Who, What, When, Where, Why

The fundamentals of journalism.  In fact, the fundamentals of writing.  I have avoided network news for a while now, since the primaries when the major news outlets rushed to interview the Donald over the telephone.  Notably absent was Hillary.  There was industry blowback, especially when Trump started winning, but the news people said that Trump’s phone convos not only brought in ratings, they were important to their coverage of the primaries.  This silver platter stuff stopped after the conventions. By that time it was too late.

The major news outlets are now shunning the Donald Administration, doubling down on his spokespeople if any should be so foolish as to show up for an interview.  I note that there are no more phone interviews.  These outfits have become so biased that I can’t watch them for more than five minutes anymore, should I happen upon a panel-free moment.

This leaves the local news,  good for traffic, weather and  whether the schools have closed.  The local guys, relieved of  Donald duty, cover the nuts and bolts of the passing parade, murder, robbery, kidnapping, missing persons, school board meetings, man bites dog.  In the DC area, we are fortunate to have a local all news channel, part of the ABC affiliate.  This outfit puts on local news at 10:00 PM, right after it rebroadcasts ABC’s national news at 9:30.

One evening last week found me reluctantly watching the ABC Evening News rebroadcast.  The fact that the powers that be at ABC have given up on complete sentences is profoundly irritating. Amidst all the gabble, however, I gathered that a young woman was found dead at a “popular tourist destination.”  The newscast sped through its grisly story, with pictures of the young woman in better days followed by video of men in t-shirts scouring an unidentified jungle.  This, unfortunately, is not an unusual story.  The problem?  The newscaster (David Muir) never said where this happened.  “Popular tourist destination” doesn’t tell me much.  Where was it?  Thailand? The Caribbean?  Hawaii?  Where?

I had to look it up on Google.  “Popular tourist destination” turned out to be Panama, or an island belonging to Panama.   If we can’t trust a national news outfit to give us even the basic facts of a tragic murder, what else do they leave out?  Curb your outrage, guys.  Do your job.  It’s time to go back to basics which, hopefully, includes using complete sentences.




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