Daily Archives: November 22, 2011

The Thanksgiving Trifecta

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When young people enter the TV news business, they often do so for two reasons:  They desire a career that spontaneously puts them in strange situations on tight deadlines.  And, they want to see their pretty faces on TV and make lots of money as a big-time TV personality or whatever.

The spontaneity aspect of our industry is a given.  In fact, it’s so prevalent that veteran reporters (particularly with young families) often curse the very thing that drove them into it.  Events and assignments control the workday of the News Professional.  And after years of 6pm live shots in faraway locales on the fringe of their viewing areas, they crave predictability.  They want to know they’ll be home at a reasonable time that night.  At the very least, they want to exercise a measure of control over their work days.

Paying homage: Duffie Dixon, WXIA

Thanksgiving anchors a week that can provide that elusive predictability, as outlined in the above Suspicious Package piece.  The Thanksgiving Trifecta refers to three stories that Atlanta TV covers unfailingly, year after year, during Thanksgiving week.  You already know which stories they are; if you need your memory refreshed, click “play.”

My favorite part of the piece is the cameo appearance by Duffie Dixon, shot by yours truly with an Iphone — and it goes to the “pretty face” part of what motivates newcomers to the TV news biz.

I told her I was going to introduce her by dead rolling the video into her spoken portion of the piece– so she would appear on camera for a few seconds before speaking.

She responded with an ironic tribute to The Nod, the seemingly involuntary head-bob that nearly every reporter produces upon hearing their name in the earpiece while awaiting the completion of an anchor toss during a live shot.

While watching local news, it’s fun to watch for The Nod.   Some reporters exaggerate it with great flourish and importance.  A casual viewer could turn it into a game, rating the nods on various newscasts with a 1-10 scale.  My current favorite is the furrowed-brow neck-twist, perfected by Aasif Mandvi on the Daily Show.  In the past, my nod has tended to lean toward a lone arched eyebrow; lately it’s evolved into a last-minute eyeglass adjustment.

It’s another predictable element in an industry that draws newcomers looking for careers defined by spontaneity.

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