Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ten Of The Worst Phrases And Acts on TV And Radio News

 
 
1. "Team Coverage"--utterly over-used, pretentious, and about as cliche-driven as ever. Would it be against the law to use the phrase, "comprehensive" or "full" coverage by our team of reporters, say?
 
2. "Our Science Editor."--oh please, stop it! Your science "editor" is a reporter. Editors edit, reporters report, last I checked.
 
3. Weather anchors that repeatedly emphasize a "strong cold front! and/or a "band of high pressure." We've heard that about a million times and we're sick of it. How about just telling us it's gonna be a really damn rainy day or hot as hell outside. Cut to the chase, we're not interested in your damn on-shore breezes.
 
4. "Breaking News"--We're repeating ourselves here but the more and more you hear it, they, (the TV people especially and their editors), must be reminded that the more they routinely blurt out this increasingly marginalized news sounder when there really isn't breaking news, the more they lose credibility with their increasingly irritated viewers.  Worst abusers here: KTVU, KGO-TV, KRON. Nationally, CNN and Fox News.
 
5. "At the end of the day." --Without question, the #1 WORST, most hideous, lazy, insipid and pathetically overused phrase on ALL American television. The worst abusers: radio talk-show hosts, politicians on the Sunday talking-head shows and analysts on TV who shoud be automatically sent to Gitmo. Athletes have taken to this cliche too and it's clearly the "Ya-Know" of the present decade.
 
6. MOS Live Shots at the, A. Walnut Creek fountain, (too many white people),  B. Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, (talk about stupidity and not even mentioning a good way to cause an accident), C. The Golden Gate Bridge, (we've seen it a billion times and when it has ZERO to do with story, why?) D. kiddies at the ice-cream store when it's a hot day --oh, and let us not forget the usual banal idiotic question to the  roofer in Livermore when it's 104: "Hey, must be pretty hot up there, eh?" Roofer: "Uh, yep, sure is." I say immediate execution to reporter.
 
7. Sports anchors that get cutesy with the highlights: Just give us the damn video and STFU. We don't need your verbal gimmicks and histrionics --With Authority!
 
8. Anchor to reporter after package: "Thanks Bill." Thanks for what? Here's a radical idea: How about after Bill is done with his report, you just go ahead on to the NEXT story! Damn, what a concept.
 
9. "Developing Story"--It's developing when its actually developing, but oh hell, why bring that up.
 
10. The insincere horrified look from reporters on scene at terrible accident or a natural disaster, say. First off, give us news and the information--that's why you're THERE!, on the scene. If it's that terrible and horrific then tell the assignment desk so they can get a real reporter on the scene to give us the NEWS! we so direly want and need. Sure, at times, we're all human but way too many correspondents who should know better are either too timid or are just incompetent --if you can't stand the heat...I rest my case.
 
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48 comments:

  1. I'll suggest one more - everytime there is a 'bad weather event' (e.g. first rain, flooding, snow, hurricane, etc), stick the meteorologist in the middle of it to get live coverage. Shots of a soaked/cold and miserable meteorologist/reporter trying to talk over the wind and rain doesn't seem like the best way to treat a news staff. In one case, it was pretty obvious that the reporter was out in the cold too long and was becoming incoherent.

    I liked #4 where 'worst abusers' were mentioned on the local and national levels. Would have been interesting to read your thoughts pm who the worst abusers were for the other items in your list.

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    Replies
    1. I had to chuckle when watching KPIX last night. They had a reporter standing at some outside location for the big story about the rain although, at that point, it had hardly rained at all. (Doesn't anybody look out the window?)
      She ended up saying something to the effect of "Well, it's not actually raining..." So what was the purpose of that live shot?
      To their credit, they didn't call the segment "Storm Watch 2013" or some other nonsense.
      But I agree with your point. Viewers really don't need to see a reporter standing in a downpour to understand that it's raining.

      Delete
  2. 11. One of every nationality for each story. You don't need 1 latino, 1 Vietnamese, 1 Chinese, 1 African American, 1 Caucasian, and 1 indian. Just have people report the damn news that are good regardless of race. Quit pandering to what you think is your audience by having someone you think they'll associate with. (fyi they aren't watching your channel, they're watching Univision or Vietnamese and Chinese language stations for their local and homeland news).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes you get a mixture...SF neighborhoods are very mixed these days. What annoys me is when they send a black reporter to a story about black people, a Latino reporter to a story involving Latinos, etc. And that happens a lot.

      Delete
    2. Unlike Rich "too many white people" Lieberman, stations have to appease the fcc when it comes to image. Biased, incorrect, or poorly written content is perfectly acceptable in all media including blogs.

      Personally, I think Rich is too hard on the well off. The effort they go thru to concoct anguish over trivial problems needs to be recognized and addressed too. Manicure insurance and manicure ER's could put a big dent in the over prescribing of mood pills.

      I saw a cartoon on truthdig the other day...guy leaving church says to the priest "nice sermon, it made bigotry sound like a virtue".

      Delete
    3. What I hate is when a well off white reporter goes to the hood..
      Jeezuz,is It that hard to understand a Chinese American reporter might be able to understand another Chinese here, American- citizen or not- after or during an emergency,fire, etc?
      Or maybe you like seeing Bob Jones reporting on feminine hygiene research with real interest and uh, personal knowledge?

      Delete
    4. anon at 10:40...you are obviously very bright, and your statement is no doubt based on exhaustive research, most likely in conjunction with the Walter Annenburg school of communications. I would love it if you could post a link to your "findings". Quite interesting to note that you conclude that even third, fourth or fifith generation descendents of "one of each nationality" only watch "their" channels even if they or their parents have never spoken their "native" language.
      I stand in awe of your impressive knowledge and life experience.

      Delete
  3. It seems to have faded,but "Due diligence" seemed to be on every sports host lips for a good year or two.
    The worst act? How about those who just beat the drum what great family men they are even as they flirt with every woman on the set and of course never mention that they had a wife that divorced them already once. And I left out "family mans" cruising the tenderloin's seediest areas in his younger days..
    Another? Smiling and laughing 3 hours non stop. I mean,as soon as the camera/on air light is on..showtime. Let the lies begin...

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    Replies
    1. So true. You also forgot Sabean and his "kick the tires". Constantly. Yearly.

      Delete
    2. Another Sabean standby is "In a perfect world".

      Delete
  4. And...eliminate "I'll be honest with you"...r

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  5. Political commentators ironically shocked to hear there's gambling in Casa Blanca -- for the 10,000th time -- have just about ruined the movie for me.

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  6. > 1. "Team Coverage"--utterly over-used, pretentious, and about as cliche-driven as
    > ever.

    Everything today is "team." Stores have their "retail teams." Businesses have their "management teams." You're part of the Black Angus Team or the Chili's Team or the Starbucks Team. Builds morale. They say. I say better wages and improved working conditions would build it so much better. This "team" BS probably hurts morale because everyone working there is treated like a first-grader and reminded of it daily with the word "team" used all the time.

    > 2. "Our Science Editor."

    The difference between an editorial and a reporting position is a reporter barks when s/he gets orders from the assignment desk. An editor supposedly has editorial control over all their stories.

    > 3. Weather anchors that repeatedly emphasize a "strong cold front! and/or
    > a "band of high pressure."

    They've given us far more detail in weather reports period than are necessary, with fancy radar images and time-lapse images and detailed discussions of the physics involved with a cold front that no one besides Sheldon Cooper gives a damn about. They do this to fill time, as otherwise they'd have to hire real writers, reporters and editors and do real enterprise reporting. This costs money. Showing a satellite loop or fast-forward videos of clouds breaking over Marin does not.

    > 4. "Breaking News"

    Kind of like crying wolf too often. Eventually people stop paying attention.

    > 5. "At the end of the day." --Without question, the #1 WORST, most hideous,
    > lazy, insipid and pathetically overused phrase on ALL American television.

    At the end of the day, I agree with you 100 percent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And if it isn't the "Team" BS, it's the "Family" or "Nation" BS.

      Delete
  7. (continued)

    > 6. MOS Live Shots at the, A. Walnut Creek fountain, (too many white people),
    > B. Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, (talk about stupidity and not even mentioning a good
    > way to cause an accident)...

    Best is KTVU, which often just puts a reporter outside somewhere like Market St in SF or a scenic overview of the Bay Bridge for a story that has nothing to do with either. The story may be about how designer jeans are getting tighter and tighter, and the reporter will be standing on Market Street with the TransAmerica building in the background for some unknown reason.

    7. Sports anchors that get cutesy with the highlights

    How about sports anchors who spend half their four minutes on reporting sports and the other half doing stand-up routines with a befuddled anchor and ditzy weatherchick? "Oh, you know, Pam, when you get to be my age, you know, you have to wear shirts with wide collars because, you know, haw haw, they don't button anymore. And you probably have to cover up the wrinkles on your neck, right? Because you're an old bag like me, right? Haw-haw. Yeah, and you, young lady, you won't have to worry about this for another forty years. Right now you just have that cute boyfriend pilot who flies you around in his fighter jet. Am I right? Haw-haw? Am I right?" Why didn't KRON give this bozo the yank years ago?

    > 8. Anchor to reporter after package: "Thanks Bill." Thanks for what?

    Just going to the next story has been tried. It seems as though you're ignoring the anchor, like you're mad at him. It's the same as when someone hands you your change at the Starbucks or holds a door for you. You say "Thanks," don't you? Don't you???

    > 9. "Developing Story"--It's developing when its actually developing, but oh hell,
    > why bring that up.

    Could fold this into the Breaking News item as they're the same thing.

    > 10. The insincere horrified look from reporters on scene at terrible accident or
    > a natural disaster...

    This is one reason Catherine Heenan is my favorite anchor hands-down. I've never seen her do this, and know she despises it too.

    Then again, sure worked for this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YY0xw5r1ro.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catherine Heenan is a robotic talkhead. Does she really despise it or is she not capable of showing her feelings? Or too much botox gets in the way?

      She could learn a thing or two from Carolyn Johnson.

      Delete
    2. Catherine's never had botox, sorry. And she's emotional, just not on the air. She feels, as Dennis Richmond did, that you shouldn't know their personal opinions about every story. And Dennis never showed his emotions either, but we praise him for that.

      Delete
    3. I think Cathy Heenan has done plenty of showing her emotions and opinions. Clearly she has conservative politics in her. Same for the weather woman. Pam Moore? embarrassingly deferential to the 900 pound canary that does sports. And how many times does he need to be reassured as he CONSTANTLY asks her on air " Aren't we friends?" or variations of that.
      That's when it changes and he sounds like Benny in," Of Mice and Men".

      Delete
    4. Stan,your blogs are actually quite entertaining. Those on Raddy and Catherine (or Kathy/Cathy) Heenan groping each other are hilarious

      Delete
    5. Thank you 549. One of the things about that blog that's a surprise to me is the stats. The most popular post was a short one about former Warrior Andres Beidrens being traded away. Huge,amount of views. He's hated. One of the most searched for? The one I did on those terrible Galbani kids and there WASP Italian.
      Even the one about Clarence my slightly cross eyed cat coming home got many looks. I got challenged on his talking the other day. I called his name--- he answered "yeah?" She was amazed,so she asked me to do that again, I called his name, Clarence is that you?.."Yeah!' He answered.
      The exclamation mark might be more accurate then the question mark. That's up to debate..

      Delete
  8. Pretty good list. The "Thank You" to the live shot reporter following a story, does serve a purpose though. I know you don't care for it, but a lot of people think it looks a little awkward, or 'unfriendly' for a live person not to acknowledge another live person- especially in a local format. Just a little abrupt not to say anything at all . We're still looking for a better solution. "Only time will tell..."

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  9. "perfect storm" ... I loath that phrase....

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  10. Great list! How about "Thank you for trusting us"...

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  11. Being respectful and saying thank you is just the worst? I thanked co-workers every day who were just doing their job. You know what is weird? Cutting away from soneone's report without comment. That's weird. And talk show hosts who take the next call without thanking the last caller. How did we degenerate to a point where having manners is inappropriate?

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  12. How about when bloggers think they are "special" ?

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  13. "Community" leaders, spokesman, members, representatives... no qualifications required, no credibility checked, no relevance necessary. Just a microphone, a leading question, an inflammatory quote, a veiled threat, cut back to a grave expression on the anchor's face, and by next newscast, with a little luck, a riot.

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    Replies
    1. "Experts."

      "Rank and file."

      Delete
  14. The one cliche that drives me crazy especially during interviews on television and on radio...

    "That Being Said"....that being said replaces the other annoying cliche "Going Forward."

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  15. How about these sports phrases: "walked off under his own power?" How about just "walked off the field" or "was helped off the field". Who's "power" are you using? I walked to the store with my own power this morning. Or how about "Ensuing drive"? Who uses the word "ensuing" in real life? Or "culminating"? "At the end of the day" these are just examples or weak writing or speaking skills. But then again, "it is what it is."

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    Replies
    1. Been in the biz 20 years, never heard these even once.

      Delete
  16. Fortunately, I'm now retired but for many, many years I was a network news producer for one of the big three. Everyone I know hated MOS assignments. However, the best one was 20+ years ago when Take Your Daughter to Work Day was just getting started. The morning show people wanted soundbites from around the country, and I drew the short straw. We went downtown at lunchtime. Found a good cross section and had several usable bites in the can. We stopped after speaking with one man who told us he didn't think it was appropriate to bring his daughter to work with him. We asked why. The answer, "well, i'm a proctologist." It took us the rest of the day just to stop laughing.

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  17. --"Gaining the Upper Hand" (wildfire stories).

    --"That's Right, (insert anchor's name here)...(first words uttered by reporter on live-shot"

    --"after three innings, there's no score." (YEAH there is: The score is zero to zero)

    --"You may recall"" (whenever an anchor or reporter references a prior event about his/her story)

    --"For the VERY latest, lets go 'LIVE' to..."(as if using the word "VERY" makes it even MORE up-to-date)

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  18. The "thank you" after every hand off is lazy, forced and insincere. Either ask a follow-up question or move on. It's not like you just passed the stuffing.

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  19. Replies
    1. Oh, that's a good one.

      Delete
  20. The sighing anchorwomen (it's always anchorwomen) at the end of a sad story.

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  21. I've got another one I just heard twice tonight: We reached out to... As in "We reached out to Facebook to comment tonight but we haven't heard back." "We reached out to police for an explanation. They said..." "We reached out to Starbucks to ask why their coffee is so bitter..." Makes news reporters sound like marriage counselors.

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  22. Spot on... especially the Breaking News point... they so trivialize what they are doing they lose all credibility... oh yea... it's called Rain..

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  23. This is a hip crowd. No one asked what MOS meant.

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  24. Yes all of the above! The wrap-up Thank You is overused, insincere and seems silly most of the time. At The End Of The Day is fingernails on the chalkboard straight up. Though less common - It Is What It Is is pretty annoying also.

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  25. "Keep the umbrella handy." "Well, you can put away the umbrella ... for a few days, at least."

    How much planning, and effort, do they think it takes to put an umbrella in a closet, and take it out when it's needed.




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  26. How about when the field reporters universally nod like bobbleheads as the anchor is handing it over to them.

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  27. Oh, speaking of weather- how could we overlook these: "the white stuff" !? Always begged for companion terms, with some actually using "the wet stuff". A few brave souls with a sense of humor sometimes bring out "the dark stuff."

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  28. "How about when the field reporters universally nod like bobbleheads as the anchor is handing it over to them."

    Or the anchors who bob and dip their heads for emphasis. This is especially rampant on KTVU where the 10 p.m. anchor dips her head to underscore Every. Single. Sentence.

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  29. I can understand the "bobble heading," from reporters who are about to do a live standup, as a confirmation that they're receiving audio.

    And, I worked, solely, in radio ... where no bobble-heading is necessary.





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  30. At the end of the day, it is what it is , it goes without saying , its going to be a real gulley washer but we sure do need it . Thanks( for stating the obvious ) Paul .

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