Is There Anything More Cringe-Inducing Than Local News Stories About the Internet?

God almighty: 

"Some may find the details of this disturbing," said Elaine Quijano on "CBS This Morning." "Ghoulish stabbing raises question: Who Is Slenderman?" asked CNN.com which calls him "the Internet's own monster, a ghoul who lurks in its darkest corners" and "a menacing, faceless specter in a dark suit — sometimes portrayed with octopus-like tentacles."

The sensational crime, which actually pre-empted weather as the lead story on local stations, made the once cautionary disclaimer, "It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?" seem quaint, even naive.

Anchors, producers and reporters hauled out the sober hyperbole. WITI-TV (Channel 6) used eerie, music-like sound effects. The victim was "a millimeter away from certain death," said co-anchor Mary Stoker Smith. Her co-anchor, Ted Perry, called the crime "the shock rippling through Waukesha." Earlier on "Studio A" on WITI, he said the story will "chill you to the bone." But he probably wished he could take back speculation about whether Slender Man "really exists or not, I'm not sure at this point."

The crime was "graphic, disturbing and hard to believe," said Meekins, as a WTMJ onscreen headline screamed "Slumber Party Stabbing" and later "Plot to Kill." Reporter Jermont Terry practically leaped off the screen describing the crime and sat on a bicycle while reporting that the victim was discovered by a bicyclist. WISN reporter Christina Palladino prefaced her report by noting "the people I talked to literally have no words" and then interviewed people who used words to speak on camera.

It always amazes me that media company execs bemoan the lack of youth appeal in their products, when ten seconds of watching any kind of report on anything online at all would make anybody with a fraction of familiarity with the Internet double over in embarrassment. TV reporters who I dearly hope USE the Internet on a daily basis report on it like it's a foreign land and the customs are strange to us all. 

A. 

One thought on “Is There Anything More Cringe-Inducing Than Local News Stories About the Internet?

  1. maplestreet says:

    And don’t forget the anchorman/anchorwoman who stands in front of a bunch of pipes to explain how the internet works !
    Agree with your points, but also wonder if a lot is the push to simultaneously 1) make a statement so flashy that everyone will stay tuned for more info / read more rather than clicking on the next link and 2) get the message across that your news team is the most up-to-date, on-the-spot, there-for-you team ever known in the history of the world.
    Shifting away from the Internet, for the last week or so, The Weather Channel has been running specials hailing the beginning of hurricane season. Having lived on the coast I’d have to agree that now might be a good time and make sure everything is in place. But I’m doubled over in laughing tears at how their announcer keeps making grandiose pronouncements that they are there for me. They and only they (no help of NOAA I’m sure) have the latest and most accurate information that I need to protect myself. etc.

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