Behind The Scenes @ FOX19 News

Steven Ackermann, News Director
Steven Ackermann, News Director
Forgive the absences of the past few weeks.  Between some business travel and the voting in Ohio, I just fell a little behind.
OK, IT WASN'T JUST ONE SNOWFLAKE--I am reminded of a line from a senior producer back in my producing days.  I was pitching the national assignment desk on a story about a 10-inch Midwest snow storm. The senior producer-a veteran of Missouri winters-tartly declined the story saying, "it's winter in the Midwest-it snows!" My story didn't make the show.
It was a little more snow than we are used to, but I still take issue with the National Weather Service putting out a BLIZZARD warning.  You read that correctly, we were under a BLIZZARD warning Friday afternoon and overnight.  I understand that it was a dangerous situation.  I understand that it was important to keep people off the roads, but a BLIZZARD warning?

So, I looked it up:  The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (they know something about blizzards in South Dakota) officially defines a blizzard as a "period of sustained winds exceeding 35 MPH combined with considerable falling or blowing snow."

So, I guess it was a blizzard.
PRECISE LANGUAGE--At least one viewer took issue with Sara's live report on Saturday night. In a wonderful illustration of just how much snow had to be moved, Sara was perched atop a pile of snow in the parking lot of Rookwood Commons.  Sara referred to the giant "snowdrift" created as crews cleared the lot. 
To the viewer, one point for precision.  Webster's defines a "snowdrift" as "mound driven by the wind." 
It was a snow pile, a snow mound, perhaps even a snow bank, but not a snowdrift.
GOOD NEWS--A couple of weeks ago, I referred to an email from a an 8th grader commenting on  the bad news that we report.  I wanted to make sure I had his permission to use some of his note: "I was watching the news a couple days ago and the words I heard the most were murder, death, and rape. It's just so upsetting to me to hear these stories. . .It irritates me that people want to hear all this bad news."  He went on to write,  "I will tell you that every time I hear a good story about someone surviving some deadly sickness or something like that, my face lights up and I can feel happy through out the day. It also wants me to keep watching for some good news."
Jake, keep on watching.  There is a lot of good news out there.   We can't ignore the bad things, but I think it is good news that we are having a national election with plenty of candidates are on the ballot.  Even in the darkest moments of our political system, we're a nation of ideas.   It is good news when we can report that our doctors and scientists are making great discoveries that will mean someone will be cured or will suffer a little less.
PERFECT NORTH--When a friend--an avid ski enthusiast--mentioned that he worked on the Ski Patrol at Perfect North, I asked him how the place came to be.  After all, you don't normally think of Indiana as ski country!
One of the little sayings in our business is that news is what happens on your way to work. Or, on your News Director's way to work.

If you don't know the story of Perfect North, take a quick look at Jack Atherton's Success Story from last Thursday.

What's on your mind this week?  Click here to drop me a line.   And, as always, thanks for taking the time to read along.