Saturday, February 17, 2007

The February book

... aka sweeps! We're smack dab in the middle of sweeps. February, May, July and November, and we get crazy news, sometimes sensational news, some very good investigative reporting, and some non-news. How is that different from any other month? (just kidding)

I saw this story at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Rob Owen writes:
"It worked! The time-honored tradition of TV station news directors meeting in the woods to perform rituals before sweeps did the trick. Clearly, one of them did a snow dance at last month's meeting.

What better gift for sweeps than inclement weather, which drives viewers to their TVs in heavy numbers? First the bitter cold last week, and now snow this week, an opportunity for reporters to affect a look of horror if anyone they interview says he or she likes snow.

But who cares if snow fans are looked upon as deranged? Rejoice at the split screen joys of live team coverage!"

Of course it's not just in Pittsburgh but also around the country. And here in the Chicago area we've definitely had our fair share of weather stories. Sub-zero temperatures. Snow! Bad traffic. Cold. But many would argue it's been news here - there have been cold-related deaths, it's affected commutes, schools took snow days, some streets have not been cleared all that well, the city has implemented Phase 3 of its snow fighting plan.

But, have news organizations been making too much of it? I don't know. For our Headline News Tuesday, I decided to lead with snow and weather - I felt it was the biggest story of the day here. That said, I don't know where I would draw the line on snow coverage during another month versus a sweeps month. (except if it was July! then it's totally news and perhaps the apocalypse)

Beyond snow, the Pittsburgh story goes on to talk about other sweeps stunts and promos. And it chastises stations for copying each other on story subjects.

Have you seen any of that in the last few weeks? Has anyone seen any good sweeps stories? Anything really bad?



At Sunday, February 18, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

I think the snow was the major story.
Travel was treacherous and it was the first big storm of the season... coming off a dangerous cold snap. As far as headline news, I was glad we got to do a "local" story. Plus, what's better than watching Cheryl Burton do a liveshot from a snow bank in the middle of lake shore drive?!


At Sunday, February 18, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

Nope, can't say I've seen any good included. But I'm not totally against them...especially when they stem from local emotions or frenzy...Example: I quite enjoyed the bears sweep considering it's been so long since i've lived in a town headed for the super-bowl or any other championship anything.



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