After living in Las Vegas for 2 years, I no longer watch Las Vegas TV news except for weather. I now pay for the Las Review-Journal because I got tired of mediocrity.
My time was wasted this morning with different facts for the same story by 2 stations.
Shortly after 6:00 a.m., KTNV Channel 13 started my confusion. They reported a recent business holdup at Boulder Highway and Flamingo and displayed a still picture from video surveillance of the suspect.
Since I didn’t have a preference yet for news stations, I flipped the channel to KSNV Channel 3. First, it’s dull to see the same stories on every channel and worse when they’re reported in the same order everywhere and with the same information.
But It’s the worst experience when a station reports a different address/location for that same story reported by another. Channel 3 reported the robbery at Boulder Highway and E. Desert Inn. Channel 13 reported it on Boulder Highway and E. Flamingo. However, I saw on Channel 3’s website the story reported as occurring in the “4800 block of Boulder Highway” with no cross street reference.
So I sent an email to Channel 3 asking where exactly this robbery occurred. Here’s the response I received:
Good morning Scott,
Thank you so much for watching. The location given to us by Metro Police was the 4800 block of Boulder Highway. This is between Flamingo and Desert Inn, so technically both are correct.
But their locator graphic in the on-air story showed E. Desert Inn as the cross street. After all, how many of us can visually map in our mind a street block?
But the Channel 13 cross street reference was E. Flamingo. The distance between the two streets on Boulder Highway is 1.4 miles. Here was my reply:
I’m curious why you don’t name the store in the story. The 4800 block covers a lot of businesses.
Police do not give us the specific address or the business. We do our best to report the facts we are given by police and not assume it is a certain business.
Wow. Just throw a story on the wall and see if it sticks. Not for me.
Sorry, but I don’t buy your explanation at all.
There was a shooting December 29 at John Fish Jewelers where one of two robbers was killed shot by an employee. Did police not give the name of the business or location that day as well?
The name of the business and exact address are located on the police report and it is a public record, available as required to be disclosed by police upon a Nevada Freedom of Information request by you or anyone wanting the information.
Specifics matter. Telling me two different locations confuses me and your explanation that it’s ok makes me really scratch my head. If that’s the case, why not just split the difference and report it happened at E. Twain? It’s halfway between two sites you say is correct.
Specifics matter and leaving them out wastes my time because the story didn’t get my attention. When my time is wasted once, I don’t come back for more.
Channel 13 doesn’t get off the hook. They didn’t name the business either.
Yours truly worked in a TV newsroom, KDNL Channel 30, as an assignment manager. Some colleagues there told me to hurry up to finalize a news story. I took my time exhausting what I needed to do to get it right. Maybe that’s because I was a TV news critic before that, at the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. Yeah, I have journalism experience on both sides of the fence.
Enough is enough for me in regard to relying on local television news. Recently when Midwest temperatures dropped to -20 degrees, KLAS Channel 8 weathercast Sherry Swensk reported we can damaged our lungs if we breath cold air like that too deeply into our lungs.
Wrong. I knew that, having reported a story in 1984 while working for WDND-FM, Wilmington, Illinois during super low winter temperatures, citing doctors at Northwestern University.
I’ve become tired of this, including the excuses why there are so many errors. The number one excuse is extreme cutbacks of personnel in newsrooms.
I guess it’s as hard as the cutback men on-air are making. Males at Channel 13 don’t wear ties. None of them, anchors, reporters, or weathercasters. They at least wear a sportscoat but I cringe every time I see it and it prompts me to change the channel. I find it too casual. It cheapens their industry and credibility, which is a shame because I’ve found some of their work to be exceptional.
Local TV news does a good job driving away audience rather than attract one. National TV news drives us away too.
So where do I go now for news? The Las Vegas Review-Journal charges $9.99 a month, delivery plus exclusive online news. Yes, I know their staff isn’t as big as it once was but I can still trust newspaper reporters at the local level more than TV newsrooms.
I’ll report later this year what i think about my choice for change. I do know one thing. I’ll enjoy the Review-Journal video presentations. My SIU-Carbondale Radio-TV classmate Jim Prather runs that department. They won a Emmy Award. Think about it – a newspaper won an award that for years was reserved for television stations.
If newspapers can present award-winning video content, what is broadcast journalism doing to improve online written content?
Answer? Not much from what I see. My decision has been building for a few years. I stopped watching network news a long time ago. I watch cable news channels less than half as much time as I did 5 years ago.
I saw the same decline in St. Louis. Too many stories not reporting the basic who-what-when-why-and-how in a story. Too many veterans and top pros like friend Mike Owens being replaced by someone from Nielsen market 4,328. I do have to give credit to great reporters like Ray Preston, Roche Madden and Andy Banker because they’re really good at what they do and made the news digestion tolerable.They proved they can be trusted. That’s not the case in Las Vegas. I have no idea who these people are I’m seeing on Las Vegas TV. I did know Channel 8 anchor Dave Corvoissier, but he left the station in late 2017.
It’s really aggravating to hear or see a story on TV and they fail to give a landmark location, address, city, or name of a person speaking. Sometimes, it was funny to see TV news flail away at identifying the right suburb. Once in St. Louis, Channel 4 identified a story occurring in Des Peres when it happened in my hometown of Creve Coeur. Problem was they missed location so badly there was another suburban city, Town and Country, in between where it actually happened and where they reported it.
How about news from the Internet? Is that a choice? That’s a story for another day.