Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Old Times

Tonights firing of Comey reminded me of this posts from 2010.  At least this firing got the attention it deserved.

I got hooked on watching, for the 10th time, that great movie "Network".  The Oscar winning 1976 movie predicted with uncanny accuracy what would happen to Television News in the future.  The premise was that the Network brass would allow the news operation to give commentary time to an anchorman who had gone crazy. (Think Glenn Beck and the Fox Crew.)   The ratings went up as the rantings went on.

I got a note today from someone who said Frank Magid had died.  He was a guy who single-handedly destroyed broadcast journalism with his 'happy news' format back in the early 70's.  He thought news shows should be populated with 'personalities' and banter rather than serious reporting.  His company was consulting for KOB-TV back then.  I was working as a reporter, anchor, and assignment editor at Channel 7.  Channel 4's new format was hurting our ratings.  This was back in the day when there was no cable or satellite and everyone watched local TV news.  So every rating point was worth revenue.  Of course, our management went out and hired a consultant too and journalism died at KOAT-TV, for the most part.  I remember well that I was producing and anchoring the news on the night that Nixon conducted the "Saturday Night Massacre" of Watergate fame.  I led with the story and was hauled into the manager's office and confronted by him and the consultant with leading with the story for the newscast.  They opined some dumb ass car wreck story was more important.  I left TV sometime later because I just did not fit in with the new formulas.  The General Manager at the station said I was a 'purist'.  I think he was correct.

Things have deteriorated ever since for TV News along with viewership.  Unless all you are interested in are sex related stories and poorly reported and researched political corruption stories. That is an old picture of me giving election results on the air in 1972.  One thing for sure, the technology is better.


maximalideal said...

Jim, I wonder what you think of this idea for finding a future for local news from Ben Thompson.


If there's something to the idea, who can make something of it here and how?

Alex Cuellar said...

100% in agreement, Jim, about broadcast journalism, and that includes radio. Every time we heard, at the various stations at which I worked, that Magid or "the consultant" was coming, we knew to expect the worst. I recall that, for a while, at KOB-AM, we actually had to label, on the air mind you, 2 segments of each newscast..."Good News" and "Bad News"...and deciding which was which was never simple. That ridiculous crap lasted for about a month. And it seems no one is teaching these kids at local TV stations anything about English language writing...no grammar, no syntax, no verb tense, no nothing'. The word salad coming out of their mouths is deplorable and "sad".

Anonymous said...

I can't believe some of the poor English, grammar, pronunciation, and syntax of the local news anchors. I was taught that words like "bucks and/or grand' were slang words and not proper English when used in place of "dollars". Just now on the noon broadcast on KOB-TV News the Anchor and the Weather person are giggling, facing each other (not their audience) and discussing between themselvestheir methods for cutting an avocado. I kid you not.