Save the Animals
Summary: An area animal shelter rallies to win a contest that could greatly improve its facility. Station: WPXI Channel 11 Reporter: Stuart Brown When it Aired: Jan. 7 Running Time: 1 minute, 37 seconds Visuals: * Outside the Washington Area Humane Society facility -- and inside, where homeless animals await adoption. Highlights: * A quick clip showing a volunteer pitching to a potential donator, "What we're asking you to do is go on zootoo.com and register." * When Brown explains, "[This woman] and other volunteers at the Washington Area Humane Society are trying to reach as many animal lovers as they can to help [them] win as much as $1 million in a nationwide contest. ... Supporters who log on to the Web site can earn points for their favorite shelter." * When a woman who works at the shelter pleads, "We desperately need a makeover. We don't have enough room. Our shelter has been around for 101 years." * When Brown tells the all-too-familiar story: "The Humane Society's no-kill policy limits how many animals it can care for. It also saves space for abused dogs like this one, part of a group of 70 that were taken away in November from a couple charged with cruelty and neglect." * When the shelter worker shares some particulars: "Well, we're competing with approximately 4,000 [shelters]. There's shelters joining [the contest] every day. And that's amazing that we got to number four right now." What We Learned: Next time you are jonesin' for a cup of Starbucks, you might want to think about getting a coffee on the cheap instead and donating to your local animal shelter. Unanswered Question: Are any other area shelters participating? News Value: 5. Sometimes "shelter" stories can be over-the-top (for example, when WTAE's Kelly Frey does them), but Stu keeps it cool and compelling.
Save the Trees
Summary: Squirrel Hill residents challenge city hall to keep the trees that keep the "squirrel" in "Squirrel Hill." Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Andrew Stockey When it Aired: Jan. 8 Running Time: 1 minute, 21 seconds Visuals: * The old giants on Monitor Street, slated to be torn down, now adorned with green ribbons. * Murray, a no-doubt tree-loving local dog, taking his daily walk with owner Barry Shields. Highlights: * When Stockey gives us a stock opener: "Pittsburgh is known of course for its bridges and its rivers. But we have more trees than anything else, although you might see a lot fewer of these in the coming months. * When he adds, "There are approximately 31,000 trees [lining] the city's streets. Three thousand of them are targeted as diseased and a possible danger." * When Mike Gable from the Department of Public Works explains, "[T]here's the danger they could fall -- fall on a car, fall on a house, God forbid, fall on a person." * When Stockey asks resident Barry Shields, "Isn't [tree-cutting] something the neighbors would welcome to make sure that their properties are safe?" * When Shields replies, "Ah, they would, if they were sure that there was no other way of saving the trees." * When Stockey continues, "Gable knows it's impossible to replace these giants, but says there are plans in place to actually plant more trees than will be cut down. ... The two sides plan to meet on this Thursday night to hopefully reach an agreement on the future of these old trees." What We Learned: Oh, tie a gre-een ribbon if you still want trees ... Unanswered Question: And the earth could explode at any given time too, right, Mr. Gable? News Value: 6. This is a good story, and both sides were presented well, given time restrictions.
Save Your Stomach
Summary: Some upsetting news for gum lovers to chew on. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Dr. Maria Simbra When it Aired: Jan. 11 Running Time: 1 minute, 48 seconds Visuals: * Up-close shots (too close for my taste) of people chewing gum. * Simbra circling her fingers around the image of an intestine on a wall poster. Highlights: * When Simbra chirps, "Too many trips to the bathroom could be from going sugar-free. A couple of cases highlighted in a major medical journal are bringing attention to this problem." * When Simbra explains the issue, "While these things can happen, a more gnawing issue can come from the ingredients. A sweetener in sugar-free chewing gum and other sweet treats called sorbitol can lead to chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain and weight loss. In fact, this digestive specialist sees five patients a year with this specific problem." * When she adds, "Sorbitol is not well absorbed into the intestine, so it stays there and it pulls fluid into the digestive track, and the result is much like a laxative." What We Learned: Just stick with regular gum. Unanswered Question: Is anything safe to eat? News Value: 3. This news is not really new, but I'm betting a lot of people weren't aware of this, so we'll give her a few points for that -- and the fact that nobody fondles innards as well as Dr. Maria.