Monday, July 11, 2016

Media Notes: Special Edition

Some things jumped out at me as I watched the Dallas Police shootings coverage unfold.

I was impressed at how quickly Dallas officials briefed the media.  They get it.  A lot of governmental organizations don't.  Rumors and misinformation spread at the speed of light in this social media world.  It's important to get accurate information, from credible sources, out there as soon as possible.

Dan Rather always used to say that a lot of early information on "breaking news" turns out to be false, and we saw some of that here.  However, there was more right than wrong, and Dallas officials did a great job keeping the media, and therefore its citizens, up to date.  It was a solid crisis management plan.  I should add the same was true during the Orlando shootings last month.

Early impressions on the coverage?  I thought FOX led the pack.  Shepard Smith in the studio and Casey Steagall were out in front of the others.  Steagall had all the information and did an excellent job of describing the scene.  He did what a lot of reporters forget to do-- let people know where you are, and how its all related.  Smith is one of the smoothest anchors out there.

All the networks were fortunate in that they have outstanding affiliated stations in Dallas.  It showed.

MSNBC's Brian Williams is getting roasted, again, for yammering on way too much.  I get that.  There were far too many JFK references.  Other than that, I thought he was fine.  He kept the balls in the air, and made seamless transitions between elements in the early morning hours.  Yes, I probably would fired him after the incidents of 2015.  Having said that, it's time to stop beating up on Brian Williams.

The next morning, Scott Pelley of CBS showed his Texas roots and Dallas reporting background.  He knows the territory.

ABC News has several well sourced reporters.  It seemed to have a nugget or two the others didn't.

Much of my early morning viewing was done at a gym, with an array of television screens before me.  ABC, CNN and FOX were all live.  CBS started taping its overnight news in September of last year.  It got burned, and it's not the first time it happened.  CBS didn't get its act together until 4:30 AM.  Yes, there is CBSN on the internet.  It might have been great, but I didn't have access to it.

ABC's World News Now was apparently making changes on the fly.  There was a rough moment or two, but that's OK.  It's live TV.  The story was constantly changing.  It was compelling.

The thing I will remember the most...  I don't know who recorded the video, or his/her organization, but I did see it in a few different places.  Shots fired.  A stampede of people is coming down the street.  The photographer stands still and records it all as the wave comes toward him.  Gutsy stuff.  Well done.

Radio?  Red Eye Radio, based in Dallas was very good overnight, and you know this was a big story when the overnight guy who talks about Martians and the end of the world took calls on Dallas.

We have an excellent idea of what happened in Dallas Thursday night.  Learning "why" is a lot harder.