Category Archives: Local media

A rant.

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This morning, as the terrifying and tragic events (prayers for them) at Franklin Regional High School unfolded, my Twitter feed shit the bed.

It didn’t just shit the bed, it shit the bed, puked in it, then left a horse head in it before lighting the bed on fire.

If my Twitter feed this morning was an image, it would have been this:

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If it was a gif, it would have been this:

panicIf it was a cat, it would have been this:

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Events unfolded as every local media outlet began crawling over each other, pushing each other to be first on the scene. First with details. First with pictures.

FIRST!!!!

Each minute ticked by with my feed filling up with dozens and dozens of tweets.

Marty Griffin hashtagged all of his tweets about the tragedy with #getmarty.

One reporter hashtagged his with #schoolshooting

“I’m hearing …”

“We’ve heard …”

“Sources say …”

#WPXI #schoolstabbing

5, 10, 6, 14, 20. (Aren’t these the Lost numbers?)

20 stabbed.

20 injured.

Not life-threatening.

Four are life-threatening.

Seven are life-threatening. 

None are life-threatening. 

Only students.

One teacher. 

“We’re hearing bullying is a factor…”

Outside during a fire drill.

Inside after someone pulled a fire alarm.

All being taken to Forbes.

Five being taken to Children’s.

All being taken to six different hospitals. 

Principal tackled suspect.

Vice-principal tackled suspect.

Assistant principal tackled suspect. 

Reporters retweeting colleagues retweeting other colleagues. Sports and weather reporters tweeting details. Not one single tweet mentioning a source.

MADNESS. Complete and utter clusterfucky online madness that trickled down to on-air madness.

Social media is newish, but it’s not so new that local media outlets shouldn’t have a plan in place for handling developing news like this. The exact same way they have a plan in place for ON-AIR and IN-PRINT developing news stories.

Media folks who want to defend this morning’s mess, you must ask yourselves this question: If this is not okay in the live studio, why is it okay online?

Does your station allow 17 reporters and three anchors to crowd the floor of the live set and start shouting over each other and into the camera like desperate stockbrokers on the trading floor their version of the facts as they’re hearing them? “I’m hearing six! Over to weather! Well, I’m hearing five over here at weather! Over to sports! We’re hearing 10 over at sports! Traffic? My Facebook friend’s mother’s cousin’s sisterwife says 20 but my brother’s concubine says 19! And that guy behind the camera is hearing 4! Wait! Wait! –”

No. They don’t allow that. They manage the information as it comes in and filter it down before allowing the anchor to read it — and even that allows misinformation to fall through the cracks. But they attempt to manage the information.

It seems, however, that they believe social media means no rules, so you’ve got two dozen Twitter-verified reporters from WPXI tweeting and retweeting and 10 from WTAE and 11 from KDKA and add in the radio folks who are tweeting what they’re hearing from the TV folks, and add in the newspaper folks, and the producers and the cameramen and the editors, and the people working in the business offices, and I’m telling you guys, you guys running the media, this is broken.

This is so so broken.

Station managers figure they don’t control social media. Hands off. Everyone out for themselves, even if we’ve made sure you’ve got the blue checkmark next to your name verifying that you’re our representative. Tweet what you find … even if it’s unverified. Even if your source is the lunch lady’s third cousin. Even if you’re just retweeting your colleague who mistakenly hashtagged this story as a school shooting. Even if you’re retweeting your colleague who is claiming bullying is involved while not really knowing if bullying is involved. Even if you’re retweeting your colleague who says 20 were stabbed when 20 were INJURED. We can’t know who everyone is following, and everyone is not following the same two reporters, so we’ll just let every single damn one of you tweet anything you can get your hands on and we’ll feed that straight to the anchors and we’ll let them just run with that shit, amen. 

I’m getting a little punchy, yes. I’m sorry. But I haven’t been writing my shit for here for nine years to make friends. Hell, I’m an introvert; friends are exhausting.

I’m aware it was worse for people like me who follow multiple reporters from multiple outlets (though I went on a nice unfollow spree this morning, as I should have done after the local media basically tweeted a play-by-play on how the McCandless mother drowned her sons), but I’m guessing that even those of you who only follow a few saw exactly what I’m talking about. Insane, intense retweeting. “Follow this person at our station for the facts! No! Follow this person! We realize he’s the sports reporter, but follow him too! And this guy, he’s the producer of a two-hour block of the news, but follow him for ‘facts!’”

No. No no no no no.

This is not how it needs to work and it’s not helping the story, the situation, or the station/paper/outlet. It’s hurting all of those things, even the on-air reporting.

I’m not here to just complain, I’m here to offer a solution to fix this mess because guess what? It can be fixed.

It can be fixed with three words: MANAGE. THE. MESSAGE.

You’re running WPXI? A major breaking news story happens? You get all your best reporters out there on foot and on the phone and on the web to collect information and do their jobs. And you pick one, maybe two of them to be the official tweeter of this particular story, or you have your official verified main account do it. Any other employee on Twitter will then tweet only ONE THING regarding this story: “We’re on top of this story. Follow @name and @name for the official details.” And they will RT ONLY that account or accounts.

That’s it.

Then they shut the hell up and do their jobs and if they’re assigned to this story, they feed their info and their sources to those two people who are now responsible for determining what will be reported on the official social media account.

Manage the message.

You do not allow TWO DOZEN REPORTERS WHO ARE YOUR OFFICIAL BLUE-CHECK-MARKED REPRESENTATIVES TO RUN LIKE STAMPEDING WILDEBEESTS ALL OVER TWITTER GOING FULL-ON TOURETTE’S, SHOUTING MISINFORMATION AT US UNTIL WE SLAM THE UNFOLLOW BUTTON WITH THE FORCE OF THOR’S HAMMER.

Managing the message would increase your followers, you know why? Because you’re not destroying us viewers and readers and listeners with information that may not even be correct. You’re not having reporters crawling all over each other in the name of FIRST! You’re not having mass unfollowings because we the people are fed up with you the breaking news media.

What you end up with are trusting followers who know you’re going to funnel the raw information in some fashion. That you’re going to manage the information put out there by your employees. You’re virtually pulling everyone off the set and leaving your two trusted anchors to talk with the public. You’re Peter Jennings-ing a Jerry Springer fiasco. 

You end up with reporters, no longer obsessed with first!, putting away Twitter and working to get the best possible information from the best possible sources so that they can feed you that CORRECT information and get rewarded.

So instead of the virtual shouting match you’ve allowed your reporters to devolve into … instead of all of us unfollowing all of you for the 4! 3! 6! 20! 10! nonsense, you end up with one account that tweets this and reports this on the news: ”Our reporter @name has confirmed with [source] that the number of injured currently stands at [number].”

“Our reporter @name2 has confirmed with [source] that the number of injured has risen to [number.]”

“Our reporter @name3 has confirmed with [source] that the injured are being transported to [number] hospitals.”

Message. Managed.

Gold star and endless RTs and follows and respect for you.

Unfollows with great Thor-like gusto for everyone else.

#getmarty

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Random n’at

UrbanGridded

1. If you haven’t yet, please scroll down or click here to see pictures of the $20,000 in technology upgrades we dropped off and installed at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh this week.

2. Reader Kathleen is running the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon for Genre’s Kids With Cancer Fund.

If you’re looking for a charitable place to spread some good karma today, go throw in a few dollars for her? She only needs about $240 more to reach her goal!

For sick kids!

3. The Bucs are in second place. Half game out of first. They’ve won 12 of their last 16, I think. The best team in baseball, Atlanta, has only lost 6 games all season, and three of those were to the Pirates.

I’M JUST SAYING.

4.  Did you know you can buy Yinzer Bingo at Wildcard and another store that sells them, but I lost the name? There’s a K in the name? Anyone? Anyone? Zober?

Regardless, LOOK!

YinzerBingo

YinzerBingo2

These are created by John the Craftist, who is actually a woman. Look at some of the other amazing stuff she creates, many of which are greeting cards:

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I’m kind of in love with all of this and I wonder if there’s a Gemini one that says, “Witty. Passionate. Batshit Crazy.”

Anyway, I’ll be in Wildcard very soon to buy all the things.

5. Pigeons are assholes. And they smoke too. Look at this news photo from a 1989 edition of the Post-Gazette.

Click to embiggen and then read the caption.

The Pittsburgh Press   Google News Archive Search

Unreal. If today’s pigeons get wind of this, it is going to RAIN FIRE.

(h/t Jerry)

6. If you’re around Market Square next Friday morning …

Light of Life Rescue Mission is presenting former MLB player Sean Casey with the 3rd annual Locker Room Leadership Award at 9:30 a.m.  Sean is a former all-star baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians. Dennis Bowman will emcee, introducing former Steelers Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley who will present Sean with the award.

I’ll be there hanging out for sure. Sean does amazing things for the homeless via Light of Life.

7. This is old, but shut up.

Pittsburgh leads the nation in people moving in.

Suck it, Portland.

8. Giant Eagle is grocery store Big Brother?

Also, people are STILL commenting on my pharmacy rant. My God.

9. Lukey went AWOL, said he never left the city, but apparently his press secretary thought he went to Bradenton at one point. 

That sounds right.

10. Pretty sure the P-G is going to endorse Wagner after reading this article. Why? Just scroll down and read the comment left by Matt Barron. The P-G very conveniently left out some HUGE names that endorsed Bill Peduto yesterday. 

[golf clap]

11. Headline: “Penguins Drop Second Straight.”

sheldon

Seriously. Two losses in a row. NBD.

12. The fountain is almost ready to go!

Here’s an image from today via Point Park TV’s twitter account:

BIyPAK0CMAEfjLi

Cannot wait until I can take my kids for a stroll around the fountain again.

13. UNREAL TIMELAPSE OF FOG ROLLING INTO PITTSBURGH.

Also unreal? That WTAE used FOUR anchors to intro it. Hah!

But seriously … amazing video.

14. Mother’s Day!

I wrote about Pittsburgh Moms for the May magazine edition. A snippet:

Our conversations about the latest episode of “Greatest American Hero” turned to hushed whispers. There was no whining about elbows in ribs or bothersome jelly-shoe blisters. While we painfully swallowed our sneezes, our mom drove with her chin hovering 3 inches above the steering wheel and her hands locked in a death-grip. She’d hold this position until the wagon was safely parked — which is when she’d exhale and revoke the sacred Writ of Silentium Absolutus.

I didn’t appreciate it then, but I can see it now for what it was: My mother was doing something far outside of her comfort zone so that her girls could have nice clothes (that didn’t scream, “Five kids. One job. Hills is where the toys are.”).

And I also put together a Burghy Mother’s Day gift guide for you. Everything from Burgh-made jewelry, to an awesome Pirates iPhone case, to BYOB painting classes where Mom can paint her own Pittsburgh skyline, and LOTS more.

I mean, the Confluence necklace pictured up top of this post? Holy moly.

Check all the gift suggestions out here.

15. Finally, your amazing tweets:

 

 





Random n’at

1.Well Snowmaggedon 2012 has turned in LOLmaggedon and all the local weather people who told us to expect anywhere from 6 to 8 inches of snow are looking like the boy who cried wolf. But NO ONE cried wolf longer and louder than Fake Julie Bologna on Twitter:

My God, if SyFy doesn’t make a movie called River Tsunami soon, they have epically failed.

2. A local 16-year-old girl from Beaver is up for Black Enterprise Magazine‘s 2012 Teenpreneur Award for her business, Amber’s Amazing Animal Balloons, and check out her creations on her website and in this video:

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Did you see the parrot and the penguins?! Wow. Do you know what I can make with a balloon? A loud popping sound. It’s quite impressive. It’s less of a KA-POW and more of a ZA-BAM!

Vote for Amber here!

(h/t John)

3. If you haven’t seen this yet, a first-grader from Pittsburgh won a national penmanship award and the amazing thing is she was born with no hands.

My heart almost can’t stand it.

(h/t my Dad)

4. It is imperative that I get this on a shirt or in a cross-stitch pattern.  Or tattooed on my body.

(h/t Nancy)

5. If you’re looking for something to do this Saturday, the cool all-girl comedy variety act troupe Frankly Scarlett will be performing at the Cabaret!

The crazy part, without meaning to, half of their troupe has appeared in my Burghy Weddings series over at the mag! Robin Hitchcock is the bride that stopped at Fathead’s with her groom. And in this picture of Robin’s wedding, you can see other troupe members Abby Fudor and Liz Labacz. Then you’ve got Addi Twigg here.

They describe the show to me as this:

Lots of clever writing mixed with entirely goofy ideas. We have bits mocking the all-male subcommittee hearing on reproductive rights (all-female subcommittee hearing on male pattern baldness) …and we also do 90s rap and dance moves as Salt-N-Suga, a touring edutainment group. In addition to sketch and improv, we have local musician (and funny lady) Addi Twigg on stage the whole time as our ‘band’. She does hilarious and beautiful covers of songs, and sings between sketches to help give a cabaret feeling to the night.  And finally we do video (writing, editing, etc.) Sisters doin’ it for themselves!!

GIRL POWER!

More info here! Or on Facebook here.

6. My Dad sent me this and maybe some of you would enjoy it too. A look at Monroeville in the early 60s to 70s:

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Thrift Drugs and Victoria Station. Man, that is a blast from the past and I feel old and I’ve fallen but I’ll just stay down here and take a nap.

I wonder if my sisters remember going to Victoria Station to eat.

7. Light of Life Rescue mission asked me to take part in this little project for the upcoming Tunch and Wolf’s Walk for the Homeless. YOU try saying no to that. Luckily I’m only in it for a second or two.

It’s a great cause and I’m looking forward to visiting the place soon.

7. Sixteen things Calvin and Hobbes said better than anyone else.

Also, if I may add, “Oh, great altar of passive entertainment, bestow upon me thy discordant images at such a rate as to render linear thought impossible.”

I just typed that from memory, but I bet I’m not more than three words off.

Me is to Calvin and Hobbes as David Conrad is to Shakespeare. That’ll be on the SATs I bet.

(h/t Jonathan)

8. You. With the face. Tell me where I can buy these online:

Because I will rock that thing to the fullest.

(h/t Mikey)





Random n’at

1. Today I spent the morning at the Mario Lemieux Foundation helping prepare for Make Room for Kids install day at the cancer unit at Children’s Hospital which will take place this Thursday. I can’t wait to share with you everything we’re gifting those kids with thanks to you and the generous folks at the local Microsoft office.

2. An exclusive look at Hines Ward’s Atlanta mansion thanks to Bob Pompeani.

TWENTY-EIGHT FLAT SCREEN TVs IN ONE HOUSE?!

And I thought we were excessive for having three in ours. My God, I would be a terrible rich person.

Also, I can’t watch a Bob Pompeani video without immediately wanting to go watch him tear up a dance floor like nobody was watching.

3. Paul Van Osdol reports on the texting while driving ban and demonstrates how you too can fool the police.

“Instead of texting up here, people are texting down here” might be my favorite news reporter quote of the week.

4. Someone stole a rather large statue of Paul Bunyan … or a statue of an angry pilgrim who wishes to kill you good:

(Tribune Democrat)

They oughta sell that thing to the Scarehouse. They love evil dead-eyed shit like that.

5. And yet another hockey professional calls Sidney Crosby a diving whiner.

“It was whining,” Fraser said.  “Mike Richards was yelling at him at that instant, he said something to the effect of ‘it looks like a yard sale out here.’ He had gloves thrown all over the place, he was grabbing his face, taking dives. and then he would complain to the referee that he was fouled. I like tough hockey. It’s a man’s game. And I do provide for player safety. Once that line is crossed, I like to see guys respond when the bell rings. There were times when he was looking and going down easy. Which was designed to embarrass the referee and fool him into calling penalties. That wasn’t going to happen with me.”

Let’s call the wahmbulance for all these whiners whining about Sid’s “whining.”

6.  How slow of a news day does it have to be for KDKA to air a report that firemen in Westmoreland County saved some koi?

7. The second round of Burghy wedding pictures is up over at Pittsburgh Magazine, this one featuring Primanti’s, Kennywood, the incline and more!

Who knew you could rent an incline?!  I might rent one next week for the most intense ten minute rave ever.  $340 cover charge.

8. As you recall violent rhino sex is a real thing that resulted in the two rhinos at the zoo charging at each other and trying to do bodily harm to one another while attempting to procreate, which seems completely counterproductive, but to each his or her own violent copulation methods.

When Azizi met Jomo, the two locked horns.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s two black rhinos chased, roared, snorted and charged each other as part of the animals’ rowdy mating ritual that began in late 2009.

“It definitely wasn’t love at first sight,” said Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Highland Park zoo. “Rhino breeding is anything but romantic … They had an intense courtship that was quite aggressive.”

As a result, the pair’s first baby is expected in September, after a roughly 15-month gestation period. It would be the first rhino calf delivered at the zoo in 47 years.

You also recall that violent rhino sex is one of our blog fake band names. Here is their first album:

Songs on the CD include “Hateful Horn,” “Angry Orgy,” and “My Gestation Period is HOW FREAKING LONG?!”

That last one is a power ballad.





The Buccos killed a team

This is not a fake news story from BroCouncil.com, WPXI.

This is not the Onion.

These are not made-up words like “flossbobbin” or “hedgemony” or “lederhosen.”

This is real life:

The Pirates beat the Minnesota Twins 17-6 via a TEN-RUN FIRST INNING.

Words are not sufficient. We shall speak in Psych gifs.

I’d do the Dance of Joy if I wasn’t already wiped out from doing it for the weather forecast.