Friday, February 03, 2006

RANT: "19 Tabloid News" Is At It Again

OMW's been sitting on this one since first seeing the story on WOIO/19's 11 PM edition of "19 Action News" on Thursday night, but we can no longer hold back.

In its typical, breathless style, the local CBS affiliate led its newscast with an "exclusive" story. Cue the live shot camera, and it's veteran reporter Paul Orlousky out front of...the South Marginal Road studios of competitor WJW "FOX 8".

As it turns out, the story involves allegations against a male now-former WJW newsroom employee by a teenage female intern, involving an alleged incident in a station conference room. The live shot by Orlousky on Thursday night looked almost secretive, as if he sprung out of the van moments before, across the street from the TV station.

We'll leave it to "19 News" to report the details we're not mentioning. And if what's alleged turns out to be true, we certainly have sympathy for the young woman involved. But...WOIO is using her like nobody's business.

Fast forward to today, and the "TV Intern" story still leads the "Action News" agenda. Today, the station uncovers new details about the ex-WJW employee's behavior after he was reportedly suspended and fired from his FOX 8 newsroom job...after the allegations came out.

WOIO has also made a big deal of their "exclusive" story, and has said more than once that it's a story you WON'T see, well, on FOX 8.

Let's stop and wonder for a bit. Would the story be leading every "19 Action News" cast for nearly a full day if the newsroom intern was, say, an employee of Raycom Media, owners of WOIO/WUAB? Would the station be breathlessly reporting every little detail if it was one of their OWN newsroom employees in legal hot water? Of course not. Would they mention it even as an aside? That, we don't know, but it would not dominate their newscasts like this story has...we'd bet our soon-to-be-on-the-market house on it.

At times, WOIO has almost acted like a stalker towards its FOX O&O competitor. We're reminded of the station's "breaking" the story of WJW veteran anchor Tim Taylor's retirement during a mention on the "Buzz" gossip segment. Then, in last night's story, they reenacted (!!!) the alleged incident, and showed the intern in shadow with the caption "Cleveland's Own Victim", a play on WJW's on-air slogan. WOIO is obviously a scrappy, competitive station, but their sights seem set primarily on FOX 8.'s not a pretty situation. If the allegations are true, untrue or otherwise, it's a sad story affecting a number of people's personal lives. But leave it to "19 Tabloid News" go slithering into the mud, belly first.


Anonymous said...

Desperate fourth place TV stations do desperate things. It's really sad, but typical for that group of losers. I really have to think that there are some honest journalists in there who are just waiting for a chance to go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Get a grip. I'm glad 19 aired the story, and if that guy did what he did, I'm glad he lost his job. What a sick jerk.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Whoever left the last comment: You're missing the point we were trying to make.

The point isn't the story. The point is "19 Action News" grabbed onto it like a hungry dog who'd been staring at an empty bowl for days, and they only leaped onto it because it involved their most hated competitor.

As mentioned, I feel bad about whatever happened to this young woman, if indeed it was as described. If it was, the guy deserved to be fired and whatever happened to him. The point's not about the story, it's about a tabloid TV station diving into the mud because they can gleefully make their competitor look bad for a couple of days.

THAT point was proven by their "next day follow up" leading the newscast.

One other thing we did not note: it's somewhat likely WJW did not air any story about it - aside from the fact that it's internal "dirty laundry" - because their legal counsel advised them not to do so.

And if something like this did happen at Reserve Square, you can bet THEIR lawyers would advise them to sit on it as well.


Anonymous said...

Where did you get the idea that Fox 8 was 19's most hated compeditor? 8 has been in last place for years. 19 was only 4/10's of a point out of 1st place in the last book. What sense does it make to beat up on the weakest guy. If this was the case they would have gone after WKYC who was in first place. Working for action news I can say that Fox 8 is a non issue. They have sucked for years. Even Goddard has lost his edge. The staff has been doing everything they can to get him to retire including making him look bad on the air.

Some people believe because they're in the media that they are above the law. Although I have not agreed with all of our stories, I give our news department credit for having the balls to run this story even if it bites us in the ass someday. We reported this story because it was the right thing to do not because of the reprocussions. Remember, No one went after the Mayor for years and the office got away with all sorts of stuff. 19 Action News was the ONLY news station to hold the Mayor accountable for her actions. That is what local news should be about. BTW... When it comes to reporters, Orlousky is one of the industries best.

Ohio Media Watch said...

To our anonymous "19 Action News" employee...thanks for showing up, and thanks for confirming that at least one person at Reserve Square reads the MBoF(tm).

As far as 19's "thing" about FOX 8... I have no idea. You ask your bosses! It's not the first time 19's had WJW in its competitive sights, as I noted in the original item. One reason, perhaps, is because FOX 8 is indeed not as strong as it used to be...and WOIO senses the ability to make some hay over that, to build their own on-air image.

As far as the story itself goes, I stand by the original item. Your station latched onto this story like a leech, because it's sensational, tabloid-y and because it affects a competing station. Nothing more. I can even GIVE you doing the original story, but the 2-day folo was overkill. (Wasn't WOIO the same station which sent a reporter to Dick Goddard's home, to embarrass him after his wife had been charged with abusing him? Yet another WJW thing with you guys...)

Look, I have said before I don't hate everything you guys do down there at Reserve Square. I even like Paul Orlousky, though I think he's kind of fallen into the mud over there from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget we are in the February book. Things are always more sensational in television news when we're in ratings.

Anonymous said...

I have to enjoy the irony of reading someone from 19 Action News writing about how another newscast sucks. 19 Action News' ratings speak nothing of the quality of the content, but rather the quality (or lack thereof) of the viewers.

My congratulations on being the "Triv" of Cleveland television news.

Anyways... should we expect two-day coverage of every workplace sexual miscondunct investigation that takes place in Cleveland, or just when it is an opportunity to kick your competition in the balls?

Yeah, that's what I thought - and that's the crux of the issue which the 19 Action News defenders here have carefully avoided touching on.


Anonymous said...

Truth is a bottle by which we all sup