Saturday, February 21, 2004

The Producer Strikes Back

It's more than fashionable to bash news organizations, just like lawyers, HMO's, and the occasional priest. Well, no more. I've decided nobody gets a free bite at the big bad media without me getting to bite back... especially with some of the moron mail I've come across. Chew on this email I got today:
From: (name witheld to protect this bozo's identity, not that he doesn't deserve to get spam-bombed with a few hundred Viagra e-mails)
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 6:45 PM
To: (name witheld to protect the innocent man who came across this first)
Subject: Late Breaking News

I found out tonight that your newsroom really isn't interested in late breaking news. I called a bit after 5PM and informed your newsroom that there had been a fatal accident on Old Spanish Trail within 10 minutes of the accident taking place; a car killed a bicyclist and then rolled. My wife watched it happen and called 911. We didn't see or hear anything about the accident on either the 5 or 6PM news, but lots of canned stories with pretty people. Hey, if you going to be a news source, give us real news as soon you can verify it had happen (like a call to the county sheriff) instead of cute stories on crosses on the side of the road. This convinced me I'm taking my news viewing to channel 4 and hopefully they won't be as disconnected to real local news as your station is. Believe me I'll spread the story of my contact with you to everyone I know at Raytheon.
What's wrong with this picture? Plenty.

1) That bicycle accident Mr. X mentions simply didn't happen. We called two fire departments to check up on it as soon as we got the tip. They were unable to confirm anything. From what we were told, that accident never happened. Verification is standard procedure for every newsroom, and at least Mr. X realizes that. But sometimes, we can't verify things for hours, or even days. That's a mutual subject of frustration. Perhaps Mr. X would be happy if we just threw it on the air cold without bothering to confirm any of it, just to satisfy his impatient posterior.

2) About those "cute stories on crosses on the side of the road." For those of you who didn't see it, reporter Millie Martinez talked to a man who had lost his son, and was honoring him with a white roadside cross... one of thousands across Arizona marking where people have lost loved ones to accidents. She took a closer look at the healing this makeshift memorial provided to a grieving father. Maybe I should hook up this father with Mr. X, so Mr. X can hear the "cute story" of his dead son, and all the pretty pain and glorious grief.

3) I love it when people say something like, "I'm never going to watch your station again!" Then they switch stations and instantly find some fault with that station to gripe about, fire off another e-mail, and the cycle repeats. But come on, switching to KVOA Channel 4? Lie-Witness News? The station that labels six-hour old stories as "Breaking News?" Puh-leeze. It's obvious this guy's clueless.

It is one of Francis' Undisputable Facts that some people have nothing better to do than to find things to complain about. To some degree (putting on my patriot tricorn hat here) that's a sign of a healthy democracy in that these folks have a passion to demand something better. But really, Mr. X, throwing a hissy fit because a station didn't cater to your whim on a single occasion, and then assuming it's because we just want to do "cute" stories is ignorant. That ignorance is multiplied by your cluelessness on the cross story and divided by all those people at Raytheon you're going to tell to stop watching KOLD. Let them watch for themselves and decide, rather than watching you whine and cry.

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