Hurray for Gannett, which laid out some decent coin for a statewide poll on the upcoming election. The poll could have been a yawner, in a red state that seems sure to re-elect Saxby Chambliss to the US Senate.
Instead, the poll revealed that challenger Jim Martin had substantially tightened the race. It gave WXIA and WMAZ in Macon a nice exclusive on a pretty big political story (criticism from the righties at Peach Pundit notwithstanding, which faulted the poll for asking good churchgoing Georgians such unseemly questions on a Sunday and Monday).
But here’s our question: WTF is up with that graphic used by Denis O’Hayer to illustrate the poll? We believe that’s a static pie chart displayed by — yes, a slide projector! Awesome.
OK, maybe it was a computer projector. Even in the 70s, WXIA could have put O’Hayer in front of a green screen and displayed that graphic in chroma-key. But apparently, not this week. WXIA opted for a nostalgic 1950s look instead. In an age when a guy like CNN’s John King can move and draw and re-shape political data on a TV screen (see below), we are wistfully heartened by WXIA’s stubbornly quaint use of older than old-school technology.
At least WXIA showed it in HD.
It’s a bad week to be Denis O’Hayer. WXIA’s political reporter is a smart guy. He’s a good reporter. He’s got good connections. He’s one of the best reasons to watch WXIA.
O’Hayer ought to be in Denver, giving WXIA some local color from the Democratic convention. Instead, he’s home. And adding insult to injury, this talented reporter spent today’s noon news producing a live report on a tree that fell on a house. The tree injured nobody, though a college-age woman who “could have” been in the damaged bedroom wasn’t.
O’Hayer did it gamely. In his report, he spoke at some length about the root structure of the old tree, which had been compromised by excess rain. He sold the story as a Big Deal, even though it could have been adequately covered by anchor v/o. Selling such tripe is a TV reporter’s job. There’s no quicker way to get a phone call from the boss than by downplaying an a-section story as no big deal.
Meantime, while he’s at the latest weather mini-event, O’Hayer is encountering his colleagues and competitors. At each turn, O’Hayer is doubtless hearing the same question repeatedly: Why aren’t you in Denver? It is probably driving the TV and radio news veteran batshit crazy inside.
Sure, the national political conventions are hackneyed and stage-managed. Sure, local coverage doesn’t add that much. But we’d much, much rather watch O’Hayer face that challenge than see him take on a downed tree.
Adding to his misfortune is the fact that WXIA has extensive coverage from Denver on its website. It is touting blogs from TV reporters based at Gannett stations in Buffalo and Denver, who are covering the convention. Too bad O’Hayer isn’t one of them, though he’s still blogging about politics. It shows where his heart is while he’s standing outside talking about a downed tree.
Next time you see O’Hayer, our suggestion: Don’t ask him why he isn’t in Denver. A word of sympathy would sting much less.