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This Just In: Sept 26 - Oct 3

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Crocodile Tears

Summary: Are the popular Crocs -- shoes made of a resin foam called Croslite -- dangerous? Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Gus Rosendale When it Aired: Sept. 18 Running Time: 1 minute, 21 seconds Visuals: * Man-eating escalators, just waiting to catch you by the Croc! * A shot of Rosendale in an elevator that pans to his shoes -- Crocs. Highlights: * When a father grouses, "I really cannot believe that they have not, you know, been banned in malls. Who wants to take that risk?" * When Rosendale explains, the man "almost had his Father's Day ruined when his daughter got her foot stuck in an escalator. She was wearing a pair of Crocs while visiting in a Connecticut Mall. Lucky for her, dad was there." * When a doctor from Children's Hospital posits, noncommittally, "I think anything that gets really popular -- you're gonna find out that there's some things that may make it less safe." * When Rosendale attempts to escalate the fear factor: "And concerns are growing about people who wear Crocs and similar-style shoes. The big worry: toes getting stuck in escalators. The number of those sort of injuries are on the rise." He cites the following evidence: "One of the nation's largest subway systems, the Washington Metro, posted ads warning riders about wearing these types of shoes." * When he adds, "Doctors at Children's Hospital treated one boy who lost a toe at a local mall just a few weeks ago." * When the doctor says, "Getting off the escalator, for little kids or not-so-little kids can sometimes be a dicey moment." * When Rosendale proffers, "In fact, some health officials say people who like to wear Crocs might want to avoid escalators altogether, and take the elevator, instead." What We Learned: *Eeny meeny miney moe, catch a Croc-wearer by the toe. If he hollers -- let him go!* Unanswered Questions: Does anyone else suspect this story might be a ... crock? News Value: 1. A one-sided piece with essentially no opposing viewpoints (though Rosendale notes that the company says Crocs are safe). According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, only two "shoe entrapments" have been reported on escalators since the beginning of 2006 (granted, there may be more unreported). About 245 million people ride escalators every day.

Throw Mamma From the Plane

Summary: A former Allegheny County executive finds himself in hot water with airport security, thanks to his silver-tongued mother's punchline. Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: Paul Martino When it Aired: Sept. 21 Running Time: 2 minutes, 8 seconds Visuals: * A photo of Jim Roddey and his mother, posing happily together during what looks like a fancy social function. Highlights: * When anchor Stephanie Watson previews, "He's a community leader and a former county executive. Even so, Jim Roddey was detained by airport security when he tried to board a plane in Corpus Christi, Texas." * When Martino begins, "Jim Roddey is safe and he's back in the Pittsburgh area tonight, laughing about his mother's antics. But the airport security folk down in Texas, well, they didn't find this very funny." * When Martino narrates, "They've referred to him as 'Gentleman Jim,' 'county executive,' 'millionaire businessman' and 'civic leader.' But never has he been called a security risk. Until now." * When Martino asks Roddey, outside in a parking lot, "Jim, are you a security risk?" Roddey laughs, "No, but you would think so." * When Martino says security officers were "not amused when they asked Roddey's mom how she was doing." * Roddey explains, "She said, 'Well, can you help me? I'm being kidnapped.' And I thought, 'This is not gonna be a good day.'" * When Martino continues, "It turns out, Roddey's mother, Margaret Lichtenstein, is having reservations about leaving her longtime home ... and moving up here to Pittsburgh, but Roddey says he has no choice; she's well into her 90s." * When Roddey tells Martino, "She didn't want to move here to live, so it was very difficult, and it's difficult, I think, for all families to go through this." * When Martino adds, "And his mother's remark meant that Roddey was detained for about 20 minutes. There were calls to Pittsburgh, and finally they found out that Jim Roddey's OK ... [His mother is] preparing to move into St. Barnabas. Did she apologize for claiming to be kidnapped?" * When Roddey replies, "Oh, she never apologizes for things like that. She just thinks it's great sport." What We Learned: Mark that "Pittsburgh Population: +1!" Unanswered Question: Even if you're not fond of Mr. Roddey, how can you not love his mother? News Value: 7. Don't worry, Mrs. Lichtenstein -- I hear the amenities are great at St. Barnabas. Welcome to Pittsburgh!

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