Saturday, January 27, 2007

"To a lighter note ...

... It's a murder rather."

So reported David Gregory as he filled in anchoring the Today Show this week. I caught this on Gawker and couldn't believe it.



We've definitely learned a lot in the last few weeks: working on transitions in scripts, always reading and re-reading copy before it goes to air, trying to avoid bad cliches, and all that.

I think the Today Show could have used a little script revision, and I'm surprised that a news veteran such as Gregory (what with his status as NBC Chief White House Correspondent, etc. etc.) wasn't prepared.

A caveat - I know we're all going to make mistakes, write something that isn't quite right, or stumble while delivering the news. We can't always be prepared.

And Gregory does say in the video clip that he's tired and that's why he didn't contribute a line after Meredith Viera, but still.

But - this shouldn't have happened: "Meredith, thanks. Now, switching gears to a lighter note. (pause, shuffle papers) It’s a murder ... rather. (catches self) Actually not quite a lighter note. It’s a little bit of a difficult topic."

It shouldn't have happened at all, and it certainly shouldn't have happened in the age of YouTube. All those on air have to be careful about - not saying anything you wouldn't want the whole country to hear while miked up.

This goes beyond that. It wasn't an off-the-cuff remark. It was scripted. Really, who would write this? "Switching gears to a lighter note, it's a murder that sounds like something straight out of a James Bond movie ..."


LA

5 Comments:

At Saturday, January 27, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

LA, are you sure "switching gears to a lighter note" was scripted? I've noticed that many seasoned reporters are given a little more liberty to ad lib--and I wouldn't be surprised if thats what sleepy gregory did in transitioning from chit chat w/ meredith.

Unfortunately, (were it an adlib), Gregory's words backfired and he had to catch himself...(as he blushes in embarassment). And I agree with you, LA, reporters/anchors must be careful--they are the face of the news organization what they do and say can ensue far-reaching liabilities, legally and ethically on the reporter/anchor, producer, news director, and news agency exec board.

A part of me hopes the prompter was down or that he really did adlib because I agree--to actually script that shows nothing but carelessness and a lack of professionalism.

ER

 
At Sunday, January 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it was scripted. I think he was watching the heavy piece Meredith had just done and wanted to switch stories. But, as you say if he has read the script before hand, he would have know which story was next. I can't claim to know what happened, but we all are human. It's not a precise science when human beings are involved. I think he made a mistake.

-JE

 
At Sunday, January 28, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

I don't think this is a big deal. Actually, I think MG does a good job of catching himself and retracking there. If he had just pushed through and ignored to mistake, that would have been much worse.

The Today Show tries to cover everything from cat fashion shows to Iraq, so it's not surprising that the transitions will sometimes be a little rough. Who knows, maybe they were tight on time and cut the "lighter note" story....?
LT

 
At Sunday, January 28, 2007, Anonymous VLD said...

Cringe-worthy.

I personally don't watch morning shows. They feel chirpy and nauseous and false to me. I couldn't stand MV and MG's giggle fest leading up to the two heavy pieces -- I think it was inane and would have set the wrong tone no matter what stories it preceded.

My mom, on the other hand, watches morning shows religiously and seems genuinely entertained by their prattle. Maybe I just don't get it.

 
At Sunday, January 28, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

I'm with LT on this one.

My guess is that it was an editorial flub - the "lighter" story was probably cut and Today Show staff failed to make all the necessary adjustments to the script.

I think he did a good job of catching himself.

TB

 

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