Tag Archives: BROADCAST NEWS

We should have played the Superbowl last Sunday. The jokes and the avocados were fresher.


The Kingdome Implosion 2000 (Just had to show it)

The Kingdome Implosion 2000 (Just had to show it)

Remember when we determined the world champions just one week after the championship games? It was just enough time to plan the party, make a friendly wager, mash-up the guacamole, thoomp; kick-off.

But now we endure two weeks of pregame hoopla. That’s two weeks of sports people doing what sports people are very good at: over-dramatizing. It’s not necessarily their fault. They have two weeks to fill, after all.Superbowl_Trophy_Crop

The faulty inflated ball thing may or may not turn out to be significant, but after the SNL spoof, it had pretty much run its course. But with that second week of pregame, we’re getting a second dose of speculation and accusation, followed by expert analysis of the speculation and the accusers.

One player showed up to a pregame event whining that his employer “made him” participate, all the while wearing attire promoting his own brand.  Whether he has a point or his boss has a point, I won’t rehash here. You’ve heard it, the replay and the analysis afterward. We’ve got two weeks to fill, after all.

The league commissioner had a verbal confrontation with a reporter at a news conference. The remarks resulted in a ten-minute news segment with the reporter and colleagues defending the reporter, followed by, you know it, analyzing and speculating on the commissioner’s future.

News bulletin: A news source and a reporter locking horns at a news conference isn’t news. That’s the process of news gathering.

What we got was drama.

And really, do we need two weeks of critters on the evening news predicting the outcome?

Through all of the pregame hype and hullabaloo, I’ve heard doodly-squat about, you know, the actual game. Which team has the better defense?  Will it be high-scoring? Who’s going to win?  What happened to all that speculation and analysis?  I guess we’ll hear that during the eight-hour pre-game show.

Someone please, hike the ball!

And go Seahawks.

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I’ve lost six years. How? By getting enough sleep and admitting to myself, “I’m a carb-aholic.”


me sleepingI know this sounds like the start of one those Maria Osmond and Terry Bradshaw weight-loss ads. “I lost weight and so can you.” Don’t worry. I’m not selling anything. I’m advocating sleep. And if your story sounds like mine, maybe a brief change of diet. I emphasize brief, temporary, nothing drastic.

I couldn’t figure it out. I weighed the same as I did a decade ago. I was eating the same, exercising regularly, but I was feeling doughy, thick in the mid-section. I was able to grab flab where I had never been able to grab flab before.

pyramid egyptianI was starting to look like an Egyptian pyramid. You’re supposed to look like an upside-down pyramid.

I watched those YouTube videos: WHAT NOT TO EAT, LOSE BELLY FAT, GET SIX-PACK ABS. You’ve seen them; the shirtless guys who make their living by working out and selling their exercise programs on YouTube. While they have different methods of how to look like them (dream on), they all agree. Diet matters.

I did some reading. dietitians and other qualified health professionals (they wear shirts) say when you’re tired, pooped, when your feet and your mind are dragging, you seek energy to get your weary body across the finish line. You eat to make up for the energy you didn’t get from sleeping.

That’s been my situation while anchoring the morning newscast. Up at 2 a.m., I was dragging by 10. And I craved and overdosed on carbohydrates, the bad ones. Sugary cereals, too many slices of wheat toast (too much of a good thing) ahem, doughnuts a few times a week, (too much of a bad thing) and cookies before bed.

Author Nate Miyaki likens carbohydrate feeding to fueling up your car. “If your car has been sitting in the garage, it doesn’t need gas. Loading up on carbohydrates is like trying to fill up a full tank. It just spills over the side. In the human body, that overspill equates to sugar backing up in the blood stream and excess body fat storage.”

That’s me. Mr. Pyramid.

Right after Thanksgiving, I cut out the evil carbs. Not all carbs and not forever (keep reading), but the low-fiber, scant-nutrition carbs the body tends to store at the waistline and below: pasta, low-fiber breads, and sugars. Instead of toast, I had oatmeal (sweetened with Splenda, sprinkled with cinnamon and maybe some apples), brown rice, and I skipped the cookies. For desert, a carton of low-carb yogurt, the weirdest flavors I could find because they add some adventure.

I haven’t felt deprived or hungry, and by staying away from the evil carbs, the body has had to get its carb-fix by turning to the carbs stockpiled at my waist. I dropped three, maybe four pounds the first week. Another three or four I lost on the second. On the third week, another three. And when Christmas Eve rolled around and my neighbors dropped by with their plates of fantastic baked goods, I took some deep sniffs (smelling doesn’t take in calories or carbs), sealed all the goodies into air-tight plastic containers in my pantry for safekeeping, and then went upstairs and tried on jeans and slacks that the laundry and dry cleaners had shrunk over the past six years. I didn’t squeeze, tuck, or suck-in my gut to get into them. They fit. Some a tad loose.

Mission pretty much accomplished. I went downstairs, turned on the game, and had hot diet Dr. Pepper.

Now, I haven’t sworn off bread, pasta, certainly not cookies. I’ve paced myself on the neighbors’ holiday treats, and I look more like an upside-down pyramid again.

And I get my sleep.

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Now that I’m no longer anchoring a newscast, I’d like to recommend those that are worth watching. That is, if you have the time.


Walter_Cronkite_on_television_1976A long time ago Walter Cronkite proposed CBS air an hour-long evening newscast. The most-trusted man in America believed thirty minutes just wasn’t enough time to get it all in.  Americans were getting shortchanged. Walter believed Americans would watch an hour newscast.

The network didn’t listen to Walter. The broadcast networks still air half-hour newscasts and there still isn’t enough time and too much to cover.

But Americans watch hour-long newscasts.

If Walter were alive and still working today, he’d probably be anchoring at CNN, PBS, or perhaps Al Jazeera America.

These newscasts fill sixty minutes, or they’ll go longer if the news merits, and for the most part they stick to the facts and leave the opinions to their interviews.  Occasionally, CNN goes overboard on its advocacy journalism and may slight some stories in favor of the sexy ones. If you like a lot of flashy graphics, orchestration, and in-your-face anchors, you might fall asleep watching the PBS NEWS HOUR. It’s straightforward with the facts, but it can be a bit dry at times with its low-key presentation. And don’t be surprised if PBS airs fewer stories in an hour than what a broadcast network would typically air in a half-hour. But the issues/stories PBS covers are done so thoroughly. (The analysis from experts alone can go for ten minutes or so. That’s an eternity at the networks.)

Al_Jazeera_America_LogoAnd then there’s Al Jazeera America. I know. When you tune in the first time you wait for the anchor to shake his or her fist and shout, “Death to America.” It’s nothing like that.  The anchors include John Seigenthaler, formerly of NBC News, and Ray Suarez from PBS, and from what I’ve seen so far, the newscasts and other programming have been fact-based, in-depth, and have shown no bias or favoritism. And unlike Fox or CNBC, Al Jazeera doesn’t blame one U.S. political party for all what’s wrong in America and the world.

If you haven’t checked out these newscasts, give them a sample, and tell me what you think.

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My thoughts on Christine Brown


cbSomeone came up to me yesterday and said, “That’s something about your former anchor, Christine, getting laid off.”

No. You must have heard it wrong, I said.  She probably retired. Packing her bags for Mazatlan, maybe, but  not sent packing. Not Christine. She is the TV station.

“No. Read it in the paper.”

I got online. Sure enough. There it is. Brown laid off in station restructuring.

Twenty-eight years at one station. That’s rare in any profession. Virtually unheard of in broadcasting. Then laid off. I can almost hear the conversation in the conference room.

“…We’re undergoing restructuring that affects you…We will need you to sign these forms…your keys, company credit card… Happy New Year…” 

Christine’s last day was December 31.

I’m sure Christine is doing fine. I imagine her Facebook is jammed with good wishes from the gazillions of journalists whom she, well, I won’t say nurtured, she whipped into shape after she hired them. A no-nonsense news director.  Her newsroom was a boot camp. Ask some of my former co-workers: Faith Martin, Jordan Youngs (Both still in the Tri-Cities and doing marvelous), Claire Graham and Blake Jensen,now in Spokane, Melanie, who now anchors in Pennsylvania, Adam, who went on to Boston, now in Atlanta, Bryant in Philly, Lisa in LA; the list goes on and on and on.

But Christine taught her people not only discipline, but compassion. Christine is responsible for the success of the Coats For Kids campaign, which has provided winter clothing for tens of thousands of kids over the years, the annual Family Food Drive that just got nuts with the truckloads of corporate and individual donations that came in during the rain or shine, snow or ice, freezing or sub-freezing on the air telethon. A crazy, wonderful experience. Christine also championed my personal favorite project of the year, the annual Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast, honoring ordinary people in the community for their extraordinary deeds.

I’m worried these projects won’t get the same priority post-restructuring.

Christine, if you aren’t there already, go to the beach. Have a big margarita for me. One of those the size of a bird bath.  Sit back and enjoy. And don’t forget to wear a hat and sunscreen.

 

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I’ll be poolside signing autographs and sipping mimosas…What’s that? Come again?


lossy-page1-800px-RESIDENTS_OF_CENTURY_VILLAGE,_A_NEW_RETIREMENT_COMMUNITY_SUN_THEMSELVES_AT_POOLSIDE._THE_ENTIRE_VILLAGE_OF_7,838..._-_NARA_-_548548.tifJournalists rarely, okay, never get to sit back and relish their accomplishments. A reporter can hand over a peace prize-winning article and the next morning the editor will say, “That was a good story. What do you have for me today?”

I wasn’t so naïve, okay, maybe a little, to think it would be much different outside of news, but to complete a novel, write a whole book, with a plot, complex characters, big words; that’s worthy of some basking. Right?

So I tell members of my critique group that I’ve finished my novel. The first thing Judy says to me, “So what are you working on now?”

Stay tuned.

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Finished.


Attribution: Willi Heidelbach

Attribution: Willi Heidelbach

I’m done.

From a weekend past time to every day all the time, I’ve finished the novel. The members of my critique group still need to go through the manuscript and find what’s missing, what’s wrong, and what stinks. Then I’ll go back to work and hopefully fix it.  Barring any unexpected burps or writer’s block, I’m on schedule to be finished finished by the end of the year.

Now comes the hard part, finding a publisher.

In TV news you can be passed over for a job because they don’t like the color or style of your hair, or your squeaky voice, or you blink too much. It’s wholly subjective. Ask any woman anchor. What’s her viewer mail mostly about? Her hair, her wardrobe, and the necklace she seems to wear every day.

Similar subjectivity prevails in the publishing world. One literary agent will say she likes your characters but the story failed to hold her attention. An editor will say he likes the plot but couldn’t identify with the characters. Another rejection letter will simply say, “It didn’t grab me.”

In comparison, the publishing world makes TV news look almost logical.

So what’s the novel about? A lot of people have asked me.  Stay tuned.

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A Starting Point


The Tuesday after Labor Day feels like a transition, a “start.” Summer vacation has ended and you start back to work. The kids –and their teachers—start back to class. Football season kicks off. I notice the leaves of the poplars have started to change; now they flutter gold in the shorter days.

And did it feel a little chilly to you this morning?falltime 2011 004

As you start your autumn, I admit there is a restlessness within me that I won’t be there with you. For six years you allowed me to be on your TV in the morning while you got ready for work, rustled the kids out of bed, cleaned up whatever the cat threw up or dragged in overnight. I will miss sharing the news with you, but I won’t lie to you (I never have). I don’t miss the alarm going off  at 2:44 in the morning. When you no longer have to get up when you’re supposed to, you will love it. If you have earned your retirement, you certainly know what I mean when I say it feels so liberating to start my day not when I have to, but when I darn well feel like it.

Sure, I still get up at the crack of dawn to work on the novel, but for me, sunrise is sleeping in! At mid morning I take a break from writing. The dogs get their walk, the lawn might get mowed, and then I’m back to the book for another few hours.  I’m shooting to finish SALAD DAYS before the end of the year.

Will a publisher print it? I don’t know, but I’m following my passion. And that’s a start.

 

 

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