Summary: A city councilor makes a safe proposition. Station: WPXI Channel 11 Reporter: Andy Gastmeyer When It Aired: Dec. 7 Running Time: 2 minutes, 11 seconds Visuals: * Pedestrians crossing some major thoroughfares on a blustery day in Pittsburgh. * Several sites of fatal pedestrian accidents. Highlights: * When Gastmeyer reports, "You would think this kind of signage along this stretch of Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill and at so many other locations around the city would be enough to focus attention on those intersections considered to be risky business, so to speak, for pedestrians trying to brave their way through traffic." * When Gastmeyer ruminates, "But we've been tragically reminded in a number of instances within the past year or so that such is not the case." * When Pittsburgh City Councilor Bill Peduto remarks, "In my council district in the past few years, there have been several people who've been killed, simply by crossing the street. ... [W]e need a real capital-investment program in order to make our streets safe." * When Gastmeyer explains, "Now Councilman Peduto bills this as the first-ever proactive approach to identifying the most dangerous intersections throughout the city, and using the information gathered to make the appropriate safety measures at those same locations." * When he adds, "What Peduto plans to do is introduce a resolution in council next Tuesday that would create a 'Safe Streets Initiative' trust fund, using revenues from yet-to-be-installed red-light cameras, which take pictures of license plates on cars that run red lights. Millions could be raised, says Peduto, and the money could be diverted to where it's most needed." What We Learned: Argue this way or that: Peduto does his homework and knows what he's talking about. Unanswered Question: Will we ever find a way to make drivers safe? News Value: 7. Worried this was going to be another "Beware or die!" story, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Gastmeyer tackled the subject without sensationalism, offering relevant insight into what one local leader is doing to try to make Pittsburgh more livable.
Spying on Diana
Summary: The mystery surrounding Princess Di's death lives on! Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Shannon Perrine When It Aired: Dec. 10 Running Time: 1 minute, 39 seconds Visuals: A Diana "docu-montage," featuring hidden-camera footage and tabloid clippings. Highlights: * When Perrine, who is standing up because this story is obviously of monumental merit, divulges, "American spies reportedly tapped Princess Diana's phone, listening in on her conversations just hours before her death in Paris. Now, a new report to be released this week by a British newspaper seeks to close the book on Diana's death, which has been shrouded in conspiracy theories for nine years now. But the new information about American spies may only perpetuate those theories." * When Perrine makes this audacious statement, "Now, everyone wants to know why in the world the United States would want to spy on her. That means more, not fewer questions, about the death of a beguiling woman, a death still stirring debate. Was it just an accident or was she targeted?" * When Perrine continues, "A French investigation concluded the death was an accident. The driver was drunk, the paparazzi was chasing too close. The British investigation, taking years and costing $5 million, shares the same conclusion. But with a new revelation about CIA spies, the debates over Diana's death will likely live on." What We Learned: If it bleeds, it leads. If it's dead, it drags on forever. Unanswered Question: What, not enough fires in Wilkinsburg tonight? News Value: 0.
Picking the Perfect Present
Summary: Research suggests a new approach to gift-selection. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Meg Oliver, CBS News When it Aired: Dec. 11 Running Time: 24 seconds Visuals: Holiday shoppers jammed wall-to-wall in a department store. Highlights: * When anchor Keith Jones teases, "If you can't figure out what to give your loved one for Christmas, we have the answer. Hear what scientists say is the best way to pick that perfect present." * When Oliver discloses, "Scientists say if you're stuck trying to figure out that perfect gift this holiday season, you might try thinking about your loved one as a stranger. Experts have found that people are better at guessing what strangers like than choosing what their closest companion desires." * When Oliver adds, "Researchers suggest that is because when predicting what a stranger would like, one is forced to rely on general and stereotypical information that is often quite helpful in choosing a well-liked gift." What We Learned: Stranger not, this might be helpful information. Unanswered Question: I already know what to give my loved ones: Can you give me some gift ideas for people I don't like? News Value: 3. Why do gifts have to be "perfect," anyway?