Daily Archives: August 28, 2008

Politics at six

The producer of WAGA’s 6pm news yesterday must have entered the control room uneasily. Instinct must have said: Lead with weather. But the luck of the draw gave Deidra Dukes a live window from Denver at the top of the broadcast. WAGA apparently had little choice– lead with the Democrats.

(Dukes is likely among a cluster of local Fox reporters covering the convention. They all typically appear on the same satellite feed, and must take turns doing live shots in front of the same camera. When Atlanta’s reporter draws the top slot, then Dallas’s reporter [for example] has to wait for the second window at, say, 6:04pm.)

Dukes’ lead live shot was perilous. It appeared she got last-minute instructions to toss to a vo/sot on Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates. Dukes couldn’t hear the tape and apparently had trouble hearing the cues from the control room. It was a raw moment. But Dukes recovered and tossed to an interesting package about Jimmy Carter, who recalled the disunity of the 1980 Democratic convention.

Then WAGA got lucky. As Dukes concluded her live shot, Shirley Franklin answered the roll call for Georgia, and the station took it live.

Note to reporters in Denver: Calling it “the DNC convention” is akin to referring to an “ATM Machine.” Yes, DNC actually stands for “Democratic National Committee.” But so many news folk are using DNC to abbreviate “Democratic National Convention” that it makes sense to steer clear of this appearance-of-a-redundancy. Call it “the Democratic Convention.” Or the “Democrat Convention” if you want to show your Republican leanings.

Then WAGA launched into weather coverage. Charles Molineaux covered the tornado damage in Commerce without a wireless microphone. Molineaux’s mic wire draped awkwardly through some of the video. It doubtless hindered his ability to talk to newsmakers and communicate with his photog. If a wireless mic is in the shop, there ought to be spares. No big-market crew should be covering a big story with that handicap.

The I-Team’s Randy Travis had a killer follow-up story on another craven, money-grubbing religious figure, a Gwinnett Hindu Swami who hilariously calls himself “Doctor Commander.” Yet it appears the slippery target of Travis’s report has eluded an on-camera confrontation, an I-Team signature. How’d that happen?

There wasn’t room for much else at 6. Mo Diggs covered a downtown shootin‘. Portia Bruner did a tornado sidebar. Doug Evans delivered a too-long report on the capture of a fugitive. A nine-year-old took Amanda Davis’s vital signs (with the help of an EMT) during a too-long Wednesday’s Child segment.

Then the show returned to Denver, just in time to hear Hillary Clinton ask for Barack Obama’s nomination by acclimation. Unfortunately, viewers had to sit through the New York chairman’s windy introduction of too-many NY elected officials before introducing Clinton. It added to the drama. But we can picture the 6pm producer yelling at the monitor to hurry it the f*%# up, while killing story after story from the rundown.