Friday, August 17, 2007

Broken News

[Media] Talk about a whuppin’! On Thursday evening (Aug. 16), the night of the second collapse at the Crandall Canyon mine, news began filtering onto the Internet about Emery County’s latest disaster. All the major cable networks were on it, and our local broadcast and print media were as well. Except for one—KUTV 2, which was basically asleep and inept.

Around 9:30 p.m., Fox News' Greta van Susteren announced that The Salt Lake Tribune was reporting that of the injured miners, one had died. Click to Fox 13, and the same announcement was made at nearly the same time. It was unclear for a while how many miners were injured and to what degree. Both Fox stations were in the midst of regular news broadcasts and did admirable work of keeping their viewers well informed. Indeed, hats off to Fox 13’s Max Roth. During a live report, it was clear he came upon some very distressing news about one of the miners but did not report that detail until official confirmation and out respect for the grieving family just feet behind him.

So, what happens at 10 p.m.? Channels 2, 4 and 5 all lead with that blaring announcement of “breaking news” from Crandall Canyon. No one takes that ‘”breaking news” crap seriously anymore since, often as not, it’s only a cat stuck in a tree. ABC 4 and KSL 5 both began with current facts about how the accident happened and that one miner was confirmed dead. Channel 2—not even bothering to watch the latest events unfold on competitive monitors—stuck to the same script written before whoever wrote it went off to coffee: “Eleven coal miners injured in second collapse” read King and Koebel. No, guys, that’s not “breaking news.” Nine miners were involved—everyone else cleared that matter up before 10 p.m. You were “broken news.”

After about five minutes of confusing bluster, Channel 2 made their belated announcement that a miner had died and there were nine total involved. But, that news came with another nutty surprise. At the end of a press briefing regarding the dead and injured, Tammy Kikuchi, spokesperson for the Utah Department of Natural Resources, was asked to spell her name. K-I-K-U-C-H-I she said. But, Channel 2’s reporter at the scene kept calling her Kikunich. Slav, Japanese—all the same over at Channel 2, I guess. And poor Michelle King repeated that pronunciation later in the broadcast. Yeeoouza!!

It wasn’t like they didn’t have reporters and cameras at the scene—half the world is there. The train left the station on Channel 2 on this one. Makes me wonder if the cat really got stuck in the tree. (John Saltas)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.