Daily Archives: March 22, 2008

Secret Squirrel

Close your eyes and listen, as the reporter tags his story: “We were told the suspect, through the sheriff, declined to be interviewed by us.” The passive tense, the fractured syntax, and the sheer audacity that any freshly-arrested suspect would consider being “interviewed by us” signals the presence of one man: WSB’s Mark Winne. This particular bit of copy aired Thursday at 11pm.

Winne breaks news for WSB. He has great sources in hard-to-reach places. He’s got a secret-squirrel quality about him in the field. It suits him well and keeps his competitors guessing. He also writes, shall we say, very dense copy. One WSB reporter loves to recount the story of a producer, tasked to re-write a Winne story, viewed the story three times. Afterward, she announced that she had no idea what the story was about. If there are copy editors at WSB, they need to be on their guard around Mr. Winne.

But when Winne shows up in the a-block of WSB’s news, the bossfolk at competing TV stations turn down the audio of their own newscasts and watch Winne. Frequently– they’ll shake their heads afterward and say “huh?” But often enough, they’ll send their own staff out to chase a Winne scoop.