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This Just In: March 19 - 26

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All Gassed Up!

Summary: A pre-St. Paddy's Day visit from Hillary Clinton. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: John Shumway When it Aired: March 14  Running Time: 2 minutes, 4 seconds
Visuals: * Inside "bay number one" at the Bloomfield Gulf station where Clinton will speak to the press. * A sign showing the price of $3.329 for regular unleaded. Highlights: * When Shumway tells us, "[T]he pumps are quiet here at [this full-serve gas station] because they've got it all sealed off and they're getting bay number one ready. At 2:30 this afternoon, Hillary Clinton's gonna stand right there in the doorway and tell us all about her plan to solve this energy crisis." * When the gas station's owner recalls his first response to the Clinton campaign's request to do a press conference: "I said, 'Nah, I'm not really interested.'" * When, after Shumway reveals that the owner's girlfriend helped change his mind, the owner says, "[I]t's good for Bloomfield. And it's good to get the word out that you know, anymore, we're making no more in gasoline as far as profit goes than we did 10 years ago. The percentage is still the same and the cost is astronomical." * When Shumway informs us, "As for his vote, the Senator has some selling to do." * The owner responds, "It's either Hillary or McCain." * When Shumway concludes, "Mrs. Clinton will be spending a little bit of time with the [owner's] family to have a few pictures taken. After all, they're not getting paid for this and they're not pumpin' any gas, so they'll at least have some pictures to remember it by." What We Learned: Politicians still want us to believe they can solve the energy crisis ... Unanswered Question: You mean there is another full-serve gas station other than the one in Carrick? News Value: 4. Hey, Shumway -- how about a story on the full-service stations in town for those of us who don't want to smell like gasoline or dodge 20 aisles of overpriced goodies?

 

All Goosed Up!

Summary: Speaking of gas or, er, gassing -- after last year's controversial euthanizing of 250 geese in North Park, it's time for officials to go after those pesky birds again. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Jake Ploeger When it Aired: March 12 Running Time: 1 minute, 43 seconds Visuals: * Geese meandering in North Park. * People meandering at a goose-management meeting. Highlights: * When Ploeger reports, "Allegheny County officials say they're trying to come up with a more humane way to manage the goose population here at North Park, but they also say they won't rule out rounding them up and euthanizing them once again." * When Andy Baechle, Allegheny County Parks director, admits, "In the past we've been doing a lot of the right things, but not exactly at the right time. We've learned a lot." * When Ploeger explains, "This year the county has entered into a contract with the USDA. That contract calls for the USDA to develop a plan and monitor the management of the geese. The plan includes coating eggs with corn oil, which stops development of the egg. The plan also uses various non-lethal harassment techniques." * When Baechle opines of the goose "problem": "It'll be here for life. We will have to manage these geese forever. " Ploeger presses, "There'll be no more round-ups?" and Baechle replies, "I will never say that. What I'll say is our hope is not to do that." What We Learned: Looks like we could have a mother of a goose problem on our hands again. Unanswered Question: The goose-management story couldn't wait until after Easter? News Value: 3. Let's hope nobody ends up with egg on his face.

 

... And Tires Afire!

Summary: A dog is found dead in Fayette County, amid disturbing circumstances. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Janelle Hall When it Aired: March 14 Running Time: 1 minute, 33 seconds Visuals: * The caption, "Work of a Cult?" * Janelle Hall standing in front of the still-smoldering fire, smoke billowing in the bare forest behind her. Highlights: * When Hall describes the scene in Grindstone: "An intentionally set tire fire burning beneath the 70-pound dog tied to the tree." * When a man from the local Humane Society comments, "It's crazy. It's ridiculous. It's inhumane." * When Hall says, "We'll show you the scene of the fire ... but we are not showing you the images of the dog because they're too graphic." * When Hall relays, "Investigators found a pentagram a few feet away from the dog. They just don't know how long that symbol has been there or if it was just put there." She adds, "This investigation is far from over. They're going to take that dog back to the Humane Society, take more pictures and now offer a reward to try to get someone to talk." What We Learned: To be thankful for the good people who work for our Humane Societies. Unanswered Question: Whatever happened to good old-fashioned goat-sacrificing? News Value: 5. No, I don't condone goat-killing, either. When it comes to animals, local TV coverage tries to numerically balance positive stories and negative stories. Let's hope that after this week, we see more positive ones.

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