It would be an overstatement to call WSB’s coverage of Sunday’s snowfall “restrained.” The combination of snowfall and local TV news is typically combustible and comical. At 6pm, WSB pandered to its audience. That’s no surprise. But many of the usual excesses were absent. That surprised us. Score one for WSB.
The basketball-shortened newscast bore five reporter live shots from Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Clayton and Cobb Counties. All of them essentially told the same story: It’s snowing. Watch out for icy roads.
Eric Philips, Darryn Moore, Tom Regan and Tiffani Reynolds produced pieces that heavily overlapped, content-wise. Each had pictures and/or interviews with folks grabbing supplies at grocery stores. But none of those reporters overplayed that clichéd element of snow coverage. Philips was barely able to contain his self-aware amusement as he asked a woman to show him her loaf of bread in a parking lot.
Philips also had video of a woman’s car getting pulled from a ditch on Hwy 316. She immediately plunged her car into another ditch, on-camera. Nice.
WSB refrained from any condescending “how to drive in snow” pieces. There was very little alarmist language from its reporters or weather guys. Overlap, yes. Plenty of that. And zero news content outside of weather. Not ideal, but it all goes with the territory.
The only real flaw was WSB all-but ignoring the hundreds of flights delayed or canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. That little detail appeared in an anchor reader toward the end of the newscast.
WSB’s best work came from Ross Cavitt, who produced a self-contained package from Coweta County. Cavitt had a nice time-lapse shot of snow accumulating on some shrubbery. He also played the story for what it was: A Sunday amusement for most. Showing kids on sleds, Cavitt wrote “for many, it was a gift from heaven; mother nature dressed in her Sunday best.” It was the best line in the newscast.
(But don’t look for any links here. By Monday evening, WSB’s often-infuriating web site was still displaying video from Friday’s newscasts. Snow day, guys? Must be nice.)
And not once — not one time! — did we hear the phrase “winter wonderland” or “the white stuff.” That’s restraint.