We Get It! Watering is Bad, Local Events Bring In Big Bucks

I concluded many, many months ago that our local television stations have a “playbook” that tells them how to treat any story. If a teen gets in trouble, their book must say that it’s time for another Myspace story. When a crime occurs in a small town, you find an old-timer to give the “I never thought it’d happen in my town” storyline. If the cops demand some publicity, you follow them around on speeding or DWI stings. And don’t forget extra time for safety tips!
The general public probably doesn’t even notice the repetition of these stories simply because of the time between each new version of the story. Trust me, though, there is rarely any difference in how they handle any story.
The standard storylines go beyond tiring when they become a daily routine. That’s exactly what’s going on right now with two different stories that don’t deserve multiple airings.
The first of these awful stories are the godawful watering stories. Almost every single day we hear that we’re so damned lucky to be able to water every other day, and that this town and this town only get to do it once a week if at all. And if things don’t improve, it’s only going to get worse. We get it! I really don’t see anybody at all going overboard in their watering. Personally, I only do it once a week and quite frankly I don’t look to see if it’s “my” day. If I’m ever reported for doing it on the wrong day, I’ll make the city pull my water usage records to show that I use a fraction of what my neighbors use.
I know the reason these stories exist. They’re just lead-ins for the extended weather segments that teach us how bad we need rain. Yet at the same time, they tell us that even if it does rain nothing will improve. I guess we’re all doomed.
We get it; we’re in a drought and using water is bad!
As maddening as the water stories are, it’s the next set of generic stories that really get to me. It’s a story that gets airtime throughout the entire year, but it’s at its most repetitive during the summer as tourist season is in full swing and we have outdoor concerts and sports tournaments.
I’m speaking of the economic impact story. Just these past two weeks, I’ve seen the same story at least six different time…including twice on one very, very slow news day. Generally, there’s a lead-in story that tells us which event or tournament is in town and is then followed by a glowing, overly-exaggerated account of how much money these people are spending.
There are absolutely no changes from one of these stories to the next. Clips of the event in question (that inevitably prove that the attendance figures are hyped) are intermixed with shots from the mall, downtown, and/or at a local restaurant. Inevitably, stupid Terry Ellis Schmidt’s forced smile gives us a “this town is the greatest” soundbite to conclude the story.
Look, it is great that certain events are successful, and that we do attract more than our share of sports tournaments. But the event should be the focus, not whether this translates to a booming economy. Ok, maybe an occasional story of this sort is warranted for an event that does especially well, but I’m not exaggerating in saying that this story accompanies every single event.
Plus, the numbers don’t add up. Events that attract mainly locals are just transferring dollars that could be spent elsewhere in the city to the concessions at the actual event, with a bit of a bump to those retailers within walking distance. My family has six locations spread throughout the city, and an event on the south side of the city cripples the business at those stores not in that part of town.
As for the high school softball and soccer tournaments, those people are generally on a short leash. They’re pretty self-sufficient, and bring a ton of supplies to cut down on expenses. If they’re lucky, they get a day at the mall but that’s more of a social outing than a serious shopping day. Again, we rarely see a significant bump in sales during these occasions.
On a related note, can somebody explain to me how accepting the lowest bid for the convention center contract has ended up costing us more money than the previous contract? Nice job from Ms. Schmidt to make herself more powerful by acquiring a half million dollar deal from the city to do some of the convention center’s work. Why can’t our local stations look into these sorts of stories?

Comments

jimmyZ said…
I was just talking today about this.

KDLT is reporting that 5 million is brought in by the softball thing. To me the kicker is that they say 3,000 people are brought in for the event.

If that number doesn't count the under 300 teams, and let us say those teams have 20 people each, I don't think they have the money to equal 5 million dollars.

Then again, I was taught math in Minnesota.
Captain Liberty said…
My biggest beef with them is the "local reaction" to national stories - who gives a shit what some schmuck on the street thinks about anything?? How is that "news"??

But all they have to do is walk out the front door and stick a mike in someone's face, and they fill one "news" slot on every broadcast.

As you noted, god forbid they'd actually go out an dig up some real news...just react,rehash and recycle.
Scott:

This is one of the best posts you've written. As a former newsie in two of the three newsrooms in SuFu, you don't know how close the to truth you are.

Todd Epp
Recovering Journalist
SD Watch http://thunewatch.squarespace.com
". . . close to the truth. . . "

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