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November 13, 2007
Local TV News Sweeps: The Good/Bad, Part 2

Another installment of the semi-popular blog series: We watch local TV news during sweeps, so you don't have to.

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The good: Channel 13's Mike Dello Stritto (pictured, left) delivered an interesting feature report about a Sac State professor who's spent five years working on a DNA identification project in Tanzania. Great reporting by Dello Stritto, mainly because he just got out of the way and let the professor tell the story herself. We'd like to see our local TV news stations do more news features that aren't crime- or- personal-safety-related.

The bad: Channel 13 led its late news Monday night with a Steve Large (right) report on the car accident that claimed the lives of two UC Davis students on the crew team. (A third passenger is "clinging to life.") larrrgee.jpg Fine, but Channel 13 had a significant sin of omission. Neither Large nor anchors Sam Shane and Pallas Hupe told us that the accident happened on Friday morning. It's OK to do a follow-up on an accident, but be sure to say that the news is three days old - especially if it's leading your newscast.

The good: Channel 3 took a stab at citizen journalism Monday night by using photos from a passerby, Dorian Dunlap, to show how Countrywide Home Loans left stacks of loan documents outside a mailbox in West Sac - a situation ripe for identify theft. KCRA's Damany Lewis took the citizen tip and material and talked to post office spokespeople and got a statement from the company.

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The bad: On Thursday night, Lewis reported live from the oil spill in San Francisco. Apparently, desperate to spice up his stand-up report, Lewis picked up a plastic water bottle and showed it to the camera: "We took an unscientific test here of the water at Crissy Field. No one knows as of now what exactly is in this." Well, Damany, here's a guess: Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen - and probably a little crude oil.

The good: Fox40 sports guy Jim Crandell (right) never minces words. On Friday, reporting on the Sac State basketball team's slaughter at the hands of Top 25 Kansas State, Crandell told viewers: "Now, I understand why Sac State will play at Kansas State, but - you know what? - it makes no sense. They have no chance."
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The bad: On the same sportscast, Crandell threw out an obscure reference that no one I know has ever heard of. To wit: When describing how a tall Cleveland Cavalier player grabbed a rebound away from the Kings, Crandell said, "It's like playing Annie, Annie Over, for crying out loud." Annie What? Here's the definition from www.gameskidsplay.net.

The good: On Friday night, News10 anchor Cristina Mendonsa told the engrossing story of a Navy psychologist - and former Fair Oaks resident - who wrote a book about her experiences counseling soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mendonsa also practiced full disclosure by saying on the air that she has known the woman, Heidi Kraft, for a long time. (On her blog, Mendonsa added that the two were on a high school cheerleading squad.)

The bad: Transitioning out of the report, Mendonsa turned to co-anchor Dale Schornack and said: "An incredible woman." Schornack countered: "Let's go to another incredible woman ..." and then turned to meteorologist Patty Souza. Cringe. Souza: "Thanks, Dale. We've got some incredible news about rain coming in."

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