Breaking News...What Happened Local News In LA?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Bill Cowmeadow, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

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    I've been in S. California for over a year now and the one thing I miss about the Mid West is the local news. In the Mid West there might be 'Breaking News' once or twice a month. You could count on the standard format;

    Local headlines
    National headlines
    Local interest items
    Weather
    Sports
    Final hokey bit piece
    Goodnight everybody

    In LA, most evening news is just one overblown piece of 'Breaking News' after another, forget about ever seeing a local interest item, or feeling like you might have a connection to the community through the news.
    It's depressing.

    Other than this small gripe I like it here.

    Bill
     
  2. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Bill, I felt the same way while in Maryland during college. Getting news out of Baltimore just wasn't the same as the newscasts back home in Chicago. Because there was either so little news or so few qualified journalists to cover it, the Baltimore newscasts were always padded with plenty of fluffy "human interest" stories that were anything but interesting. National news? Forget it. World news? Are you kidding?? And the local newspapers were just as bad. I couldn't wait to get back to Chicago, which was just the tonic for a thirsty newshound like me. Of course, the advent of satellite and the Internet make picking and choosing what news you want even easier now. I didn't have that luxury 15 years ago.
     
  3. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Internet, satellite and their own national newscasts have made it harder for local stations to compete in the international and national news areas. (While at the same time cheaper satellite broadcast equipment has made it cheaper and easier for better-funded local stations to operate their own national and even international operations, sending correspondents to cover events in Washington and even overseas.)

    The whole thing is in flux. But in every case you can bet that ratings are driving what is shown and how. Most of the local stations in my part of Florida follow formats similar to the ones you report for Chicago and Baltimore, perhaps with a slightly greater emphasis on local and human interest stories (including consumer advocacy stories and local angles on national and international stories.)

    Los Angeles, on the other hand, is the city that invented the high-speed freeway chase as a form of mass-entertainment. TV stations routinely interrupt regular programming to follow the latest half-wit in a stolen car as he tears up the freeways and surface streets until he either comes to his senses or (better for the ratings) crashes spectacularly. Since people can get their series news from so many other sources, and since there is so much breaking "news", the shows cater to the large number of viewers who tune in to see madness and mayhem, rather than the minority who want real news - because they're reading the paper or in the next room on the 'web anyway. I suspect that just based on cultural factors you'll find more hard-news junkies in cities like New York, Washington and Chicago than you will in Los Angeles. Just an impression, and I must admit that I've only spent a week there.

    I didn't get much of a sense of what the local newscasts were like during that visit because it was the first week of November 2000. I arrived in the early morning hours on Monday and didn't really spend much time looking at television until Tuesday night. And from then until my flight home on Saturday everything was wall-to-wall election coverage. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Bill, you basically preempted a thread I was going to start. But there is no local television news in Los Angeles. What you see on those 6 p.m. broadcasts from KABC, KNBC, KCBS, KTLA, et al is nothing more than Entertainment Tonight with the weather and sports thrown in. (You should have read the great Los Angeles Times TV critic Howard Rosenberg before he retired recently; he was the scourge of all those news actors and actresses flashing those toothy smiles at you each evening.)

    Most of all, the local television "news" in Los Angeles does not serve the community. You may recall, for example, that there was a debilitating mass-transit strike in this town that dragged on for five weeks. If it weren't for the fact that I'm an editor at a newspaper and that I read the AP wires and browse the Internet often (as well as read all local papers), I would not have known there was a transit strike.

    Last night, while waiting for Nightline (and then Charlie Rose on PBS), I slogged through KABC-TV's Live Action News at 11. All Michael Jackson all the time. Not once was, oh, that minor little story about the suicide bombings in Istanbul that killed 27 mentioned. Nor was there anything about George W. Bush's UK visit and the massive protests. Nope. It was all Michael Jackson.

    Two weeks ago, we experienced a freak winter thunderstorm. And, again, that's all you heard about on the local "news." The news-actors-posing-as-anchors would fill the thirty-minute slot by lamely calling private residences in affected neighborhoods ("describe what you're seeing!" "Are your neighbors helping other people?").

    Basically, we were being told what we already knew: It was raining outside. But what if you happened to be one of the half-million people stranded because of the transit strike? What if you wanted to hear about the announcement that the MTA was scheduled to make late that afternoon?

    Too bad. Go to the Internet. Because the local news actors and actresses wanted to talk to their helicopter jockeys and show you aerial shots of the rain while telling you it was raining real hard. Throughout the entire "newscast."

    And remember the raging wildfires of last month? Entire "newscasts" were devoted to nothing but that, with not a mention of that ho-hum little story about the mass-transit strike. Nope, we heard about nothing but the destruction of all those million-dollar homes. If you're poor and immigrant, therefore, the local "news" is not aimed at you.

    No, all the local television "news" wants to do is "cover" the lurid, the scandalous, and the sensational. Not a single local station has even a part-time correspondent up in that town called Sacramento (except, of course, when an A-list action-movie star takes the oath of office).

    Real news is not covered on the local television "news." But if there is the slightest hint of a new rumor involving Princess Diana, then our local entertainment/"news" crews are all over it.

    This is disgusting. This is pathetic. And, given that the community is not being served, this is borderline criminal.

    You might want, instead, to tune into KCET-Channel 28, our leading PBS affiliate. Life and Times is the only local broadcast that actually covers community affairs.
     
  5. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Bravo Jack!,

    Actually, the evening block on PBS is good. I also enjoy Now and Huell Howser's shows. For the ride home, there is always 89.9 (KCRW/NPR). I like Which Way L.A?. I don't even notice the decline of our local news, because I don't watch it and haven't for years.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    NOW with Bill Moyers is a gem, a treasure, Zen. Though a national PBS program, it gives us a perspective on current affairs you won't see in the corporate "news" media (NOW, in fact, is just about the only national program actually covering the FCC's efforts to relax media-ownership rules).

    I also agree with you about Huell Howser. Though a Tennessee native, Howser has a love for his true home state that's infectious and endearing.

    And I also agree with you about Which Way L.A. But, man, they're not sayin' a damn thing about Michael Jackson or Laci Peterson. What's wrong with 'em?
     
  7. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Moyers himself is a gem. This may explain why CBS was the very last newscast I could tolerate on network television.
     
  8. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
    Supporter

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    it's like this in philly as well.

    the other day when MJ was arrested they broke into regular programming to tell us he was just taken into the police station then proceeded to play a 3 second clip of him walking into the station several times in a row.
    then they showed video of a black van driving down a road for 10 minutes.

    whenever it rains for more then a couple of hours here it is a major story, or breaking news.

    last week it was more windy then normal and they broke into the daytime programming to say. "it's windier then normal".
    what a waste and annoying.
    it seems like an insecurity that they have to break into the shows every hour or so to remind us that we should stay and watch their news at the time it comes on.

    it's not news anymore.
    it's scare you into watching programming.
    they prey on people's natural paranoia to get them to watch.
    when it rains we get almost a full newscast telling people to go out and load up on bread and milk.

    i dread amy real news story because i'm sure it will take over practically an entire day's worth of programming.

    this topic just burns me up.
    obviously they get huge ratings or they wouldnt do the news like this.

    even when they don't take over a show they put a banner at the bottom and the side that is bigger then the image of the actual show and only the bottom banner has the breaking news.
    the one on the side tells you what channel it is even though they still have the little channel bug on the bottom.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. EugeneR

    EugeneR Second Unit

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    All you need is 89.9 on your FM dial. Real, actual news. As they put it yesterday, "we're in our second day of the 'absolutely no Michael Jackson news' marathon"[​IMG]

    If you have to watch the news on TV, I highly recommend the "BBC in America" broadcast if you get it.
     
  10. Brent_H

    Brent_H Second Unit

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    In Minneapolis we have the national award winning KARE/NBC news which is very well done...the newscast all the other local affiliates only wish they could be. Well, come January (i think?)the main anchor for the last 15 or so years will be heading out west to anchor KCBS. Thats right you LA folks, you're getting our beloved Paul Magers. He filled in for someone on NBC's national Saturday morning show in NYC awhile back and within a month he said he was leaving for LA. The offers must have poured in or something. To show how highly regarded he is around here, the local FOX affiliate did a story the other day on Mr. Magers, isn't he supposed to be their competition? Fox sent their crew to LA to do a story on what Paul Magers should expect or not expect when he relocates there. How odd. Anyways, I hope you all like our Pauly when you get him. He will surely be missed.
     
  11. Tony-B

    Tony-B Producer

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    Brent is right. Kare 11 has THE BEST newscast I have ever seen in my life. They cover the news with very litttle BS which appeals to me. Also their "Kare 11 Extra" segments are really good too.

     
  12. Brent_H

    Brent_H Second Unit

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  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Eugene: Are you referring to the BBC World broadcast that airs on KCET-Channel 28 at 5 p.m. each evening? Before I got promoted and my hours were changed, I'd start my evening news-junkie fest with BBC World, followed by Nightly Business Report, followed by The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and capped by Life & Times. After all that, and what with reading the Times, I like to think of myself as reasonably well-informed. The only reason I will tune into a local "newscast" is if, for whatever reason, I have to. Otherwise, why have one's intelligence insulted unnecessarily?
     
  14. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Yes exactly, I can tune in to channel 28 and feel confident, that I'm not going to be subject to utter garbage. The other morning in our Service Department, customers were watching some early morning "news" show. They were physically throwing pies at each other. They were just giggling away at themselves.
    Eugene, I agree with the BBC World, very solid, professional newscast. Do I really need comedy with my news? Unfortunately, CBS appears to have succumbed to what's hip also. 89.9 KCRW is also a perfect commute station. I enjoy NPR's Morning Edition and Morning Becomes Eclectic. All Things Considered is also a fun magazine style broadcast. Luckily, KCRW is acceptable to the ownership here for Internet broadcast. They encourage it!

    For my local fish-wrap news, I opt for the Long Beach Press Telegram. I just don't have the time for the Times. (oooh, that was bad)
     
  15. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    Just about the only station I listen to here in Canada, is CBC Radio One. So, I miss the latest Britney Spears song, big deal. The one complaint I do have about the local CBC station is although it serves the GTA, you don't always get a lot of 905 area news.

    Commercial radio and news has been pretty bad for a long time. Canada, however does not seem to be as bad as the US, to date.
     

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