Sacramento Weekly World News & Review

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Me... It's not like YOUR hands got nailed to the cross mom

Someone needs to prescribe Wellbutrin to all the Virgin Mary statues in the world. These things do nothing but cry. Now Sacramento has its very own whinger. I guess I'd be pretty upset if I got pregnant without even getting a little lovin', but seriously, this concrete chick needs to get a grip. It was 2,000 years ago. I have a dream that someday a Virgin Mary statue will cracked a smile. Maybe if she started dating this guy.

In related news, people that visit these hoaxes need to get a grip too. I remember earlier this week seeing some guy on tv saying he believed it was real, that the red stuff coming out of Sactoid Mary's eyes was blood that is. Now I realize that their whole belief system is based on just that, belief, but jesus christ, that doesn't mean you voluntarily flaunt your stupidity on television. Belief in Christianity should be like an uncurable STD; you let your family and closest friends know your problem, but you don't go around telling strangers about your disease.

Your 10:00 News

You would think one hour of tv news would be better than thirty minutes... if you haven't seen Sacramento's 10:00 p.m. news broadcasts. Since I was good and did my homework tonight instead of having any fun, I rewarded myself by flipping between the KOVR 13 and KQCA 58 10:00 news. I turned the tv on just in time to see the end of the token holiday travel stories from the "international" airport.

Entertainment Tonight... I mean KQCA displayed the best graphic I've ever seen on a local news broadcast. It was a full screen shot of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson with "October 2002 - November 2005" under their picture. The death of a celebrity marriage, tonight at 10. Later on, they did a quick segment on the hydrocracker (big pipe) in Wisconsin that's been on the minds of all Sacramentans (it was after all, the largest hydrocracker to ever be in that Wisconsin port), followed by a minute of reporting on the weather in Greece. While I was still grabbing my ankles, they aired a story on a 10-pound turkey-eating competition in Pennsylvania was

That brown thing swirling in my toilet... i mean KOVR, in a local news story, reported on Bev Clark. This was the tragic story a local woman that ordered a new dishwasher and stove from Best Buy. Unfortunately, the work order that went out with the delivery of the appliances stated only that the dishwasher needed to be installed, not the stove! Bev had already begun preparing for Thanksgiving dinner (her turkey was already thawing "on the dresser"), but her call to Best Buy and pleading with the installer didn't get her stove hooked up. Luckily, Hometown Buffet will be open tomorrow, and that's where she'll be tomorrow eatin' shit and rockin' it.

The local focus didn't last long, however, as they took a quick trip around the country for the day's U.S. news: a car dangled from a parking garage at the Golden Nugget, a cat in Miami, FL got stuck on a pole, a turkey fryer caused a house fire in Eugene, OR, and a man dressed as a turkey skied in West Virginia. I admit to really enjoying the video of the pastor getting punched by a parishoner though.

I wish I still had a sense of humor so I could say something biting and sarcastic, but I think these stories speak for themselves. With news like this, we don't need one-hour broadcasts; we don't even need half an hour of this crap. Just put on Extra and let us drool without fooling us into believing we're getting any useful news or information.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Breaking News: Officer Down

The joke has been that missing white women get all the news coverage, but in Sacramento, dead police officers are our number one story. Sure if the missing white woman is from somewhere nearby like Modesto we'll get bombarded with coverage, maybe even theme music to go along with it. As I get sidetracked, I remember a week or two ago a story about breaking news reported as being related to the Christine Wilson case: a bag had been found that was, at the time of the report, not linked to the case, but somehow it was still breaking news about the case. Unfortunately, I don't pay enough attention to the case to know if it ended up being tied to it. Incidentally, I notice a lot of people at work talk about the case. Maybe this is the kind of story people want, but I still have hope that it's just that they get so much of it on the news that it eventually becomes important to them.

Fighting the ADD, I regress, back to the point about dead police officers. Especially when they die in the line of duty, be it murder, helicopter crash, etc.., local news stations seem to engage in an implicit bet on who can devote the most airtime to the death. Not only are the regular news broadcasts filled with coverage of the death, but news conferences that add little if any to the abundant coverage break in to regular tv programming throughout the day.

And just wait until the day of the funeral. My theory is that the best time to commit a crime is during the funeral for a police officer. Have you seen all the law enforcement that show up for these things? Of course you have, because KCRA, KXTV, and KOVR broadcast live the procession of officer-filled cars as they drive down the highway during these things while offering commentary that makes segue banter look inciteful. I bet if a study was done on local tv news break-ins during regular programming, an overwhelming majority in this town would be due to law enforcement deaths.

Is this coverage market-driven or what? I don't know anyone that wants to see this on tv. Too much crime content is a common complaint of local tv news coverage. Maybe if the local stations could treat every white woman or law enforcement murder like the NHIs they gloss over, we could get more stories that actually mean something to us.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Online Polls: Public Opinion or Data Collection?

I hope we all know that online polls don't represent public opinion but rather show how people with too much free time on their hands, an internet connection, and no idea how pointless online surveys are feel about whatever is being asked. I also know that the media outlets that offer these polls, especially those that cater to a particular ideology, know enough about polling that they don't expect to get a true measure of public opinion. So what exactly is the point of these online polls?

My theory is based on little evidence, but when has that ever stopped anyone with a blog? Anyway, I believe these polls are used to get us to visit the outlet's website and become more emotionally attached to the station or newspaper and hopefully click on some ad links while we're there, but also, to collect data on respondants. This data can then be used to adjust programming and maybe even advertising.

KTKZ is nice enough to post all of its prior polls online. The questions they ask are generally about politics, but here's a look at a few of the other KTKZ online poll questions:

Who do you listen to the most on "News Talk 1380 KTKZ"?
How many times will you listen to the River Cats on 1380 KTKZ this summer?
What time will you listen to Paul Harvey on 1380 KTKZ?

The current Sports 1140 Poll question on the KHTK website is "Who should be given the opportunity to act as the Rise Guys weatherperson?"

If "Who cares?" is your response, you win! KHTK actually did have that as an option. If you don't care, why would you even bother answering the online poll in the first place? I guess I should ask those 12%.

Anyway, on both websites, these polls are mixed with the kind of questions you would expect; KTKZ questions are generally loaded questions about right-wing politics and KHTK usually posts polls about sports. While the questions above are blatantly for programming purposes it makes me wonder whether there is some useful information gained by the stations from all the poll questions on their websites. Just something for all you online-poll-answering suckers to think about.

One last thing, online poll results are usually given in percentages, but the Bee gets a gold star for actually showing how many people voted. This means I not only know that 7% of the respondents of todays question selected "Hot and sour" as their favorite soup, but that since only 15 people voted, that 7% is one person.

Semi-random, hopefully up-to-date list of major local news media providers

Since I'm going to bother with this stupid blog again, I thought I'd make a list of all the major sources of local media in the Sacramento area. There are some vague criteria that I used for this list, but I expect the list to evolve. If anyone has any changes, suggestions, or recommendations, please let me know.

The current list of most likely targets for this blog, along with their ownership info, are:

Newspaper

Sacramento Bee, McClatchy: Sacramento, California
Sacramento News & Review, Chico Community Publishing: Chico, California

Radio
KSTE 650 AM, Clear Channel: San Antonio, Texas
KHTK 1140 AM, Infinity Broadcasting: New York, New York
KSAC 1240 AM,
KCTC 1320 AM,
KTKZ 1380 AM & 105.5 FM, Salem Communications: Camarillo, California
KFBK 1530 AM, Clear Channel: San Antonio, Texas

Television
KCRA 3 (NBC), Hearst-Argyle Television: New York, New York
KXTV 10 (ABC), Gannett: McLean, Virginia
KOVR 13 (CBS), Viacom: New York, New York
KMAX 31 (UPN), Viacom: New York, New York
KTXL 40 (FOX), Tribune: Chicago, Illinois
KQCA 58 (WB), Hearst-Argyle Television: New York, New York