WTAE News...more news than what I thought

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After watching WTAE news last night, I was surprised at the amount of time that was actually spent on the news. About 22 minutes of the program was dedicated to broadcasting, more than what I had thought would be. The other eight minutes were dedicated mainly to commercials and only a few seconds of small talk between anchors. I had expected more time to be dedicated to small talk, but the program's time (other than commercials) really seemed focused on the actual news stories and the anchors kept the program moving quickly.

 Of the 15-20 news stories that were covered, all were produced by the station except three. The three that were from other sources included the coverage on Ted Kennedy's death, the reappearance of a missing girl after 18 years, and Michael Vick's return game to the NFL. This was also surprising to me because I expected to see more national news on the show with clips that weren't originally produced by their own reporters. However, there was a lot more state and local news announced that was done entirely by the station.

In many of clips done by the station, there were several interviews. Most were very informational and well done, however there was one or two that seemed a little off target. In the case of the Carnegie Mellon suicide, the one interview was of a student who was trying to explain his surprise for the suicide occurring at the beginning of the semester. While he was trying to explain, he said something about how he could maybe understand later in the semester but not early on. He then tried to rephrase the statement, realizing how ridiculous it had sounded. For how serious the topic was, his original sentence made me and some others laugh out loud. I then thought those few seconds of the interview may have been inappropriate to show because not only would they have been embarrassing to the student who was getting interviewed, but it was also slightly inappropriate for the topic that was being discussed.  

I noticed a good chunk of the news time was dedicated to Steeler news. The sports section was almost completely overtaken by it, leaving the Pirates and Pitt Panthers in the shadows. I also noticed that a decent amount of time was dedicated to weather as well as to showing highlights of what was about to be discussed next.

When looking back over the list of news stories, another observation I made was that most of it was negative news. At least in some of the negative issues, positive points were slightly touched upon, such as the girl who had been kidnapped and raped was finally returned to her family and the tractor trailer that overturned hadn't harmed anyone.

Overall, I thought the WTAE news did a good job of broadcasting and using their time. The commercials are unavoidable for any program, however small talk and other distractions are which the program kept to a minimum.  

When comparing the job description for the WTAE reporter to the characteristics of a journalist, I noticed how much more intensity was put into the WTAE description. This description definitely sounded more demanding and yet more glamorous at the same time. It also seemed to highlight the importance of getting the stories out to the audience more. The journalist's characteristics seemed more toned down and more about the journalist's interests rather than the employer's. It also had more standards on how to get the story while being respectful of the people the story may affect. Both descriptions emphasized that the person must have an "alert and ordered mind" (News Manual). I think this highlights how important it is to get the story as fast as possible.

Back to class 


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