As promised, we present the worst TV story ever. Produced in 1979 for a station in Columbia Missouri called KOMU, the subject matter is fairly self-evident.  The TV station dispatched the reporter, a University of Missouri student, along with another student (Kevin Sullivan, now a tireless CMO with a big Atlanta law firm), to the Lake of the Ozarks.  They toted a CP-16 magstripe film camera, and 200 ft. of film.  The students would make the 75-mile one way trip, shoot each other’s stories, then return with “team coverage” before that term was coined.

It ain’t pretty.  This story stayed in a 3/4″ tape box for nearly thirty years before getting dubbed to DVD this week.  If you have old stories on tape, get ’em dubbed now before this happens to you.

Here goes:

Let’s examine this.

  • The photography is lame.  Did you kids bring a tripod?  If so, use it.  Too many telephoto shots off the shoulder.
  • The writing is middling at best.  Did you really say there are “thousands” of conference centers in the Midwest that could accommodate such a meeting?  Next time, leave the weed behind.
  • This was a flavor piece without flavor.  Did your professors teach you about “nat sound”?
  • is it really news that Big Jim Thompson shopped for antiques?
  • Surely there was an additional governor to interview.
  • And then there’s the standup.  You look mighty smug, kid– way too smug to spout a line like “governors are people too.”  You did not just say that, did you?  Tell me you didn’t.  That line alone makes this the most wretched piece of TV news ever.

The only upside is the reporter’s plaid jacket and hairstyle.    It may redeem you stylistically, but not journalistically.

Occasionally, this space gently chides TV news professionals currently in the business.   In that event, know this:  Whatever they’ve done cannot be worse than this bit of curdled, stinking drek.

This entry was posted in LAF on by .

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.

22 thoughts on “Afroman

  1. Burke Brennan

    Longtime lurker, first time poster, Three words:

    Best … report … ever

    Is it possible you peaked early?

    If there were more reports like this, I’d watch more TV. Really.

    Seriously, I love this blog and check it almost daily. Keep it up!

  2. Alex

    Wow, you’re a little hard on this don’t you think. Seriously, it didn’t seem any worse than any other local news reporting from the ’70s.

  3. Kevin

    As “the other student” who shot this story I almost fell out of my chair laughing. So much fun before becoming jaded. Thanks for the memories, dude!

  4. Don B Johnson

    Best hair I’ve seen on tv in, LIKE FOREVER. The Max Robinson look. Big question is, did you use the whole two hundred feet of mag strip or do you have enough to spray a couple of vo’s on the way back to the station?

  5. Mrs. LAF

    1979? My guess is that the reporter left after taping his stand-up, smoked a dube and put on “Fear of Music”, the new Talking Heads record. That’s what I would have done. Well– not in ’79. I was learning how to talk in general. Hahahaa!

  6. Fiddler

    I read the piece before I watched it and was wondering why is he so hard on the journalism student… it can’t be THAT bad. It takes a big man to poke fun at himself… keep it up Doug.

  7. MizzouBJ '75

    At least you weren’t stuck with the Bell and Howell wind up or the old Aurecon in the case as heavy as a coffin! Oh, and your partner didn’t get in the station car and forget he left the camera (out of the case) on top of the car as he drove out. I graduated from Mizzou despite these things. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  8. Max U.

    As a fellow Afro-wearer of the 70’s (and 80’s), I think the comments about your “do” were way out of line. As far as your critique of the actual story, you may have been a bit harsh? And just for th record, you may now understand why we didn’t do standups in 101.

  9. live apt fire Post author

    I must bow down to the last commenter, Max U, my Film 101 instructor, who taught me everything I know about hair styling and hot-splice editing.

    We didn’t do standups in 101 coz you gave us wind-up Bell & Howells that had no microphones on ’em! I’m sure you’re doing a fine job of reining in those aspiring CNN anchors at KU. Thanks for checking in, Max!

  10. scott hedeen

    “Damn, Doug, didn’t realize you were that old”

    Doug… like alot of the X-news patriot force…are all undead…and will never get older… BOO.

    i’ve got my halloween costume idea… i’m going as Doug 1980. (wig… turtleneck…a Blondie cassette)


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