Thursday, August 02, 2007

"Marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs." Peter Drucker

"But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition - and, therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives;" Joseph Conrad

"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal." T.S. Eliot



WCCO Radio News ace Jeff McKinney (pictured) did a simply incredible job covering the I-35W bridge collapse in downtown Minneapolis. 9 dead, 60 injured, 20 missing. Perhaps as many as 50 or 60 vehicles on the 40-year-old truss bridge when it collapsed. A tragedy. One bit of luck, summer construction work on the bridge had reduced traffic, in my understanding, to a couple of lanes in each direction. National desks were writing this as an "eight lane" bridge. True, however, not eight lanes working at the time of the collapse, or so I understand.

Local radio does wall-to-wall better than any other media. Local TV comes in second. The national cable newsers chased this fly over land story using readers and local video. WCCO radio provided outstanding, unmatched coverage.

Listening in to 830 at midnight this morning, heard Jeff lead off the hour joined by WCCO's Dark Star, Mike Max, and John Wanamaker. Coverage was strong and included Minneapolis mayor Rybak. Later in the hour, WCCO newser Cory Kampschroer brought on Hennepin county sheriff Rich Stanek from the field. Mike did a good job playing in callers. Overnight personality Al Malmberg joined in after the 1am news. Cory continued to provide reports from the field. Breaking news done right. Sorry, not able to name the producers and other off-air staff on the story but they too deserve high praise for a job well done. Kudos to Wendy Paulson and her team on a great performance. Les and Dan should be proud, this is radio making a difference - live, local, relevant, interactive, engaging, up-to-the-minute.

Closed circuit to web producers: To create context use a map. None of the broadcast media made use of maps to frame the story; maps are needed to put perspective, a richer understanding into the story. Kudos to the web producers at the Strib for using a map and also making use of an archive image (bridge construction photo from the 1960s).

Thank you very much: In comments Matt Wells provides a needed assist...

"I was listening at roughly the same time you were, and Dark Star did roll credits a little before 1am. Producers included Steve Enk and Jimmy Erickson, technical producers Dan Cook and Craig "the Hammer" Schrempf, and PD Wendy Paulson was acknowledged to be on site. Other reporters include Roshini Rajkumar and Adam Carter. We're still in shock here in the Twin Cities, but boy are we proud of our first responders."

Thanks Matt. Appreciate the help in getting the complete propers into this post.

LATER: Programming ace Tom Teuber weighs in...

"You beat me to it, calling out WCCO for their terrific work last night.

After more than an hour of watching the cable news
shops, endlessly looping their 3-hour old video,
trotting out experts, mostly on the East coast, to
speculate, speculate, speculate and doing ZERO
enterprise reporting, I switched on WCCO and learned
more about this evolving story in five minutes than I
had in the previous hour of TV watching.

I, too, heard Dark Star's conversation with the mayor.
Powerful stuff. (BTW, at 5am, I switched on CNN and
someone had already sent them surveillance video of
the actual collapse.)

Special mention to ex-Badger John Wanamaker, whose
first report from the scene was on the air within 10
minutes, and who was still on the air when I drifted
off to sleep sometime after midnight. We worked
together when he was at WOLX; he later moved over to
WPR.

The term 'team coverage' has become a cliche, but WCCO
delivered last night. "

Thanks Tom!

Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in the cities.

P.S. Dark Star may have made news after midnight. During the interview with mayor Rybak, Dark asked if there was video of the collapse and the mayor confirmed, yes, the city emergency team did have video of the collapse. Later: Dark, deftly, reduced the story to two words: what happened?

P.P.S. Either the sales team has failed to sell a breaking news sponsorship or I missed it. Please, tell me I missed it. Finally, the WCCO radio website needs serious attention.

2 comments:

fasolamatt said...

I was listening at roughly the same time you were, and Dark Star did roll credits a little before 1am. Producers included Steve Enk and Jimmy Erickson, technical producers Dan Cook and Craig "the Hammer" Schrempf, and PD Wendy Paulson was acknowledged to be on site. Other reporters include Roshini Rajkumar and Adam Carter. We're still in shock here in the Twin Cities, but boy are we proud of our first responders.

Matt Wells, St. Paul MN

dave said...

From email:

"David, as a TV news professional in the cities let me commend you on the well deserved praise you have given to WCCO radio. It was their story from the first minute. The great luxury of radio is time, they had the advantages of working the story, developing the story, in real time. For certain this was a visual story, that is, a good TV story but chasing the details proved too big a challenge for our staff. The facts be said, TV is staffed not for breaking or developing but for reporting the news that has already happened. Cities TV does a good job of telling you what happened but not such a good job of telling you what is happening. Welcome to the world of corporate TV in the 21st century. Cheers on a blog well done in a world of horribly iffy blogging."

(Name reserved by request)