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This Just In

Get a job!

WPXI reporter Jennifer Tomazic drives all the way to Connellsville, Fayette County, to do a piece apparently meant to scare the hell out of senior citizens in the entire WPXI viewing area, while keeping them prisoners in their own homes. 

“New video of an 81-year-old woman who was robbed right in front of a church!” announces anchor Damany Lewis. Lewis leads you to believe there is actually a video of the robbery, but they are just location shots from Connellsville.

Tomazic recounts, “Well, she says she doesn’t feel safe walking around town anymore, after she says that a man came up to her and snatched her wallet right from her hands. … And [she] had just split seconds to fight for her wallet.”

The elderly woman says, “I don’t feel safe out walking, because I just have to stay around the house as much as possible, you know.” She then offers this message for the robber: “Get yourself a job. And if you’d have asked me if you was hungry or something, I would’da went ahead and gave you the $20.”

The problem with these stories — spot-news pieces — is that they do more harm than good. Instead of fear-mongering, WPXI could have alerted the community in a way that doesn’t have every person with an AARP card locking themselves in their homes. But giving advice to seniors about how to be vigilant, and asking neighbors to look out for the elderly, would make too much sense. 

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Geese of mind

WTAE morning anchor Janelle Hall reveals, “It’s not every day that you see these in the South Hills [video shows inflatable sharks]. What you would normally find in the ocean, sitting pretty in a pool in the wintertime. We’re talkin’ about sharks, keeping geese out of this park in Scott Township. On land, coyotes doing the same [video of a coyote decoy made of fur and a sawhorse]; these ballfields guarded, keeping the ‘fowl’ from invading.”

A man being interviewed in his car (maybe he’s afraid of the geese or of blow-up sharks?) says, “The geese look nice but oh, those droppings are everywhere, and it’s coating the parking lot and the sidewalks and the grassy areas — it’s a real mess.”

“While our camera was rolling, we actually caught multiple geese going in and then out of the park. The decoys, apparently doing their jobs; predators in plastic giving neighbors peace of mind,” reports Hall.

That is some good detective work. 

If only former Allegheny County Executive Dan “The Goose Killer” Onorato had thought of this back in 2007 when he came under fire for his shoot-first, deal-with-flack-from-animal-rights’-activists-later policy.

Trials and Trib-ulations

Now that the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is exclusively online, let’s check in with it, shall we?

In response to “The Fresh Market” coming to Fox Chapel, a letter-to-the-editor writer expresses her dismay and desire for something a little simpler: “What we don’t have is a friendly store where you can just get a can of beans, bag of flour or a dozen plain-old, non-free-range eggs.” 

Who says the Trib has no room for the populist opinion?

Meanwhile, reporter John Conti writes an architecture essay that tackles the trope of post-industrial Pittsburgh. 

“Pittsburgh needs a new reason for being,” he muses.

He laments, “Our city was built when river transportation was key to the economic development of an inland city. It later thrived because abundant natural resources made us the center of the second industrial revolution. Things like mining coal, producing oil and natural gas, and making iron, steel and glass gave us size and wealth.”

If you didn’t fall asleep after that lead, you would be able to read his novel idea: “We have to stand out as a special and visually attractive city in order to continue growing and being.”

If only all reporters could learn to skip the part (or at least make it a lot shorter) about our industrial past, we’d save about 200 words. Although without the restrictions of a printed page holding them back, these nostalgic leads might go on long enough for Donald Trump to bring steel back to Pittsburgh.

Germy Gyms

KDKA’s David Highfield introduces a Consumer Reports special about all of those nasty bugs you can pick up at the gym. 

He reads, “Well, if your New Year’s resolution includes hitting the gym, here’s an important warning before working out — gyms can be breeding grounds for some nasty bacteria, fungus and viruses.”

But there’s good news! Teresa Carr, of Consumer Reports, says you can prevent most of these threats by taking simple steps, like covering a cut with a bandage. 

Carr adds, “And you know, some germs can live for days on those mats, as well as other surfaces in the gym.” Meaning those germs will probably outlast your New Year’s resolution to get fit. Here’s to a germy new year, everyone!

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