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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On the tube

A few thoughts about what's on TV these days:

* Why all the breathless fascination with Jon and Kate Gosselin? They're uninteresting people on an uninteresting "reality" show on a cable network that almost nobody watches. And don't people understand that all the alleged scandals involving the couple and splashed on the cover of magazines like Us, People and Star are just manufactured publicity stunts to drum up ratings? The gullibility of today's TV audiences never ceases to amaze me.

* Jimmy Fallon - Saugerties native, "Saturday Night Live" alum and generally likable guy - is a decent stand-up comic and a funny sketch performer, but he's just dreadful as an interviewer on NBC's "Late Night," which he now hosts. Never was this more evident than when he had Steve Martin and Paul Simon on last night. He gushed over them like a groupie, asked the most infantile questions and made his viewers (and his guests) suffer through awkward silences when he couldn't come up with decent follow-ups. The silence became so deafening at one point that Martin, keenly aware of how bad things were going, started conversing with Simon to fill the dead space. It was just painful to watch. Here's hoping Fallon either gets much better at what he does or yields his chair to someone who's up to the job.

* Do the honchos at CNBC really think there's strong viewer interest in live coverage of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifying before congressional committees? They must, because every time Big Ben shows up on Capitol Hill, the financial network covers his comments virtually gavel to gavel.

* Think Rachael Ray is the best - and best looking? - cooking show host on TV? Not by a longshot. Check out Giada Delaurentis' "Everyday Italian" on The Food Network - especially if you're a guy. No denying it: This woman makes cooking sexy, and it's hard not to get hooked on her (and the food she prepares).



Blogger Versfelt Communications Group said...

It's TELEVISION sir. Not a newspaper. So of course stories with easily accessible and updated video will get more play than those which don't have it.

As a product of the University of Missouri Columbia School of Journalism thirty years ago and my decades of major market and network TV news work, I learned first hand that the audience tunes out if stories on TV go too long without visuals, especially video.

Why does your paper have photos, graphics, maps etc. both in the print version and Internet versions? Make the story more compelling. This is basic.

So I pose this question to you ... why is it even an issue for you? Why would you go into such detail in your blog about this?

This issue is nothing new and has been debated for more than thirty years. Perhaps with the recent demise of the newspaper business (note that I am saddened by this, but not surprised because of the inherent resistance of print journalists to change) you are feeling a bit, shall we say, peeved at the success of TV news gathering vs. newspapers?

Porter Versfelt III
Atlanta, Georgia

June 12, 2009 at 12:49 AM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

Your point about newspapers printing photos, graphics and maps is well taken, but you know full well that newspapers run plenty of stories that have no such visual aids. The chance of TV news running a story without accompanying video is slim to nil.
Thanks for your comment.

June 13, 2009 at 10:18 PM 

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