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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
           Wednesday, April 2 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterTelejournalistic bits

David Caldwell's thoughts on Sunday about reporters and protests have generated more response than anything else in this space recently. Two responses, in fact, is a lot more than anything else of late. After Donna Marchio's letter appeared here yesterday, I received this from Trudy Myers:

The one idiosyncrasy of news stories that makes me shudder is when I'm reading a personal interview, or a criminal court case, or whatever, and they feel this need to tell me what the subject is wearing! Can someone explain to me why in the course of a story, do I need (or care) to know that the woman was wearing a gray flannel skirt and pink angora sweater? Or the defendant was dressed in khaki pants and blue plaid shirt? One time there was a news story about a woman in Northern Cambria whose car had been hit by a coal truck. She was pinned inside and had to be removed via jaws of life. I'm intently reading this story when it suddenly occurred to me, "But WHAT was she WEARING?" The thought was so silly. But it's what reporters insist on including in their "ramblings." Has anyone else ever questioned this, or am I the only one?

I think Trudy answered her own question. She was wondering what the poor accident victim was wearing and some astute reporter was johnny-on-the-spot, well prepared to supply his audience what it really wants to know. I must keep an eye peeled for this fashion-reporting trend. I know some newspapers always follow the first mention of a name with the subject's age, but the attire factoid hadn't before this registered.

A lot of the telejournalistic "innanity" (or is it "innaneness"?), I suspect, can be chalked up to too little news with too much coverage. Twenty-four-hour news channels like FoxNews, CNN, and MSNBC have to stretch the headlines for longer spaces of time than the top stories remain timely. They're always "on point" or covering "topic A," so that channel surfers will stay in sufficient quantities to bolster ratings. But I've been watching Fox News more than enough for the past year, and to MSNBC before that, to be aware that they spread it thin to keep it appearing like breezy breaking coverage. There's no lack of news, of course, but the market is narrowly defined as wanting only what fits on the electronic equivalent of the "front page."

You probably will get your "news fix" of whatever you tuned in for within 15 minutes, but the flip side of that is that you'll also get it again, at least once, if you stay with it for another 15 minutes. I know the News Hour on PBS has more substance, and the radio complement of it, "All Things Considered," is more informative. But still, like the producers who've been getting the big ratings especially for Fox News have found, most of us most of the time are more likely to choose the quick fix than wait or search the radio dial to tune in something more substantial.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 More theological insights by Woody Allen

It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens.

— Sent by John Stamps

Lenten thought for today

We must think of the Son always, so to speak, streaming forth from the Father, like a light from a lamp, or heat from a fire, or thoughts from a mind. He is the self-expression of the Father—what the Father has to say. And there never was a time when He was not saying it.

—C. S. Lewis

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