Archive for Thursday, November 18, 2004

TV’s not necessarily the ‘news’

November 18, 2004

News travels fast -- sometimes -- but it doesn't always arrive with all the facts. It's an interesting phenomenon and I had a good example of it Tuesday night.

I took a dinner break about 6:30 p.m. away from the office and laying out this week's pages. Just as I was pulling in the driveway, double quarter-pounder in hand, my cell phone rang.

It was dark and I couldn't see who the call was from. It was a friend from Kansas City who proceeded to tell me that Channel 9 had a report from Baldwin on the shotgun incident.

Well, I'd already missed it, but shrugged it off a bit anyway. All I could figure was it was an extremely slow news day in Kansas City if they were dragging the television cameras out here for a story about something that happened two weeks ago.

But, not having seen the report, I thought maybe it also included the latest round on BHS police reports after last week's bullying incident. My friend hadn't mentioned that and had only seen the last part of the report.

I didn't think too much of it and thought I'd be sure and watch at 10 p.m. to catch it myself. Then, about 7 p.m. as I was headed back to the office, I got another call, this one from my son, Brett, from Des Moines, Iowa.

"Dad, were there shots fired at Baldwin High today?" were Brett's first words.

I said, "Huh, what are you talking about?"

He explained that his girlfriend's mom, who lives in Kansas City, had seen a news report on TV and that shots had been fired. I didn't know quite what to say, but said that -- as far as I knew -- no shots were fired at BHS today.

I explained to him about the call I'd just had and that I knew there was a TV report on Channel 9 about the shotgun incident in Baldwin two weeks ago and that's what it was probably about. How that got twisted into shots being fired, I don't know. He also made me promise that if I found out differently, to let him know.

Well, to this point, I haven't had to make that call. I did call it a night at 9 p.m., watched NYPD Blue and then the Channel 9 news. Not a word. No report. No nothing.

I'd like to think that after they came down Tuesday and poked around, that they found they were a little late. To justify the trip to Baldwin, they aired a report on how neighbors around the parking lot where the incident occurred didn't like the noise. Then, some one on the Channel 9 staff must have realized the wasted time and didn't let it run again at 10.

It made me think of their plug, "Thanks, Kansas City, for making us the most watched news." I admit, I fell for it. I was looking for gun shots that weren't there for a change.

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