Gassy McGee

Ross Cavitt, WSB

Pushing the story: Ross Cavitt, WSB

Gasoline shortage / price stories often have a tediously one-note quality to them.   Over and over, the video and storylines repeat.  And it’s somewhat unavoidable.

So give Ross Cavitt credit for pumping some life into his story on WSB at 6 Wednesday.  Cavitt’s coverage from a Cobb Co. gas station had some surprising elements.

  • An actual on-camera shouting match between a customer and a station manager.  The customer accused the manager of hoarding gas for his friends.
  • A motorist who admitted he’d stalked a tanker truck to see which gas station was getting a fresh supply.
  • A picture of Cavitt and two other men pushing an out-of-gas car.  Cavitt didn’t call attention to it, to his credit.  But it was unmistakably him– his stick mic was clipped to his belt as he pushed.  It was a nice bit of hands-on “reporter involvement.”  It also helped him show the desperate straits of some of the motorists he encountered.
  • An interesting closing anecdote about a tanker truck driver.  Cavitt told viewers he asked the tanker truck driver if motorists “flash you the thumbs up or do they give you another digit…?”  Cavitt said the driver responded that it was “about fifty fifty.”

Atlanta’s TV stations seem to want desperately to engage viewers over gasoline shortages.  The problem is that the situation changes rapidly from gas station to gas station.  They all tout their web sites as sources of up to date information.  But good luck trying to actually use the sites, as the writer at Mostly Media did.  Here’s part of what she writes about WXIA’s site:

Besides, when you do click on a green arrow for a particular station, you see that it/the info was, in some cases, last updated 20 hours ago! Or was presented/updated to show NO gas about 2-hours ago, yet the arrow remains green in color. (For “Go” presumably.) But hey, bad information is better than NO information? In this particular case, I think not.

We suspect that it’s simply impossible to maintain comprehensive, updated, accurate information on a gazillion metro Atlanta gas stations.  She asks the right question.  But the answer appears to be “take our information with a grain of salt.  And don’t burn all your gas driving to that station with the green arrow.”

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About live apt fire

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.

7 thoughts on “Gassy McGee

  1. spaceyg

    You missed the whole point of my blog post, hon. So apparently I need to say it again… if you are familiar with social media tools and apps, there are indeed MANY ways to keep up, in a real-time way, with the needs, wants and demands of a frustrated citizenry. It requires a little citizen journalism, a dash of social media, and the right technology, of course. But nothing outrageously expensive or even difficult to implement.

    But if, say, a station had already had personnel devoted to discovering and utilizing such social media apps and tools, they would have been able to get in place, quite easily, some simple online tools that could have helped “maintain comprehensive, updated, accurate information on a gazillion metro Atlanta gas stations.”

    Pity the poor-fool broadcast media that does NOT begin to implement some of the online “crowd sourcing” techno tools, as whether it’s gas stations today or some sort of metro-wide incident/news tomorrow, they serve the needs of the citizenry in ways only local TV news station can, apparently, imagine at this point.

    Reply
  2. rptrcub

    While we are on the subject of citizen journalism, vox populi and social media apps — the AJC SERIOUSLY needs to fix their commenting system, as we need to see more blazen idiots there. I love free speech!

    Also: kudos to Cavitt. Considering people are shouting and I’m afraid someone’s going to get killed over gas, even though we’ve got the EPA waiver — the gas won’t come quickly enough for some.

    Also, some cit-j: BP, Barrett Parkway at I-75 exit 269: $4.59 for regular. $4.01 at the Chevron at Busbee Parkway and Chastain Road. No gas at the Citgo at Frey Road and Chastain.

    Reply
  3. scott hedeen

    “People Don’t Panic!…but you better get gas now!!! SWARM SWARM!!”

    ah yes.. the team coverage is deep. the panic is wild. Me? I watch with extreme happiness to see if my fave gas station is going to be on TV. (it hasnt so far… but there’s still a couple weeks worth of panic to wring out into news)

    anyway… i saw that shot of ross pushing the car… he’s never one (from my knowledge of the man) to make himself or people he knows part of a story. Kudos as always to the hardest working reporto-weather-tologist in the market.

    Reply
  4. Eugene

    >You missed the whole point of my blog post, hon.

    Yawn. That “hon” business is not only tedious and tiresome, but the sure sign of one with an artificially inflated sense of self-regard.

    Reply
  5. jaba

    I worked with Ross years ago….and while he may drive you nuts getting a story on the air…he works his tail off. I agree…he’d never even think of any kind of self serving mention of helping the guy…he’d just do it.

    Reply

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