When I was news director at WLUC in Marquette, we sometimes joked that we could lead our newscast with the “kicker” (the final story of the newscast–usually a cute story) and kick our newscast with the lead story.
The point being, we don’t have too much hard news in the Upper Peninsula. No murders, no natural catastrophes, no massive corruption (at least that we know of). That’s great for those of us who live there, but tough for journalists trying to stack a newscast or fill the front page of a newspaper.
Here in Youngstown, Ohio, no such problem. I was visiting some of the TV6 alumni here on Friday and sat in the studio while the anchors read the first block of the newscast.
Story #1…Two parents charged with raping their 13 month old child. Unspeakable, unbelievable.
Story #2…One dissident group of Amish is charged with sneaking into the homes of another group of Amish and cutting their beards. Seriously. It’s no joke.
Story #3…A bridge has been stolen, and suspects are being sought. Yes, a bridge–not a really large one, to be sure, but a bridge, nevertheless–has been stolen, and officials are scratching their heads.
Story #4…Two thieves broke into a store and then accidentally dialed 911. Not surprisingly, the police showed up and arrested the two fat-fingered criminals.
Story #5…A man was arrested for stealing ladies’ underwear. 50 pairs of panties, tucked away in his dresser drawer.
After those first five stories, I barely managed to suppress a laugh and turned to the TV6 alumna, Sally Winter, and whispered, “What? Is this Saturday Night Live?”
With a smile, she threw up her hands and said, “Welcome to Youngstown!” although even she admitted this was not quite the norm in her town.
Again, stories like this make life easier (and more entertaining) for journalists, but they also make you appreciate our normal news fare–you know, the economic seminars, the opening of dental clinics, the change in parking regulations, the school pageants, etc.
We’re boring as hell, but, damn, it sure is a nice place to live.