Friday, October 21, 2005

Big Time Funny!

This is from one of my favorite websites for talk about media.

LR guide to the new newswriting
In the old days (prior to, say, 1993 or so) there used to be specific guidelines at stations for use of on-air terminology. This was done so the viewers could understand the importance of stories in relation to each other. Now, so many of the terms are mixed messages. If you have seen that Edward R. Murrow movie, you may be confused by some of the terms used in the film because they are now badly dated. In the interest of public service, Lost Remote presents what news terms used to mean, and what they mean today.


"We interrupt this program to bring you a Special Report":
OLD: The president has been shot.
NEW: A cute girl is missing.

"Breaking News":
OLD: The president will resign.
NEW: There's a car on the side of the road with a flat.

"News Alert":
OLD: Man will land on the moon within the hour.
NEW: Man landed on Pam Anderson over the weekend.

OLD: We are the only people he would do an interview with.
NEW: We are the only people he would do an interview with from 7:43 am - 7:48 am.

OLD: Live!
NEW: Live (on tape or possibly an :01 generic for everyone)!

"Storm Central is in full gear!"
OLD: A major, possibly record-breaking storm is headed our way and there is important information you need to know for your safety.
NEW: It's looking sorta cloudy, isn't it?

"We have a crew on the way."
OLD: We have a crew on the way.
NEW: We just saw the story on the other channel and we're calling in our truck guy from his day off.

"We have new details..."
OLD: We have found out additional facts that are new and pertinent to your understanding of this complex story.
NEW: We got nothin', but we're rewriting the copy in the present tense.

"Our Team Coverage"
OLD: Four reporters on a big story that requires several locations to tell properly.
NEW: Eighteen reporters on a non-story, possibly standing within inches of each other.

"We are sending out our chopper."
OLD: Because there's a riot in the streets, and aerials will provide perspective as to its intensity, range and danger.
NEW: Because the promos say we will.

"We are the number one news station in town!"
OLD: We won in the ratings.
NEW: We won in the ratings among 34-59 year old middle-income white females earning $34,500 - $52,875 with two or fewer kids who are expected to purchase shoes in the next quarter.

"Go to our website for more information."
OLD: Go to our website for the exact same information.
NEW: Go to our website for more information buried among car ads, Google ads, our marketing message, our "community" work, team bios, show schedules and how to buy advertising on our channel.

"We are making calls right now to find out more."
OLD: We are making calls to our contacts who can give us the inside scoop.
NEW: We are waiting for the AP update thingy to go "ping"!

"This story will have major impact here at home."
OLD: Ways the national or international story directly impacts our community.
NEW: Someone in our 250 square mile area has a cousin who knows someone there.

"There has been a major outbreak of a deadly virus."
OLD: 35,000 people are infected and it is spreading out of control.
NEW: It showed up in a dead bird.

"This just in..."
OLD: We just found this out and we want you to know about it.
NEW: We finally got the prompter to work.

"Jeff Smith is on assignment."
OLD: Jeff Smith is doing a weeklong investigation into City Hall corruption.
NEW: Jeff Smith is holding out for more money.

"Our reporter joins us by videophone."
OLD: Because we wanted to get this to you quickly, and it's the best we can do right now.
NEW: Because it's a shitload cheaper than a live truck, a truck op, a cameraman and satellite time.

"Visit our blog."
OLD: Our what?
NEW: Our GM saw someone else doing it, so here it is.

"Are your children in danger? Watch us tonight to find out."
OLD: Yes, there is contaminated water at our playground that is making children ill.
NEW: No they aren't. Good tease writing, though.

"There is controversy tonight over..."
OLD: Two big shots are debating an important matter relating to politics, business or the community.
NEW: Someone thinks Lindsay Lohan and Calista Flockhart are too thin.

"Exclusive new undercover videotape..."
OLD: You mayor smoking crack with a hooker while stealing money from the city for more drugs.
NEW: Paris Hilton.

"You won't believe what we uncovered."
OLD: A smoking gun clearly showing the governor and his cronies on the take.
NEW: Something we took off "The Smoking Gun" website.

"That story when we return."
OLD: We have two minutes of commercials now, then we'll tell you the story.
NEW: It's buried in the "F" block, about 45 minutes from now.

"You are watching WXXX - the Emmy's station of the year."
OLD: We won "station of the year" this year.
NEW: We won it 16 years ago. Before there was competition.

"We are having technical difficulties."
OLD: Something broke. We're fixing it.
NEW: It never worked in the first place.

"Don't miss our News at Five!"
OLD: Watch us. There has been a lot going on today.
NEW: Please watch us or we're getting ditched for Dr. Phil.

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