Nick Weber

Nick Weber
Location
Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
Birthday
September 18
Bio
Once: Jesuit Priest, Circus Producer, Clown, Actor, High School Performing Arts Teacher. Currently: Sometime connector of certain Dots...........(er, Gifts)

MY RECENT POSTS

Nick Weber's Links

Salon.com
Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 19, 2010 7:00AM

Two Views of Newsworthiness

Rate: 5 Flag

Photo for Blog 121--IMG 

[Even the Royal Lichtenstein Circus audiences could get trashy!]

 

About the only television I watch aside from performance specials are newscasts.   I barely tolerate the local news which seems endless from mid-afternoon on and obsesses itself with sports summaries, weather reports, and violent crime.  What makes a half-hour of such drivel passable is my arrangement to have it on in the living room while I am in the kitchen preparing dinner.  At least the promise of a meal is filling.

There is a sensitivity which must govern my appraisal of such local news casting, because a beloved former student and colleague has made a significant part of his life the reporting and anchoring of some prestigious local news programs.  His work has more than once earned him an Emmy.  Several years ago I asked him why local television news is so saturated with reports of violent crime.  He replied that it was done in function of the service a community demands and deserves.  Such a combination of expectation and warrant defines broadcast missions.

Nevertheless, I find myself wondering about the folks who sit at that desk evening after evening and rehearse the never-ending parade of my  sobbing, slaughtered and sluiced neighbors.  I repeatedly ask, between my own gasps and surprised tears what a viewing audience has done to deserve such information.  Does all this come down just because we happen to inhabit this urban locale? Unfairly my anger fixes on the faces delivering such fare, the anchors and their reporters.  Emotionally I want to shoot the messengers, stupidly forgetting that the messages will still be around.

I watch the same network for local and national news because I trust most of the network’s political editing at the national level.  I do not agree with the all of the political posturing of the local station, but I let the news play out.  So I know the faces of our local co-anchors very well and one of them lives nearby.  One morning he unwittingly fleshed out what my former student was trying to teach me.

The guy is fifty-ish and in very good shape sporting a trim physique he maintains with serious running.  I first spotted him and his wife at an outside Starbuck’s table a block from my home.  It was then that I knew he might be a neighbor, and  since then I have seen him running on the bike trails I happen to walk.  I’ve had plenty of occasions to be sure I’ve identified the right character.  There’s quite a difference between his appearance in a suit and tie on screen and in athletic gear on the street.  His appearances, however, are not what have impressed me.  What I have seen him do on many occasions has commanded my admiration.

He might be waiting for a pedestrian light to change, or just making use of odd spare time.  But the evening’s collector of messy news stories regularly picks up the day’s trash from the gutters of a very busy intersection we both use.  Sometimes he goes to each of five corners at that very clumsy interchange.

What my student said is born out.  News reporting, perhaps especially at the local level, can be a very real function of one’s service to the community.  That’s why newscasters win recognition.  My neighbor earned the Peabody Award for his station in 1986.

 

Your tags:

TIP:

Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:

Comments

Type your comment below:
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." " Cleanliness is next to godliness." "We are all in this together." "You never know who is watching you!" The eye of Nick is on you!!!
Good for him. We are always creating professional and personal "doubles" behind which to hide that which shames us. He could be uberclever and warm on the tube but unbearable in private and at home. I think about colleagues who appear one way in public but inwardly wrestle with the uncontrollable. Your local guy seems to have mixed all the flavors into a generous portion.
TV news anchors are people too (most of them, at least). I wonder about the future of local news content. The crime stories increasingly seem only relevant to the immediate neighborhoods in which they happen, as the internet allows people to choose their focus only on matters that interest them.

Thank you for exposing the humans behind the faces on TV. I used to be one of them.
Requirements of today's TV news readers.
1. Fog mirror.
2. Have high TV-Q rating.
3. Able to read teleprompter.
4. Look like your are ad libbing while produce/director prompts you in earpiece.
5. Be member of Rotary or other community service club.

Notice that speaking truth to power doesn't appear on that list.
You're right, it is tempting sometimes to shoot the messenger when there's bad news on TV. Thanks for showing us this postitive side of the local news.
"If it bleeds, it leads."
I gotta watch Nancy Grace!
News is the exception to the rule.
Did they put the fire out? How did it start? Are the families safe? Did the Red Cross come? Are the Firemen all okay?
Answers contribute to our sense of safety and well being. One way or another we need to know that these occasions, crime, fire, Bank Robberies are the exceptions in our otherwise orderly world of almost 7 billion.

When the news starts reporting births, anniversaries and weddings as the exception, THEN we must really start to worry.
News is the exception to the rule.
Did they put the fire out? How did it start? Are the families safe? Did the Red Cross come? Are the Firemen all okay?
Answers contribute to our sense of safety and well being. One way or another we need to know that these occasions, crime, fire, Bank Robberies are the exceptions in our otherwise orderly world of almost 7 billion.

When the news starts reporting births, anniversaries and weddings as the exception, THEN we must really start to worry.
TVORNOTTV: I waited all day for you to chime in! And it did bear repeating. Notice this generated the most comments of all. Your trade! Thank you.

Nick
What, if any of it, do you actually experience in your everyday life?
How often do you hear gunshots on your block?
Is there a business on your block that got robbed?
Did one of your neighbors get kidnapped, raped, assaulted, beaten?
Etc, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

I live in a small city of approx 40K.
I wake up, I turn on the preloaded coffee pot, go to the john and do all of that and, sometimes read on my PC or go to the gym or golf on Mon AMs, etc.
I also have my own appliance repair business and, since I'm older and half assed retired(mostly half assed), I make a few calls though, not every day.
My life has its moments of excitement however, it's mostly the mundane, everyday life that these people would have you believe cannot be lived in these times.
The "news" is hyped to sell advertising. All of this stuff we see rarely if ever happens in our real lives.
And, most of the crap is just that, crap which I don't much care about if at all.
They con you into caring about stuff which doesn't mean a damn thing in your life or you can't control.
I saw one of the local weather guys at the store yesterday.
What did we talk about?
We bitched about the price of yellow and orange peppers as compared to the red & green ones.
Wow!! Big events, huh?
Ahh, well. I'm going to go for my long walk around my neighborhood with some good jazz on my ipod.

See ya.