Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Note to the News Media: GET TO IT!

Hector Salazar of La Canada likes to eat pudding. Chocolate is his favorite, but he also likes vanilla or butterscotch.

"It's like, something I enjoy for dessert, or just as a snack. I don't know, it's like it's sweet, but it's also filling, you know?" says Salazar, who sometimes shares the pudding with his children, but as often as not sneaks down for a late-night pudding fix. "I just love pudding."

Hector Salazar is not alone. A recent survey by the National Pudding Retailers and Growers indicates that Americans are consuming more pudding than ever before...


The paragraphs above are made-up, but ones just like them seem to begin half the stories in the L.A. Times.

They're the ones you skip through to get to the part of the story you want to read. (Of course you pause to wonder how on Earth the reporter decided to focus on Hector Salazar, out of all the pudding-loving schmucks in the world.)

Then there's the following scenario, which is played out every morning on every morning show and then every afternoon and night on every local news show.

Here's a completely fake news story which will, unfortunately, sound all too familiar:


ANCHOR: And now a story we've made you wait for long enough. [chuckles] It's about sitting on the phone, on hold, waiting for the person you want to talk to to come on the line. Everyone hates it, everyone complains about it. But one man has had enough, and he's doing something about it. Here's Kai Fong Morales with more:

KAI: It's something we all hate:

SHOT OF PHONE: "Please hold. Someone will be with you shortly."

KAI: Something we are all sick of.

SHOT OF PHONE: "Your call is important to us."

KAI: Sitting...

SHOT OF PHONE: "Hold on..."

SHOT OF PHONE: "Your call is next..."

SHOT OF PHONE: "Please hold..."

KAI: ...on hold.

SCHMUCK ON THE STREET: It's so annoying!

GIGGLY GIRL SCHMUCK ON THE STREET: I hate it, you just sit there and sit there...

OLDER BLACK WOMAN SCHMUCK ON STREET: It's a waste of my valuable time.

KAI: But now there's one man who says he has the answer.


Okay, see what just happened there? It took Kai all that time to tell us WHAT THE ANCHOR ALREADY TOLD US!

It is, after all, the reason we started watching the report in the first place.

Chances are it's the reason we watched the stupid news to begin with: the promo we saw about the guy who has a way to not sit on hold. (It definitely was NOT to see the usual crap the local news does: an overturned tractor trailer and a woman who's teaching gang members to do puppet shows.)

So can we all, as a society, finally and conclusively stipulate that stories no longer need to explain things that we already understand, or we wouldn't be watching or reading? That the only bigger waste of time than, say, sitting on hold is watching B roll of people sitting on hold?!

Please, I'm begging you. Cut out the beginning of every single news story in the newspaper and on television and just GET TO IT!

Thank you.

1 comment:

Sydelle Pearl said...

Sooooo true. What about the endless previews of what's "coming up next" after the commercial? This is the reason TIVO was invented. You can watch all of E! True Hollywood Story or Access Hollywood in a fraction of the time if you cut through all the repetitive crap, which buys you time to watch Extra and Entertainment Tonight which fills up the extra time before you become a skeleton.