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This Just In: Week of Oct. 26

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Lots of Danger

Summary: A recent series of local "accidents" draws attention to the pedestrian perils of parking lots. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Janelle Hall When It Aired: Oct. 21 Running Time: 2 minutes, 13 seconds Visuals: * Our single interview subject, a woman pushing a cart of groceries in a parking lot. Highlights: * When Hall commences, "Sometimes, parking lots can be pretty dangerous places. Earlier this week, a 78-year-old man was struck and killed in a bank parking lot in Belle Vernon. ... Fortunately, most of the accidents are nothing more than minor fender-benders. So what makes some of those lots so dangerous?" * When the female subject answers, "Everybody's in a hurry." * When Hall states, "We even found that to be the case when we followed [this woman] to her car: someone rushing her out of the way to grab that parking space." * When Hall comments as a "hit-and-run video" airs: "Not everyone is so lucky to catch the culprit in the act. Especially when you have the ever-so-famous 'parallel-park-right-inta-ya maneuver.'" * When Hall explains, "Well, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found in a two-year span, about 14 percent of all claims for auto damage involved parking-lot collisions, saying strong bumpers could reduce or eliminate a lot of that damage." * When the woman surmises what she believes is the real problem: "I think people tend to drive too fast in a parking lot." * When Hall advises, "Sometimes, a little patience, common sense and common courtesy oftentimes eliminates a lot of those problems." What We Learned: Sometimes, you'll oftentimes hear gibberish out of the mouths of TV news anchors. Unanswered Question: Don't you TV people have anything better to do than stalk little old ladies in parking lots? News Value: 2. Maybe some day, we'll live in a world where you actually have to know how to drive to obtain a license.

A Meeting of Minds

Summary: A new monument is erected on Mount Washington, set to be unveiled. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Dave Crawley When It Aired: Oct. 20 Running Time: 1 minute, 58 seconds Visuals: * Photography that is interesting, in that it shows us part of the process of making the statues and how much effort goes into putting them in place. Highlights: * When Crawley narrates, "George Washington pays a visit to the hill that bears his name, and this time he's staying, along with a Seneca chief by the name of Guyasuta." * When he adds, "Jim West designed the statues at his home in O'Hara Township, then supervised the final steps at a fine-art foundry in Lancaster. The statues commemorate a chance meeting in 1763 when Colonel Washington was still a British officer. Though Guyasuta once served as Washington's guide, he joined the French side during the war." * When Crawley continues, "The proclamation ending the French and Indian War stated there would be no white settlements west of the Alleghenies. But then Guyasuta finds George Washington surveying this area. Whoops." * When West remarks, "Well, one thing we do know, is we know that these two men put everything aside one night, and sat there and talked." * When a woman with the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation construes, "Really, the story of the statue is almost the space between the two figures. If you stand and look at it, there's a charge there, there's an energy there." * When Crawley says, "It's the story of former comrades, separated by war, reunited in a moment of uneasy reconciliation." * When artist West says, "My hope would be that people could come here when they have differences and put them aside." What We Learned: Why Pittsburgh truly is someplace special. Unanswered Question: Do you think we'll ever see members of city council talking at the monument? News Value: 8. If you're going to do a feature story, this is the way to do it. Crawley cuts out some of the corn he feeds us in many of "KD Country" stories and manages to be more poignant than ever.

Ethanol 101

Summary: After a major train derailment occurs in Beaver County, spilling massive quantities of ethanol from its tankers, WTAE feels the need to make sure we know what this "mysterious" substance is. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Janelle Hall When It Aired: Oct. 21 Running Time: 24 seconds Visuals: * A graphic with a sign that depicts a skull and crossbones, and another that reads, "Hazardous Material." Highlights: * When Hall delivers this highly educational information: "We now know that the tanker cars were filled with ethanol. So what is it? Well, it's basically grain alcohol liquid. The strong stuff that you're gonna find at the liquor stores. Ethanol is highly flammable but mildly toxic. It also has a distinctive perfume-like odor. It also is a fuel alternative. Ethanol can be blended with gasoline to create E85, a fuel mix for some newer cars."

What We Learned: Don't cry over spilled ethanol. Unanswered Question: Now where did I put that punch bowl? News Value: 1. What a waste of good alcohol. And 24 seconds.

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