Wednesday, July 23, 2014

To WGAL News8: Get your facts right

It is about time that WGAL, also known as News8, set the record straight on its reporting of the proposed gas pipeline the Williams Co. wants to run through parts of Lebanon and Lancaster County.

For weeks, as the proposed pipeline story was breaking, the station consistently aired a graphic showing a large above-ground pipeline to accompany their reporting on the proposal and the growing resistence to it by property owners that could be affected.

As a viewer and recipient to these reports, I assumed the pipeline being proposed was what was being shown in the graphic, or that the graphic was showing a pipeline similar to the proposed line.

For property owners who attended meetings with the pipeline company, they may have been set straight about it, but for other viewers, like me, there was no clarification.  Until the past two days, when a News8 personality is taped walking part of the proposed line and says the pipeline will be buried three feet below the surface -- oops, in the 2nd of 3 segments, the personality says five feet below the surface (no explanation why the difference).

What a difference that makes.  The eyesore aspect of this line disappeared. And now it makes some viewers wonder what the fuss is really about.  How many gas lines are buried now to bring local gas service? Hundreds of miles' worth just in my county.  And no one seems to be bothered. The same yellow-topped markers are showing in hundreds of areas.  I see several of the markers just on Indian Rock Dam Road in York Twp., one route I take regularly.

The only thing I say different is that this proposed large gas pipeline will have the area on top of it cleared of trees ... but under farm land, the farmer can farm his land as if it wasn't even there.

I am not here to offer an opinion on whether or not the pipeline is good or needed or necessary to take the route they plan to take.  I am here to say that journalists should get their facts right before presenting them to the public.

Misinformation, no matter whether intentional or not, creates wrong ideas and wrong basis for people to draw opinions from.

So the message to News8 is this: Get your facts right and your ducks in a row before presenting a campaign or project to us.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

And the networks call this news????

Breaking news. An airliner crashed in eastern Ukraine today (July 17, 2014). NBC-TV breaks into their programming and then, for two grueling, migraine-headache-causing hours, we hear a few bits of information and a lot of speculation of what happened.

Summed up, the airliner, a Boeing 777, was most likely hit by a ground-to-air missile. Definitely a dastardly deed.

But for two hours, we hear Brian Williams go on and on and on trying to piece together little bits of information.  First problem is that NBC network all of a sudden wants to try to come across as a 24-hour news network ... you know the type, like MSNBC, CNN, and Fox that grind on and on for hours about news developments because that is all they are there for.

What NBC (and probably CBS and ABC as well although those channels weren't monitored or checked) should have done was to produce a news bulletin announcing what happpened and that more details will be provided later.

We didn't need to hear all the speculation, the jibber jabber that normally goes on in a newsroom as journalists attempt to obtain the facts and piece them together.

The final facts after 2 hours of this form of excrement could be summed up in less than five minutes of reporting by 3 p.m.:  A Malaysian Boeing 777 jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine near its border with Russia, killing 295 people. No one was taking responsibility for the shot yet, through Ukrainian insurgents and Russia have the missiles that was probably used. Most airliners have shut down their routes over Ukraine as a result of the incident.

There, that was said in 2 minutes at the most.

For crying out loud, networks.  You are primarily entertainment-focused and you have that audience. Why bore them to death (or at least drive them to migraine headaches) by hearing bits and pieces of information repeated over and over and over in different voices and phrases. Let the regular programming go on and feed the bulletins as the actual facts become available.

The age of instant gratification, instant information transfer will never speed up the gathering of the facts which is what everyone should be basing their decisions and opinions on, anyway.  Do not base your opinions on the speculation that so-called professional journalists keep muttering.

Oh, and by the way, during this period, Israel began a land invasion of the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket attacks come from Hamas.  But that wasn't as important as the airliner it appears. You'll see that on the regularly scheduled even newscast.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Congratulations -- and a 'Thank You' are in order to York's television station, WPMT, also known as Fox 43 local coverage of the Independence Day celebration and fireworks at Lancaster's Long's Park.

It takes a lot to break from network programs, especially in what is called "prime time," to spend the funds for the technical and mobile equipment and to cover a local event such as this.  And thanks to the sponsor, Swartz Kitchens, which helped present the coverage

There is so little locally-produced programming these days on commercial television stations.

Compared to the slick production of July 4th in New York City, which cost thousands of dollars to present (all paid for by its major sponsor, Macy's, which comes from the money spent by consumers) Sunday night's Long's Park celebration was much more appealing and carried that hometown flavor.

One would hope that WPMT will do this again next year.

And maybe, just maybe, the station will bring us more locally prtoduced, local-flavor celebrations on other holidays.

Again, congrats to WPMT, Fox 43.