Survival of the Wittiest
Stuart Scott-style reporting may work -- may, I stress, since it's so tired by now – for sports journalism, but it's everywhere in TV news.
You ever watch a local newscast and think it's just getting too cutesy? You think "Why would he/she do that?"
The answer to that question? Because he/she was told to.
There's a great cautionary tale in today's Sacramento Bee about a TV journalist who didn't go along with the goofy stuff.
Naj Alikhan. Good, solid reporter. Committed to the job -- and to informing his viewers. How'd his station reward him for his work ethic? They let his contract run out and didn't choose to retain him.
It was early August 2005, and [Naj] Alikhan was reporting on West Nile virus spraying, a subject that had caused considerable controversy at the time.Warning: the story, complete with Christina-Applegate-in-"Anchorman"-type assignments are wince-inducing. (Feeding a bear cub with a baby bottle in his first few days? Really?)
But this was "Good Day Sacramento," Channel 31's popular morning show, where the silly always trumps the serious. So while Alikhan was waiting for his cue, practicing the correct pronunciation of the pesticide "pyrethrins," one of his producers was whispering another type of advice in his ear:
"C'mon, Naj. Do it. It'll be great. Just slap your neck in the middle of the report. It'll be hilarious."
Naj didn't do it…
About a month ago, Alikhan walked away from the morning madness.
His contract with "Good Day Sacramento" and CBS sister station Channel 13 ended and, in the euphemistic world of local TV news, Alikhan found himself "on the beach" – meaning looking for another TV job.