Archive Date 2001-08-20

N E W S B L U E Z E T T E    Monday, August 20, 2001
A daily newsletter, produced by, for TV professionals.
Bluezette is sponsored by Silverscape Technologies.
—Fighting Over A Dead Dog
—-Instant Vacations
—–Nielsens Best Guess
——Help Wanted: Media General
——-Sinister Synergy
——–NOW Says Flush Rush
———Anchoring Is Easy; Life Is Hard
———-News You Can Lose
———–Mrs. Bluezettes Grammar Corner

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Oh, dont even get me started on the 3-week-old puppy that fell down a
Toledo well pipe last week and ignited Baby Jessica-like coverage on Fox
affiliate WUPW-36 before rescue dorks sucked the dogs lifeless body out of
with a vacuum hose. (Bet they didnt show THAT.)

WUPW?s coverage was riveting and, according to Toledo Blade columnist
Russ Lemmon, "It was one of those situations where you say to yourself,
Why are they covering this? and two hours later, you?re still

Was it news? WUPW news director Jose Suarez called it "locally
produced reality TV."

In journalistic terms, the station?s coverage crossed the line into
"sensationalism" after just a few minutes. Angry viewers called
local talk radio programs to protest the coverage, describing it with words
like "overkill" and "exploitation."

But, wait, it gets worse.

Competitor WTVG-13 broke into prime-time programming with updates five
times between 8 and 9:45 p.m. They took every opportunity – more than a dozen
times in all – to tell viewers they were first to report the story. (They had
a live report from the scene on the 6PM news)

WUPW (naturally) suggested that WTVG went overboard with its self-promotion
because WUPW "stole the story."

"The way they kept pounding on the air, ?We were here first? – I
was almost embarrassed for them," WUPW General Manager Ray Maselli said.
"It was like they were stomping and screaming, ?Someone took my toy

Now, boys…..



Mark Pitta, co-host of San Francisco KTVUs popular "Mornings on
2," left for what station spokesman Kenny Wardell called "an instant
vacation" on Tuesday morning just after arriving on the set. KTVU
attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful so far, and he has not reported
back to work.

Across the street, KRON announced that longtime early morning anchor John
Kessler, a divorced dad, had departed the station for Salt Lake City to be
closer to his children.



The new A.C. Nielsen DMA statistics show that while #1 New York City added
an incredible 365,450 TV households since last year, and #3 Chicago saw a jump
of 115,920 homes…#2 Los Angeles actually LOST 50,660 TV households.

According to Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus, "The estimate used for the
previous year was probably a bit off. This year were closer to being right.
We now have a first look at census data and have translated that into TV

Loftus also points out that a drop of 50,660 homes is a mere blip in the
statistical world.

But hold on to your antennae: The number of TV households may fluctuate
again next year, when Nielsen gets its first crack at the census demographic
info. “This is our best estimate right now, without all the census demo data
filled in, he said. “It may all change again.



Peggy Johnson has resigned as news director of Birminghams WIAT-CBS-42.

"She walked in the other day and said she had other dreams she wanted
to pursue," said General Manager J.D. Huey.

Johnsons sudden resignation makes her the second Media General news
director to quit in less than four days (Dennis Milligan jumped ship at
Charleston, SCs WCBD), and some insiders have hinted at system-wide changes
after Media General announced a 21% drop in quarterly revenue last week.

"No connection," said Huey.

Last week, Media General also announced it was bypassing holiday Christmas
bonuses for the first time in 31 years.

"Nope, no connection," Huey assured us.



You may have noticed, CNN Headline News (a Time-Warner/AOL company),
includes, as part of its cluttered design, information on TV motion pictures
which, we assume is legitimate news but is, in truth, nothing more than a
blatant plug for films appearing on other AOL/Time-Warner outlets. Sinister
synergy, is what they call it, I think.

Tuesday, Headline News promoted the Walter Matthau-Jack Lemmon movie
"The Odd Couple" on Turner Classic Movies, while Wednesdays tune-in
headline was devoted to the WBs airing of "Beetlejuice" and TNTs
"American Graffiti." TCMs "Gigi" and "An American in
Paris" were plugged Friday, along with TNTs "Lethal Weapon."

"If it happened, it was inadvertent," said network spokesman Brad
Turell, whose nose steadily grew to the length of a zucchini. "Thats not
our policy, and we dont expect it to happen again. Chalk it up to early


CNN will announce today that "Ahead of the Curve," a daily
business news show that airs from 5-7 a.m, is being canceled, and long-time
morning anchor Deborah Marchini will leave the air.



The National Organization for Women has asked CNN to drop any plans it
might have to air conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, saying such a union
would be “the scariest media merger yet.

NOW President Kim Gandy urged CNN to not bring “Limbaughs bigoted
rantings to the cable news market. . . . CNNs image will be forever tarnished
by giving someone like Limbaugh an even bigger microphone.


Spanish-language news broadcasts have become a major factor in the South
Florida television landscape over the past decade.

WLTV-Univisi?n 23 consistently ranks among the leading local newscasts in
any language while once-dormant WSCV-Telemundo 51 has suddenly turned to
aggressive coverage.

The Miami Herald reports.



Indianapolis WRTV co-anchors Clyde Lee and Diane Willis, who married less
than two years ago but have anchored together since 1987, have decided to quit
the station at the end of August and start their own communications business.

Lee spent nearly 25 years at WRTV, and Willis has been there 14 years.

?We?ve been drinking the water at Channel 6 a long time,? Lee told
the Indianapolis Star. ?So that?s going to run in our veins, probably

Willis giggled quietly and did not add, "But now we can look forward
to anxiously watching our life savings dwindle away on a sad, burned-out
anchor dream. Sure, we know well both need counseling in a year when nobody
returns our calls. Were very aware well be devastated when we arent
recognized on the street any longer, and we know full well that the financial
pressures will eventually destroy our marriage and send us in search of a
weekend reporting gig in Steubenville but, hey, my husband loves fatty steaks
and deep-fried catfish so, if were going to do this, we better do it
soon….if you know what I mean."

Clyde Lees mouth would have dropped open at the reality of it all, had he
still been lucid after decades of overwrought producers screaming in his IFB.


Thanks to "The Backhaul"

KCOP Los Angeles "Grooming turnoffs "
KCNC Denver "Coffee: How much is too much? "
WABC New York "Is Less Homework Better? "
KRON San Francisco "Shopping tips for dieters "
WESH Orlando "Putting Bullies In Their Place"



Its such an innocent little word, but "only" has the power to
change the meaning of a sentence depending on where Mrs. Bs students place

Rene Cappon in his The Word, An Associated Press Guide to Good News
Writing, calls "only" a "trouble-fraught little modifier."

Put "only" before any word in this 7-word sentence and
get 7 different meanings:

>I hit him in the eye yesterday.


>ONLY I hit him in the eye yesterday.

>I ONLY hit him in the eye yesterday.

>I hit ONLY him in the eye yesterday.

>I hit him ONLY in the eye yesterday.

>I hit him in ONLY the eye yesterday.

>I hit him in the ONLY eye yesterday.

>I hit him in the eye ONLY yesterday.

>I hit him in the eye yesterday ONLY.

In general, its a good rule to put "only" next to the word or
words it modifies.

A Houston radio anchor puts it well:

Separating "only" from the word it limits can drastically
alter the sentences meaning. For example:

>ONLY the reporter checked his facts.

>The ONLY reporter checked his facts.

>The reporter ONLY checked his facts.

>The reporter checked ONLY his facts.

>The reporter checked his ONLY facts.

Thanks for your efforts. Lately, your column has been my
"only" source of inspiration for better news writing.

Michael Kunkle

Mrs. B knows that to include Michaels vote of confidence was a bit
Shes ONLY human.

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