There's No Business Like Snow Business
Summary: Intrepid Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl exhibits newfound bravery as he rides shotgun on a tour of Pittsburgh's snow-clogged sidestreets. Station: WPXI Channel 11 Reporter: Vince Sims When it Aired: Feb. 14 Running Time: 1 minute, 9 seconds Visuals: * A man in a Steelers sweatshirt and cap shoveling snow. * Oh. My. God. A salt truck in Manchester! Highlights: * When Sims announces, "From the North Side to Shadyside, we find snow-covered streets, and residents aren't happy about it." * When one angry man assesses his streets: "Terrible. They don't get to 'em fast enough." * When a more generous woman observes, "They're better than yesterday." * When Ravenstahl asks, after seeing some of the wreckage caused by our recent "snowstorm," "What did they do, hit this with a plow or what?" * When Sims speaks of the lengths Luke went to as he was chauffeured around town: "He took a tour of city neighborhoods to see first-hand, even stopping to speak with a resident of the Knoxville section." * When Ravenstahl talks like a true general-in-the-making: "It's still a little frustrating. You look at some of the secondary streets that haven't been touched, and I think in summary we need to do a better job." * When Sims assures us, "Work is underway. We caught this salt truck making the rounds in Manchester. The mayor says they will be evaluating routes and equipment as part of a solution to this slow response." * What We Learned: Our little Lukey is finally growing some snow balls. Unanswered Question: If Ravenstahl wanted to know how bad the streets were -- why didn't you let him drive? News Value: 0. This story is a flack's wet dream. Only frozen.
The Unbearable Lightness of Seeing
Summary: Some people say that eco-friendly light bulbs are frying their brains. Station: Pittsburgh CW Reporter: Sonni Abatta When it Aired: Feb. 15 Running Time: 2 minute, 5 seconds Visuals: * A somewhat psychedelic, glowing montage of "green" CFl (Compact Flourescent) light bulbs.* A doctor waving his arms around as he tries to explain what's going on. Highlights: * When Ken Rice reads one of those stupid openers that was probably written by someone who graduated from journalism school yesterday: "Seems more people lately are suffering from excruciating headaches, and they could be tied to the growing trend to become environmentally friendly." * The this-is-a-sweeps-story, new-agey music. * When Abatta hums, much like a CFl bulb, "We depend on it: Lighting is everywhere. And now new-age light is all the rage, helping you save the environment and cash at the same time." * When she adds, "[This woman] tried using those new energy-friendly light bulbs, but she got a rude awakening." * When the suffering woman complains, "My brain reacts to it and it picks up on it and it triggers headaches." * When Abatta offers this compelling evidence: "Dr. Steven Silberstein ... says these new lights appear to set off migraines in some people. The reason: The light is a different color, or some people actually can see them flickering." * When Abatta concludes, "There are no large-scale scientific studies on migraines and these new light bulbs. The American Lighting Association says ... these bulbs are safe." What We Learned: Remember, it's as easy to switch off your television set as it is a light bulb. Unanswered Question: Does recycling canned news stories qualify as green, too? News Value: 2. Call me when there is a large-scale scientific study.
The Case of the Pilfered Pup
Summary: A miniscule Maltese could be in danger, and police need YOUR help in finding the pupetrator! Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Tara Edwards When it Aired: Feb. 15 Running Time: 1 minute, 10 seconds Visuals: * Photos of a cute Maltese that resembles the one that "vanished" over the weekend. * Inside Petland in Robinson Township. Highlights: * When Edwards reports, "He looks a lot like this little one, according to the workers at Petland. A furry, white Maltese weighing only one pound. And they say it only took a matter of minutes for him to vanish over the weekend." * When Edwards details, "[This kennel manager] tells us the woman in her 20s in a baseball cap was handed the puppy to play with inside the Robinson Township shop. When the employee stepped away, the suspect walked out of the store with the puppy under her coat. She may have been working with two accomplices." * When Edwards informs us, "A police pet-alert was issued today. Petland workers estimate it will go out to 21,000 police stations and veterinarians. ... What's more, the dog is also microchipped." What We Learned: If you're going to steal a one-pound pooch, the more accomplices the better. Unanswered Question: Is this barking news? News Value: 1 pound. I hope they catch you, you damned puppy thief, and make you clean dog poop for a year.