Summary: A woman discovers a deer head in her mailbox. Station: WPXI Channel 11 Reporter: David Highfield When it Aired: Dec. 12 Running Time: 2 minutes Visuals: * The caption, “Disturbing Delivery.” * The mailbox where the “surprise” was discovered. Highlights: * When anchor Ken Rice clues us in: “This isn’t the only bizarre incident involving a dead deer in that area.” * When Highfield reveals an eerie, deery connection: “Both of them happened in northern Butler County, and both of them happened on property that’s posted [no trespassing]. One of the incidents happened a couple weeks ago, but the mailbox incident, that happened just yesterday.” * When the recipient unpacks her encounter: “I opened the door and I thought it was a fuzzy, yarn scarf or something. I even touched it and then I looked and saw that it was blood and bones and fur, and I slammed the door and screamed.” * When Highfield follows, “State police came and removed the deer head. The [family] has 45 acres and doesn’t allow hunting. They don’t know if that’s involved with this.” * When the woman says, “I hope it’s a random. … And I hope they don’t ever choose my mailbox again.” What We Learned: Never try on clothes — especially scarves — without washing them first, for heaven’s sake. Unanswered Question: A deer head in your mailbox is more frightening than a gas bill? News Value: 3. D’oh! A deer! That’s the best you got?
Summary: A cross-country tagger gets caught after posting photos of her vandalism online. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: David Highfield When it Aired: Dec. 13 Running Time: 2 minutes, 9 seconds Visuals: * Photos — too many of them gratuitous cheesecake shots — from the attention-seeking woman’s MySpace page, including one showing her tagging her name on a Mount Washington monument. * Other examples of unsightly graffiti. Highlights: * When Highfield reminisces, “[W]e’ve done stories before about dumb criminals — you know, burglars who fall asleep in someone’s house, something like that. Well, in this case, the scene of the crime was this overlook here on Mount Washington and a very incriminating picture was taken right here.” * When he narrates, “Like many visitors to our city, [this woman] from Vermont had her picture taken on Mount Washington. … [But police] say she plastered her name on the side of a monument and then posted the picture on her MySpace page …” * When a police officer reads the caption under her photo: “Yes, I did it … what a rush taggin’ with the whole city below me!” * When Highfield reveals, “A tipster e-mailed these two photos to the mayor’s 311 response line.” * When a graffiti officer says the 26-year-old woman was “actually going from state to state doin’ it, and we don’t find too many graffiti artists that go from state to state.” * When Highfiled concludes, “And the Pittsburgh Police Graffiti task force doesn’t often find cases so easy to solve … Because of the MySpace page, cops closed this case in 24 hours.” What We Learned: Next time she’s here, she might want to visit an art museum. Unanswered Question: She’s 26? News Value: 4. There are so many volunteers in Pittsburgh who work without thanks to clean garbage and graffiti — let’s give them more attention.
Spiel of Fortune
Summary: Can ya believe it? You can buy expensive things in Pittsburgh! Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Andrew Stockey When it Aired: Dec. 14 Running Time: 1 minute, 34 seconds Visuals: * A large, crystal bowl of M&Ms — with the “browns removed.” * Stockey putting money into a red Salvation Army kettle. Highlights: * When Stockey asks, in what will become a series of maddening questions: “If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, how about this diamond-encrusted Rolex, for $88,000?” * When he hoots, “For the kids, satisfy two passions with a single gift: a limited-edition Steeler train for $800, and that includes its own bus.” * When a toy-store spokesman boasts, “It’s great for children of all ages, boys, girls, men, women — it crosses all boundaries.” * When Stockey asks, “For that guy in your life who just loves to drive? Well, how about this living room on wheels? This top-of-the-line Bentley. Price tag? $280,000. Why so expensive? Because this car is handmade.” * When Stockey, sounding like my 8-year-old, asks “Hosting a holiday bash? How about having the penthouse floor of the Renaissance Hotel for $25,000?” * When a hotel rep pimps his package: “It includes breakfast the following morning, with champagne and caviar and eggs Benedict, as well as a nice crystal bowl of M&Ms with all the browns removed.” * When Stockey adds, “Just the way Van Halen likes ’em when they’re in town.” * What We Learned: Yeah — just like Van Halen, baby! Unanswered Question: You can never have too many rhetorical questions, can you? News Value: Priceless. No, wait, I mean “0.”