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This Just In: April 9 - 16

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Homestead Boo!rough

Summary: Some local officials claim there's something spooky happening in their municipality -- and they ain't talkin' about the council meetings! Station: WPXI Channel 11 Reporter: Renee Kaminski When it Aired: April 6 Running Time: 2 minutes, 13 seconds Visuals: *A shot of Kaminski outside the borough building interviewing an elderly woman clutching a small white dog in her arm. * "Shadows" apparently meant to recreate those allegedly inexplicable ones seen by borough employees. Highlights: * Anchor Danielle Nottingham's introductory statement: "A local police department hires paranormal investigators to look into hauntings at its station. Homestead officers want proof their ghost stories are real." * When Kaminski begins to build their case, "Slamming doors and creaky floors are one thing. But what police officers, staff, even the mayor of Homestead, say they personally witnessed in the borough building cannot be explained away." * When a borough employee recalls, "There were 20 of us here in a meeting. There was a typewriter on the back wall and the typewriter started to type by itself." * When Kaminski reports, "When we turned it on, the backspace seems to be stuck. Or was it?" I dunno, Renee, you tell me. * When Kaminski adds, "Others can't explain the attic door that no matter how many times is bolted, springs open. Or the burst of bone-chilling air that blows through enclosed hallways and around old cellblocks." * When the employee takes us into the boiler room and claims, "[T]here were always noises in this room. He [we are never told who 'he' is] shone his flashlight there and that's when he saw the shadow." * As Kaminski enters what is apparently the Bermuda Triangle of the borough building -- the boiler room -- she says, "I was skeptical -- all the way up to the door slamming." * When Kaminski starts to yelp after her photographer obviously slams the door behind her, shutting her in. * When the faceless photographer says, "I didn't do it," and she replies, "Yes you did!" * When Kaminski continues, "The mysterious happenings aren't all inside the borough building. The mayor showed us a broken-down sidewalk sweeper that somehow started up last November -- without a key, and without a battery." * When a Homestead police officer tells her, "Occasionally, we'll sit here, type reports or whatever, and you'll hear the back door, the footsteps, you'll lean back in the chair and look out the door and nobody's here." * When Kaminski says, "I'm back in the boiler room and this is the room where the paranormal investigators say they did find something. But what it was, well, we'll have to wait." * When Nottingham concludes, "And the greater Pittsburgh Paranormal Society supplies local stories for the Sci-Fi Channel. The group says it has video and audiotape evidence that what these police officers are experiencing is not imagined. They say they will show us what they caught on camera very soon. Stay tuned." Oh, I will! What We Learned: WPXI just couldn't channel the ghost this time. Unanswered Question: These are the people running our boroughs? News Value: 5. Renee reports all in good fun -- but isn't sweeps next month?

 

All Quiet on the Northern Front

Summary: The Pirates prepare for opening day. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Ari Hait, "Live" When it Aired: April 7 Running Time: 1 minute, 46 seconds Visuals: * The caption, "Opening Day Has Arrived!" Woo. Hoo. * A close-up of a basket of French fries. Highlights: * When anchor Andrew Stockey cackles, "It is certainly one of the most exciting days of the year: opening day at PNC Park. The Pirates getting ready to take on the Chicago Cubs -- 1:35 this afternoon is the first pitch. But of course, on opening day, the game is only part of the excitement." * When Hait, standing in the dusk on the North Shore outside PNC Park rambles, "We are still, what -- about seven-and-a-half hours until opening pitch -- say, the first pitch here of the season at PNC Park." * When Hait, with absolutely no sign of life behind him, maintains, "[W]e've already got a lot of activity going on down here. Some ushers, we've got some folks back here cleaning the sidewalks, some guys inside -- definitely a lot of baseball buzz around here for this early hour." * When he continues: "[T]he Pirates want you to know there is plenty going on off the field here at PNC Park. That's what they want you to know about. So let's talk about some of that new stuff ... PNC Park this year is offering all-you-can-eat seats in the right-field area. Fans sitting there have their own concession stand. They can take whatever they want. It does cost a little more to sit there -- 40 bucks a ticket -- but most drinks are included but you do have to pay for water and beer." What We Learned: That we inch ever closer to beating the Phillies' worst-team-of-all-time record -- because we're not quitters, dammit! Unanswered Question: Could Ari have said "PNC Park" one more time? News Value: 2. This piece is a flack's wet dream to be sure, but opening day is opening day. I anxiously await the follow-up on this "all-you-can-eat" concept.

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