Daily Archives: August 26, 2008

Sympathy

It’s a bad week to be Denis O’Hayer. WXIA’s political reporter is a smart guy. He’s a good reporter. He’s got good connections. He’s one of the best reasons to watch WXIA.

O’Hayer ought to be in Denver, giving WXIA some local color from the Democratic convention. Instead, he’s home. And adding insult to injury, this talented reporter spent today’s noon news producing a live report on a tree that fell on a house. The tree injured nobody, though a college-age woman who “could have” been in the damaged bedroom wasn’t.

O’Hayer did it gamely. In his report, he spoke at some length about the root structure of the old tree, which had been compromised by excess rain. He sold the story as a Big Deal, even though it could have been adequately covered by anchor v/o. Selling such tripe is a TV reporter’s job. There’s no quicker way to get a phone call from the boss than by downplaying an a-section story as no big deal.

Meantime, while he’s at the latest weather mini-event, O’Hayer is encountering his colleagues and competitors. At each turn, O’Hayer is doubtless hearing the same question repeatedly: Why aren’t you in Denver? It is probably driving the TV and radio news veteran batshit crazy inside.

Sure, the national political conventions are hackneyed and stage-managed. Sure, local coverage doesn’t add that much. But we’d much, much rather watch O’Hayer face that challenge than see him take on a downed tree.

Adding to his misfortune is the fact that WXIA has extensive coverage from Denver on its website. It is touting blogs from TV reporters based at Gannett stations in Buffalo and Denver, who are covering the convention. Too bad O’Hayer isn’t one of them, though he’s still blogging about politics. It shows where his heart is while he’s standing outside talking about a downed tree.

Next time you see O’Hayer, our suggestion: Don’t ask him why he isn’t in Denver. A word of sympathy would sting much less.

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