A lot of things you see on local TV news are somehow driven by a consultant's recommendation, or some sort of concerted effort by management to tweak the station's image, or correct perceived problems with the station.
You should keep that in mind when watching WEWS/5's newscasts today.
OMW hears that today, Thursday, has been proclaimed "No Officials Day" in the newsroom at "NewsChannel 5".
What does that mean?
Our sources tell us that news staffers at 3001 Euclid have been told not to use any on-camera soundbites today from officials - i.e. police and fire spokespeople, political officials and the like.
The goal is to force the news folks to "be creative", we're told, and use "real people" for news soundbites...instead of a police official or spokesman using "cop talk" ("the altercation occurred on the 2300 block of Main Street", etc.).
We assume the "no officials" policy would be broken if there was no choice. But what about the long-running series out of reporter Tracy Carloss' "exclusive" one-on-one with Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson? Does that take the day off today?
The goal, presumably, would fit with NewsChannel 5's ongoing "on your side" slogan... making the newscast more "human"... giving sort of a "real people" feel to it.
But sometimes, you have to talk to officials. Sometimes, they are needed to flesh out the story. And sometimes, frankly, "real people" are not the best, most articulate people to put on camera.
We're reminded of an event we read about in another market. A local forum there grilled news directors of the various TV stations, and one of those news directors was talking about the station's political coverage.
He said their long-respected political reporter was wasting his time if he didn't go out of the two blocks around their major government area and "put a face" to stories based on legislative or council action.
We can understand that. Political minutiae glazes over the eyes of the audience, and you can only say "ordinance 1234" or "House Bill 50" so often, and finding how the bill will affect people is a laudable effort.
But even WEWS realizes that you can't embargo "officials" for a long period of time, we suppose.
For example, during the station's week-plus-long "Campin' With The Browns" segment at the local NFL team's training camp in Berea - are team general manager Phil Savage and head coach Romeo Crennel off-limits on "No Officials Day"?
Things that make you go "hmmm"...