What Makes Local News 'Annoying'

There was some fun and somewhat insightful "navel-gazing", as one New York media pundit put it, when WNYW New York did a 4 minute, 20 second segment on what's annoying about local news.

"Silly stories, pointless live shots, endless cliches," teased Dari Alexander before sending it to Joel Waldman, in front of the Fox 5 building, where he admitted nothing—not a thing, in terms of news—was going on.

"There's absolutely no point in being out here, but my producer told me to do this," he said.

The segment shows a bunch of news clips, including those from KETV Omaha, WSB Atlanta (which jammed 25 on-location boxes on the screen to show its reportorial might during the market's recent "snowstorm") and WMAQ Chicago, along with some from CNN and Today.

TV news trappings deemed most annoying, by the reporters and pundits: rulers jammed into snow for effect, overblown weather coverage, cheesy made up words like Snowmageddon! (and, if we're talking about Fox 5, "New Yorkitude"), reporters pressing fingers to their earpieces, and reminders for viewers to find out more on the web.

Jeff Jarvis, CUNY journalism professor, applauded WNYW in the bit for looking at the man in the proverbial mirror. "Doing a story about local TV news is a bit navel gazing," he said, "but it’s a good start because it shows me you’re willing to ask the tough questions about what’s annoying about TV news."

Obviously Fox 5's list is way, way incomplete. What bugs you about local news? Not bothering to get/show names of people interviewed on the street? Weather without the five-day forecast? Anchor happy chat? Desperate attempts at viewer/user feedback, such as this one?

It's your turn.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.