WAGA’s 5 o’clock news tonight began with a truly spectacular meltdown. Almost nothing worked. No pre-taped video elements worked. No graphics worked. Even the news set and, it appeared, the control room were unusable. Our guess is that the first block of the newscast was switched out of master control. Scary.
By the numbers:
At least nine Fox 5 promos ran in lieu of news at the top of the broadcast. The promos cloaked the tumult behind the scenes.
5:03pm. The time Tom Haynes appeared on a newsroom camera and announced the start of the broadcast. Fortunately for Haynes, the camera’s teleprompter was working.
One minute, twenty seconds. The length of Stacy Elgin’s live shot with no tape or graphics. Elgin was at the scene of a long-gone police wreck.
Two minutes, six seconds. The length of Portia Bruner’s live shot at the Fulton Co. Courthouse. Bruner also had no tape and no graphics.
Forty. The number of seconds Bruner spent talking about Brian Nichols’ facial hair. Nichols’ lack of a shave had been an issue in court.
Eight and a half. Our rating for both reporters’ live shots, out of ten. Nice dance moves, ladies.
Two. The number of times WAGA news EP Beth Black sprinted in the background through the newsroom while Haynes talked on camera.
Thirteen minutes into the newscast, Amanda Davis appeared on the now-usable news set, saying “we apologize for the rather strange start to the newscast. We are converting some of our systems and we have some technical difficulties at the start of the newscast. We hope to have them fixed shortly.”
Fourteen minutes in, the first piece of video appears. It’s a package produced by Denise Dillon on a carnival accident in Loganville. Still no graphics, though.
Twenty eight minutes in, the first graphics appear for weather and traffic.
5:34pm. The Fox 5 cube / bug appears in the lower left corner.
5:41pm. The Fox 5 cube starts to rotate, indicating that Heaven and earth are sure to follow.
5:49pm. The first chyron appears, identifying Tom Haynes.
5:52pm. The first locater chyron appears during Karen Graham’s live shot.
5:54pm. The first name chyron appears, identifying a Peachtree Road Race runner.
5:56pm. The first full screen graphic appears. The newscast appears to return to normal. The system conversion of which Davis spoke appears to be, shall we say, a work in progress.