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This Just In: Oct 24 - 31 

Get the Lead Out

Summary: Move over Tupperware -- the newest "ladies' home party" involves testing for toxins! Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Yvonne Zanos When it Aired: Oct. 18 Running Time: 3 minutes, 16 seconds Visuals: * Small children chewing on their toys. * A do-it-yourself lead-testing kit demonstration. * Women engrossed in a discussion about the dangers of lead in toys. Highlights: * When Zanos makes this completely off-the-wall (or Great Wall, more appropriately) statement: "It's a marriage that should surprise nobody. Parents worried about lead in toys made in China joining hands with the United Steelworkers, who lost so many jobs to China. The campaign is called 'Protect Our Kids -- Stop Toxic Imports.' It's a campaign that's traveling from home-to-home across the country." * When Zanos asks, "How safe are your children? Are you exposing them to lead? With millions of toys recalled in recent weeks, how can you be sure?" She offers, "That's why this Mount Lebanon mother of two decided to take action, starting with a $3 lead-test kit." * When the mother gives the all-clear -- "These toys we tested earlier today, and they came out fine. This is my son's favorite toy, so we wanted to make sure it didn't have lead in it." * When Zanos reminds us, "But all too many toys do have lead in the paint. Here's how to find out for sure ... If it turns red, it's got lead. That's just part of what [this woman] is sharing with her neighbors today by hosting a 'safe home' session. It's just the kind of information this mother of two says she's been wanting to hear." * When a woman representing USW's "Women of Steel" surmises, "It's not just the toys, that we're affected by lipstick, we're affected by costume jewelry, ceramic mugs. ... We've got it out of our industry, we've got it out of our fuel, now it's time to get it out of our homes." * When Zanos explains, "Now, you can usually find inexpensive lead-testing kits at hardware stores, or if you'd like to learn more about how to host a party or how to get this lead test for just $3 you can go to our Web site." What We Learned: The USW Women of Steel are leading the way. Unanswered Question: What's next -- radon parties? News Value: 2. It sounds like the primary purpose of this USW outreach mission is about grinding a big steel ax with China. And just two days later, CBS aired a story about the unreliability of these home tests. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported half of about 100 kits they tested came back with false negatives, and two were false positives.

French Fried

Summary: Listen up, school kids -- those fatty fries are gonna cost you extra. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Wendy Bell When it Aired: Oct. 18 Running Time: 1 minute, 44 seconds Visuals: * A shaky shot outside Gateway High School, in Monroeville. * A lunch lady ladling on more liquid cheese than should be allowed by law on top of nachos and chili. Highlights: * When Bell begins, "It is the nation's largest mass feeding. Every weekday at lunch, more than 27 million school kids sit down to eat hamburgers and pizza, and don't forget French fries." * When Leslie Bonci, who judging from her frequent appearances on these segments must be the only nutritionist in Pittsburgh, tells us what a French fry is: "You take a potato, you remove the skin, you're just using the inner part, which is primarily the starch, and then you're immersing it in fat." OMG -- who knew? * When Bell reports, "Now if students at Gateway High School want fries, they'll have to pay more -- 50 cents more." * When a female freshman opines, "Everyone's been saying it's so dumb." * When Bell says, "The theory is this: Make students pay more for something that's unhealthy, and maybe they'll begin to make healthier choices. The French-fry surcharge has been working in North Hills High School for two years." * When the same teen-age girl adds, "I still see a lot of people getting them everyday, so I don't think it's really working yet. * When Bell concludes, "Give it time. ... The district is also introducing lower-fat milk, turkey products, salad and even soy peanut-butter as part of their healthy choice program." What We Learned: What a French fry is! Finally! Unanswered Question: Uh, so, in two years at North Hills, what statistics do you have that kids are keeping their weight down? News Value: 5. I'm not sure this is part of the answer to childhood obesity at all. But what really gets my goat cheese here is that with all the talent and expertise in this town, why TV news reporters rely on the same old know-it-alls ...

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