Sweet apartment fire. “You’re like candy to me. But candy’s no good.” On Friday
- the Wall St. bailout talks lost and regained traction
- more local gas stations went dry
- the presidential candidates met for their first debate
- an aide to Rowland Barnes testified at the Nichols murder trial;
… and WAGA devoted seven minutes of its evening news to an apartment fire.
The Calibre Springs apartments in Sandy Springs had the peculiar timing to go up in flames in the middle of the 5pm newscast.
WSB appeared to arrive on-scene first. Its helicopter had the better angle. WSB also used better judgment, taking two quick sixty-second hits from its chopper guy Jason Durden at 5. WAGA got on the air about a minute after WSB did, and overcompensated for its so-slight tardiness:
- WAGA did three live hits of coverage during the 5pm news, lasting three minutes, 2:45 and forty seconds. There was one more :40 taped anchor v/o at six.
- We heard the word “flames” thirteen times.
- We heard the word “smoke” ten times.
- We heard the word “water” nine times.
- We heard the phrase “as you can see” or variations thereof fifteen times.
WAGA, and to a lesser extent WSB, couldn’t resist the candy. Neither could we:
There were no injuries reported. It appeared neither station deigned the story important enough for nightside coverage.
Is it news when an apartment bursts into flames? Yes, but not seven-plus minutes worth. Truth is, it’s kinda fun to watch a building burn to the ground. Those running the newsroom know that eyeballs are not likely to stray to the kitchen (or another station) when it’s showing flames and a “live” super. It plays to the cheap seats, occupied by precious viewers of local TV news.
Our favorite part is the exasperation in Russ Spencer’s voice during the final 6pm hit. We’d like to believe it’s rooted in Spencer himself wondering: “Shouldn’t we use this time for a different story?”
Sweet irresistible confection, “and your oh so nutty chocolate covering…”