Saturday, February 6, 2010

Local News is Local News is Local News

Under the barrage of heavy, wet snow and near constant news coverage of the "Super Storm 2010," I have some observations about local news affiliates. In brief, I observe that local news somewhere is local news everywhere. Moving from WLFI (Lafayette) to WUSA (D.C.) was not a huge transition. The toys are better, there is slightly less screen-awkwardness, but the heart and the approach is the same.

There is, in general, a strange and incongruous mix of helpful and detailed information (the stuff national news can't or won't cover) and then huge helpings of the inane and goofy. Want to know how the roads are, what the snow is like to drive on, the emergency numbers for various utilities, warnings about snow emergency routes, warnings to stay off the roads for the benefit of snow plow drivers and power company trucks, and a good sense of how neighbors are handling and responding to the storm, I find the local news comforting and informative and intimate. The woman on the t.v. knows where I live.

And then, of course, there are the goofy graphics, the on the scene reporter using a plastic toy car to describe road conditions, another reporting banging his ice scraper with his snow shovel to show how thick the ice is, that other reporter wearing the ski goggles for some reason, and that other one driving around with a web cam attached to his dashboard streaming back piss-poor video via Skype. There is also that super cute reporter jetting around Dupont Circle on snow skies getting super excited about seeing another guy on skies and then complimenting him on his nice skies.

Of course, as I write this second list, I really start to like even these things, and I am pretty sure that they contribute as much to my liking the local news as the rest. I guess, to borrow from Garrison Keillor's treatment of State Fairs, I like liking it despite itself and, importantly, despite myself.

I do live here. I am no better or worse than here and those around me. This is something it is, perhaps, good to believe every now and then, and the local news, wherever it is, does this act of believing for me. Let it do the same for you.

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