Green Room

Video: The originality of local TV-news reporting

posted at 9:54 am on December 18, 2013 by

Just how original are those local news features that sound chatty and clever? Conan O’Brien has a running series on his show demonstrating the strangely familiar items represented as original reporting, but this one featured at TV Spy seems especially creepy. “I find it frightening,” O’Brien says, but it’s mostly just sad:

I mean, how difficult is it to write an original “people buy things for themselves at Christmas” piece? Better yet, who actually wrote this one? I suspect it was a bitter 1960s burnout stuck on the overnight desk in Fresno, and it has been circling the planet ever since.

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I’m devastated. I thought I could trust the locals. I even stopped watching national. I guess they are all useful idiots. We can’t easily tell when the on air folks are controlled. We can tell when net folks are cheating, because we have immediate traceability.

Old Country Boy on December 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

It’s OK, you can admit it if you think the media is full of crap.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Ummmm, I mean, there’s a reason that the major network news orgs have what’s called “affiliates”. There’s not enough local news sometimes to fill up the hour, so they get story feeds from their up line. This really isn’t news to me.

But the way Conan presented it, yes, it was creepy.

44Magnum on December 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM

I mean, how difficult is it to write an original “people buy things for themselves at Christmas” piece?

I remember the days when things such as this weren’t “news” and even if it were original would have never made it on air in the first place.

whatcat on December 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM

There’s not enough local news sometimes to fill up the hour, so they get story feeds from their up line.
44Magnum on December 18, 2013 at 11:14 AM

No, they’re too lazy and stupid to come up with real local news, so they read pre-fab syndicated copy. Today’s anchors just aren’t the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree.

whatcat on December 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

I’ve seen this work from the other side. PR people put together complete packages, including interviews, b-roll, and scripts; then they hock it to news outlets. There are even wire services where they can pitch their packages.

This is the more-obvious version of reporting by press release. If you don’t think that most of the items reporters and anchors are talking about came from faxes and emails from special-interest groups, you’re nuts. Of course, reporters are going to look at the releases from Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, Brookings, Greenpeace, etc., while circularly filing the ones from Heritage, FreedomWorks, NRA, Live Action, etc.

That’s where the bias in the media begins–which press releases get looked at and which don’t.

HakerA on December 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM

This isn’t the way journolist was supposed to work.

TexasDan on December 18, 2013 at 11:38 AM

But, what about Christmas Jammies? Sorry, that’s the only defense I can come up with for these guys.

TexAz on December 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM

…it’s FOX NEWS fault!

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Turn your TV off for a week and you’ll be amazed how much better your life becomes. You may never turn it on again.

Galtian on December 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

I’m devastated. I thought I could trust the locals

Why on earth would you think that??? You do realize that these people all majored in Journalism at a liberal university.

Wallythedog on December 18, 2013 at 3:26 PM

It’s better to give and receive.

*gives self another thread winner award*

Christien on December 18, 2013 at 3:51 PM

It’s OK; you can admit it, if you’ve plagiarized an item or two — or all of them.

Nomennovum on December 18, 2013 at 4:51 PM