The Lights Are On, But No One's Home
Summary: The boom is about to be lowered big-time on city employees who dare to dwell outside its clearly charted boundaries! Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Marty Griffin When it Aired: May 1 Running Time: 2 minutes, 47 seconds Visuals: * Griffin grandstanding atop Mount Washington, a panoramic view of Downtown behind him. * Mayor Luke Ravenstahl yapping inside a KDKA radio studio. * A graphic that spells out, with undue certainty, the bone of Griffin's investigative contention: "The City Residency Requirement." Highlights: * When anchor Patrice King Brown barks, "Now this is an unprecedented investigation of city employees that you will see only on KDKA." * When Griffin lays the foundation for his big investigation: "[S]ources tell me that right now 103 city employees from all departments are under investigation, accused of illegally living outside the city of Pittsburgh. Bottom line: If you work for the city of Pittsburgh, you live inside the city, or you get fired. ... [S]ources tell me that a high-ranking Pittsburgh police officer has just retired in the last few hours, about to be accused of illegally living outside the city. And those same sources tell me this is just the beginning." * When Griffin grunts, "My sources say investigators have extensive information on a number of city employees that prove they are living outside city limits, including utility bills, mail and surveillance photos. ... The city, meanwhile, I'm told is prepared to terminate a number of employees very, very soon." What We Learned: Ask not for whom the doorbell tolls, it tolls for thee! Unanswered Question: With sources like this, who needs enemies? News Value: 2. Griffin needs to cut with the huffing and puffing or he's going to blow somebody's house down -- in or out of city limits. He doesn't give you the name of the "high-ranking police officer" because he wants you to tune into his next day's follow-up story. You can view the uncut interview with Lt. Phil Dacey on the KDKA Web site -- which only serves to illustrate how overblown and based on hearsay this story is. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ravenstahl dismissed rumors that 100 employees would be fired. It certainly hasn't happened yet, despite Griffin's insistence that it would be "very, very soon."
Can You Read Me Now?
Summary: A "Team 4 Investigation" about the latest driver diversion, "texting." Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Paul Van Osdol When it Aired: May 2 Running Time: 2 minutes, 57 seconds Visuals: * A driver's-ed instructor running over orange cones as he tries to text-message while driving. * People texting as they drive. Highlights: * When Van Osdol reports, "Rush hour on the Parkway East, and look at this woman: eyes on her cell phone, fingers tapping text messages in bumper-to-bumper traffic. We watched as she texted while driving, all the way from Bates Street to the Squirrel Hill Tunnel." * When Van Osdol gives us the scoop: "We caught up with [this young woman], a North Catholic High senior, as she arrived at her Wilkinsburg home." He confronts her, "It is a concern about the safety risk when you're texting when you're behind the wheel?" * She answers, quite calmly, "Um, yeah, but I don't do it all the time." * When he reveals, "[A] recent insurance-industry survey found teens say texting is their number-one driving distraction, but they still do it." * When Van Osdol explains, "Pittsburgh driver's-ed teacher David Aites doesn't know how anyone could do it." * When Aites suggests, "You gotta be totally crazy." * When Van Osdol tells us, "Team 4 put Aites to the test, asking him to navigate a standard driver's-ed course while sending text messages. ... He flunked." * When Osdol later adds, "[T]he House Transportation chairman said he had no idea driving while texting was so widespread." * When Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Monroeville) says, "I'm dumbfounded to hear that 30 percent of young people who drive a vehicle say that they text message while they drive a vehicle. That is frightening." You know what's even more frightening? A clueless House Transportation chairman! What We Learned: DNT TXT N DRV. Unanswered Question: And so the solution is ...? News Value: 1. I don't think the dangers of texting merits an all-out "Team 4" investigative report. Frankly, it's a waste of the talents of Paul Van Osdol.
Summary: A local lumber magnate gets hitched. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Kelly Frey When it Aired: May 7 Running Time: 35 seconds Visuals: * A photo of the newlyweds. * Frey gushing. Highlights: * When Frey bursts out, "Viva Las Vegas! 84-year-old Joe Hardy -- a groom again following a wedding over the weekend in Vegas. The founder of 84 Lumber married [a Masontown woman]. A spokesman for 84 Lumber though, would not provide any details." * When she adds, "The 22-year-old worked at the salon at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. This is Hardy's third marriage." What We Learned: 'Til death do them part! Unanswered Question: Kelly, who wants the details? News Value: 1. This would make the news even if the bride wasn't so much younger. But so what?