journalists and spokes models these people are hired on their looks and their ability to sound good. Not their brains. The ability to seamlessly, and shamelessly, slip between tragic news and fluffy news is a big plus.
Common misconception is that they write everything they read. They don't. They do *edit* everything they read. Adding "emphasis" marks to remind them how to read it, and paring down the words to make it more natural sounding. More often than not they just remove all meaning from the story and it comes out a muddled mess. They have also been know to delete names they can't pronounce.
WX! Depending on where in the country you are this is either the easiest job or the hardest. Weather is a wild untamed beast and these brave folks try and tame it. Well, really they just look at data extrapolated from varies computers and make the best guess they can. So while the anchors are sitting there prattling away the weather person is off TRYING TO PREDICT THE FUTURE.
Partially Sunny with a 40% chance of rain.
SPORTS! Stuck at the end of the show where only those that really care will watch. Guys(it's always a guy) who have an aversion to wearing pants show you highlights to games you would watched if you cared. A dream job for many. You sit around and watch sports all day then talk about it for 2-10 minutes depending on what region of the country you're in. All sports guys secretly want to be commentators on ESPN, so they practice their cutesy euphemisms constantly.
Has anyone not seen this?
REPORTERS! People who actually make the news. The closest local news gets to real journalism. These people go live to the stories. Write their own scripts. Do their own interviews. They bravely stand out in the cold and rain to tell you how cold and rainy it is outside. They stand in front of dark buildings where just hours ago something actually happened. On the front lines and the bottom rung of the News ladder.
PHOTAGS! Pronounced "Foe-togg". The photographers. The people that follow the reporters around and point the very expensive equipment at things. You know...things.
PRODUCERS! The people behind the scene who actually make the show. A producer writes the show and decides what hits the air or not. (Baring any technical difficulties.) Even though most of what they "write" is just rewritten stories from the wires or introductions to reporter made stories. Still, they do a lot of writing. Once the show starts the producer's main job is to make sure every RED ZONE is hit. (see below)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER! In charge of all the producers. Sets the tone for the shows and is supposedly there to catch mistakes before they hit air. The very definition of middle management.
NEWS DIRECTOR! The head honcho. The Big Cheese. The Chief Retard. Entity in charge of everything. Decides how the shows will look and feel. More often than not if you think that a news station is doing something stupid this is the person to blame.
And the Rest...
That's it. No one else is needed to make a show happen. Except for all the myriad of grunts behind the scenes that are needed to make a show happen. You know, the underpaid but actually skilled people behind the camera. Anyone even slightly photogenic can read the news as an anchor, but these people make that work.
DIRECTORS: Come in both regular and technical. They push the buttons or call for the buttons to be pushed. And shouting lots of shouting.
EDITORS: Take the video from all the sources and the poorly organized file system and make sure that the news isn't just some talking head reading at you.
Audio: Pushes buttons and slides levers around to make sure you can hear the information that will save your life! (after the next break.)
Chyron: Sometimes called graphics. Controls a little malevolent machine that puts graphics/keys/lower thirds on the air so you know what story you're watching and who that politician is that's talking.
VIDEO: A glorified VCR setup. Nowadays run entirely on a computer(which never glitches). Makes sure the video that the editors make hits air right.
GRAPHICS: Those little pictures that hover right near the anchor's ears had to be made by some one. They scour the internet for interesting pictures they whittle them down into something that won't shock granny watching at home.
FLOOR CREW: Those cameras don't run themselves. Well...sometimes they do, but that's too expensive for most local stations. So they hire someone to stand behind the camera and hopefully point it at the person/place/thing talking.
FLOOR DIRECTOR: A vanishing position. Stands next to the people standing behind the cameras and points the anchors to which camera they need to be looking at. Also shouts out the time until the commercial break is over so the anchors can run pee as fast as their little legs can carry them.
TELEPROMPTER: The anchors don't memorize all those scripts they mangle. There sits a person at a computer which slowly scrolls through the entire script so the anchors can read it on air. In yee olden days that was literally pieces of paper taped together and scrolled through a light projector. Also the most boring job at any station.
ENGINEERS: If a station doesn't have a technical wizard constantly repairing the equipment with duct tape and dreams then a station won't have equipment for very long.
MASTERCONTROL: Like most institutions the most important job is usually at the lowest rung of the ladder. Master Control is where they make sure that an actual television signal is being sent out so the folks at home can watch. They make sure that those all important commercials hit air at the time they were paid for and that Seinfeld reruns air correctly.
OMG! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! RATINGS RATINGS RATINGS! TV station live and die by ratings. Literally. Good ratings mean more commercials which equal more money. There are four ratings periods a year. During this time all the news stations run around like decapitated chickens trying to do the same job they do the rest of the year...only harder.
RED ZONES! Are mysteriously things tied to ratings. They are a voodoo science that was cooked up by consultants to have something to complain about. The theory is simple. So long as all the networks have the same thing on at the same time then no one will flip through the channels. Have you ever flipped around the news stations during a commercial break just to find that they're all in commercial breaks? You can blame this whole Red Zone idea.
CONSULTANTS! Since obviously we can't trust our own people to have intelligent opinions we bring in failed news directors and failed producers to come and tell us what we're doing wrong. Mostly they just make stuff up so they can get paid and come back again and tell the station to fix the changes they made last time. This cycle has been going on since broadcast news has been invented and no one in management has seen through the scam yet!
This will never play in the sticks! Add more cleavage!
The Future of Local News
ONLINE! The interwebs, once thought a fad that legitimate news sources would never touch has become important, though no one can really explain why without using meaningless buzzwords. Every station has a website where they post their stories and video so you don't have to watch it on TV. Wait! Stop! Watch it on TV! Why? It's better on TV...for some reason. Also there is little to no money generated from the website but every TV station will push it on you like their lives depended on it.
SOCIAL MEDIA! If the News stations are into it then it's five years too late, but they'll pimp their involvement as if they are on the bleeding edge. They claim that it's a good way for the on-air personalities to connect with the viewers, but really it's just an excuse to screw around online all day.
TWITTER! Deserves it's own special section for the Hell it has unleashed. Your average viewer will sit and watch the news and be done, but there will always be those special individuals that feel the need to add their voice to the throng. Twitter has allowed the unwashed masses to comment on everything from celebrity gossip the latest congressional debate. And viewers who do so have the collective intelligence of a sack full of dead monkeys. All Twitter news comments boil down to "Bad things are bad","Good things are good." and the normal Hitler name calling you'd expect from the internet.
AUGMENTED REALITY! The next thing, or so the experts would have us believe. That means that news stations will adopt the technology five years past relevancy. The overly simplified version is that AR(as all the cool kids are calling it) is supposed to allow someone to use a mobile device to find out information about something just by looking at it. Imagine what you Local News could do with such technology. Scan a place to see the crime rate! Look up items in a store to see if their are any hazards or recalls involved! Get instant reviews of local restaurants! Find out where your least favorite politician is and form a flash mob protest! Naw! None of that would happen. At best they'll use it to advertise inane local sales and whatever the local equivalent of a water-skiing squirrel is.
Although I'd have to admit warnings about sniper kittens would be useful.