Please Do Not Feed The Reporters

01 Feb

If your local newscasters are anything like my local newscasters, then you’ve probably been informed already that an army of unholy ice tornadoes is blasting across your city like a zombie apocalypse, and you might be wondering if it’s time to start busting up your furniture and using it to barricade your doors and windows, and the answer is probably yes.

I always feel warm and fuzzy watching the local news crew when there’s a winter storm – it’s like the big spring musical for your ten year-old.  Sure, it’s wonky and awkward and some of the players are so excited they can barely speak, but isn’t it nice that they all get to feel like big boys and girls and learn important lessons in Team Playing and Constant Smiling?

Sometimes they even get their own microphones, and they get driven someplace by their very own van driver, and then they stand outside wherever that is and say, “This is Maxinne Scoopington, I’m here on the west side where the rain is getting so cold that it’s freezing, causing a sheet of ice on the ground.”

Maybe a swank graphic there about how water molecules behave at freezing point.  Some selfless, hard-as-nails reporters will even demonstrate what it looks like to slip on ice, by slipping on ice on purpose while wearing football pads and a safety harness.  “Whoa!  As you can see, ice is very slippery.  Mitch?”

And then maybe a puzzling comment about how the whole city is going to be paralyzed by this ice storm, with no explanation as to why they had to drive anywhere in their vans to cover it.  Your station’s right here in the city, yes?  That’s what makes it local?  Oh, well.

I guess you don’t feel like you’re reporting anything if you’re standing in your own parking lot.  That’s not journalism.  You’ve got to get out there, feel the pulse of the city.  Learn what it’s like to stand in a different parking lot, going, whew – it’s cold and slippery out here just like everywhere else and the people have the right to know!

Meanwhile, back at the studio, they’ve usually put together a helpful bullet point list of tips for surviving the ice assault and staying warm in general:

 – Keep your door closed.  Heated air from your home can escape into the rest of the world if you open your door, so keep it closed

–  Don’t forget to wear clothing and dry socks.

–  Do NOT put your children, pets, or head in your oven.  Warmth isn’t always good – play it safe.

–  Since everything will be fine in a day or two, all you really have to do is nothing, unless you are some sort of drug addict who doesn’t own a scrap of food and whose sink doesn’t work.

– Etc.

It’s very important to keep a positive attitude when talking to your local news reporter, because they have extremely fragile self-esteems (for obvious reasons) and they’ve spent the last ten hours in constant terror that the weather would turn out to be fine and there would be nothing to talk about in other people’s parking lots. 

Typically, they take themselves pretty seriously and you don’t want to let on for a second that really they are like models on The Price Is Right, except instead of sweeping their hands across Cuisinarts and New Cars (!), they are smiling and reading the Internet to us.  Remember how you clapped when your son was playing Napoloeon in that school play, even though you knew Napoleon spoke French and your son forgot his lines anyway and had to have them whispered to him from offstage by Mrs. Clipperton?

There’s no reason to beat these big boys and girls up about it; they’re trying their best.  I’m sure they are paid well, and I’ll bet it feels just like a real job, and lots of people who were DEFINITELY going to leave their houses and do something today don’t have the Internet, so they never would have found out about the ice storm until they went outside and looked.  What if they weren’t wearing a hat when they went out there?

It’s not a game.  We should not only thank the Good Lord Up Above for our brave local news casters, we should support them no matter what.  Like a local sports team which is always getting the hell beaten out of it on the forty million dollar hockey rink that landed in your city like an alien mothership fifteen years ago.

So take it seriously.  Don’t laugh at them.  Listen when they are talking and believe every hilarious, melodramatic word.

For instance, right now, you ought to be thinking to yourself, at what point in an Ice Apocalypse is it appropriate to eat my neighbor’s cat?

Well, the first thing to remember is cats are not licensed like dogs, so possession is nine-tenth of the law.  If the cat is in your house, then that’s your cat, and it’s perfectly fine to eat your own cat (at least I think it is, there’s no way to be sure.) 

Don’t get all sentimental about it, either – in a survival situation that cat would eat you if it could on Day One.

Or, alternatively, you could order a pizza, since the storm is not quite such a death-dealing ice squall that any pizza joints have closed down.  So yeah, either trick your neighbor’s cat into your Crock Pot, or order a pizza.  You can use the same Internet Chaz Acestriker read to you to print off some pizza coupons – more survival tips to file away for later use.

In the meantime, just keep your windows closed and your computer off and stay glued to the television, that way you can watch Wendy’s commercials while you’re waiting for your local newscasters to tell you what’s going on outside your window and on the Internet.  I’ll take up position here on the Internet and report the television to the blogosphere. 

All you need to do is order a pizza or start eating cats – it’s not that complicated.

I’m Tom Chalfant, and this has been the Local News Report Report.  Keep watching the screens.




Earlier:   How I Survived The Big Blow

And:  Olentangy Parents And Their Enormous Boulders

1 Comment

Posted by on February 1, 2011 in News/Commentary


Tags: , , , , ,

One response to “Please Do Not Feed The Reporters

  1. Kimberly Kinrade

    February 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    LOL Hilarious report Tom. I too have often wondered the value of reporting on obvious weather conditions such as this.

    Oddly enough, last night I had a dream that someone asked if I was a broadcast journalist. I said no, I’m a writer. That was the end of the dream. There was no snow though, or ice, though it is quite cold here in Washington this morning.


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