The news is the news is the news

A lot of people just seem to be noticing that TV news and weather people sometimes look like dopes when they stand out in the middle of a Category 4 (or 3,2,1)hurricane and do a stand-up. My guess is some may see doing such a stunt as a talisman that will somehow bring luck to the news person just as standing out in Hurricane Carla did to Dan Rather more than 40 years ago. That and sometimes the newscasters standing out in the middle of the hurricane are just dopes.

That said, I think it can be instructive by showing how hard it is to stand up against the wind’s fury. I don’t know how many of us can estimate wind speed by looking at trees. You can in a rule-of-thumb sort of way. But I believe all bets are off after the wind speed passes 100 or so, much less 130 mph, like with Hurricane Katrina.

I read a blog last night in which some guy left a comment about the news people out in the storm for stand-ups that just really ticked me off. He said: “Most news reporters are bottom feeders.” I fired him back an e-mail message that said, basically, okay, where are you going to get your news? From bloggers? That’s good, except the majority of blogs today are not doing original news reporting. Or so I would guess. I don’t know, I think the guy is a real ass**** to make such a blanket statement. Of course, I was a reporter until recently. I will be on and off as a freelancer as well. I also have good friends who are reporters.

I pointed out that there are government people who are also bottom feeders, and cops, firemen, carpenters, attorneys, preachers, just pick a profession and you will find a bottom feeder. But reporters — from TV and radio and newspapers — are out there in what was and what is still a dangerous area along the coast where one of the country’s most catastrophic natural disasters has just taken place. So say what you will, they are doing a job and, for the most part, a damn good one.

The hurricane stand-up has just been done to death, however.

And what is Leeza Gibbons doing on my blog? Funny you should ask.

Today I was at the Tyrrell Historical Library in downtown Beaumont, Texas, doing some research for a story I have pitched to a magazine. On display were photos and other artifacts to celebrate the 50th anniversary this year of local KFDM-TV Channel 6. That’s right Channel 6 and I grew up together and we both turn 50 this year.

Growing up in the sticks about 60 miles from Beaumont, Channel 6 was only one of two or three local TV stations we could get. No cable existed in those parts back then. Yeah, and I used to have to walk three or four … blocks to school.

Various distinguished news alumni were featured in the display’s photographs including Leeza Gibbons, who hosted a local TV newsmagazine on Channel 6 back in the 70s. I’m not totally sure what she is doing now, but if you have the patience to read her Web site, then perhaps you may find out.

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