Cold Fire

Two fire-related stories yielded two fire-related live shots on WGCL Tuesday night. On paper, it all kinda makes sense.  On TV, it didn’t in the least. Tony McNary did a story about city of Atlanta budget cuts, and the loss of 88 firefighting jobs. McNary’s punishment: Drive to NW Atlanta, and stand in front of a fire scene that had taken place four days earlier, delivering a live tag to a package shot in its entirety downtown.

But it gets better. Joanna Massee’s fire story was about a family holding vigil at Grady for a badly-burned toddler. Massee interviewed three women outside Grady’s emergency room. Assuming this bit of enterprise reporting wasn’t copied from another station, it was a decent lick for Massee. Her punishment: Go to Lithonia, and deliver a live tag in front of the long-cold fire scene.

Live shots are supposed to lend immediacy to TV reporting. Sometimes the immediacy is genuine. In these cases, these scenes of cold fire lent an almost laughable lack of immediacy to otherwise worthy pieces of reporting.  Would live shots at City Hall and Grady have been more compelling?  Probably not.  But at least they would have made sense.

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Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

4 thoughts on “Cold Fire

  1. liveapartmentfire Post author

    This is the lamest post ever. Clearly, this blogger, so-called critic or whatever you think you are now, phoned in this post, a cold leftover from a previous day. Keep phonin’ it in like this, and your readers– if you even have any– will depart in droves. And what’s up with that Bowie link anyway– you just trying to prove how goddamned ancient you are?

    Who cares about all this TV stuff anyway, really? The people who watch TV are watchin’ the tube, not reading this stuff.

  2. Wrangler of Found Light

    I did not see Tony’s story, but I’m pretty sure I know how all that went…

    But, are you saying that it is a bad idea to go live from the scene WHERE THE CHILD WAS INJURED by a devastating EXPLOSION? REALLY?!? If that’s the case, you really ARE as ignorant as you sound…

    And, yes, CBS was the only station to do the story…

  3. Mrs. Otis

    My former reporter husband and I (former EP) have had this very same debate.

    Producers and managers will argue that showing immediacy is not the ONLY reason to do a live shot. The technology can be used for anything from showing immediacy and developing events to simply providing a different background for reporter presence. Would I advocate a newscast full of static reporters in front of scenes where nothing is happening? Absolutely not. The live location should always be relevant to the story and be used in a way that justifies being there. However, I don’t think there has to be a raging inferno over the reporter’s shoulder in order to justify a live shot.

    One more illustration of the difference of a reporter’s and producer’s brain? Check.


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