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Nov 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

ABC’s owned-and-operated stations in the three largest television markets captured the ratings crown for local election night coverage on Nov. 5. WABC-TV won the ratings race in New York with a 5.4 household rating, representing 394,000 homes, from 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. WNBC-TV, an NBC O&O, was a close second with a 5.2 rating and 380,000 homes, while CBS O&O WCBS-TV pulled up the rear with a 2.9 rating delivering 212,000 homes during the same time period.
In Los Angeles, KABC-TV garnered a 4.0 rating for its 11 p.m.-to-midnight coverage, while KNBC-TV secured a 3.7 and KCBS-TV a 3.0. In the 10 p.m. hour, Tribune-owned WB affiliate KTLA-TV captured the lead with a 5.9 rating, beating out network coverage and local coverage. The station’s partnership with corporate sibling the Los Angeles Times to include polls and political analysis from the newspaper was instrumental in the successful coverage, said Jeff Wald, KTLA’s news director.
In Chicago, WLS-TV led the night with a 12 rating, followed by NBC O&O WMAQ-TV with a 7.4 and CBS O&O WBBM-TV with a 2.8, according to WLS. Also in Chicago, Tribune’s WGN-TV was tops from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a 9.9 rating, beating network coverage from the Big 3 and local coverage from the Chicago Fox affiliate, according to WGN.
Group prepares journalists for Iraq war
The newly formed Military Reporters and Editors group will host its first conference, “Covering the Next War: Iraq,“ this week in Washington, Nov. 15 and 16. The group was formed in September and is made up primarily of print journalists, though the founders want to entice TV and radio reporters to join and attend the conference.
The event will include journalists who cover the military and Defense Department officials, said James Wright, president of the association and the assistant metro editor with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The conference will provide information on and address access to the military both here and abroad, and will brief reporters on how to cover a war in Iraq, Mr. Wright said.
Topics will include assessing the military situation in Iraq, lessons learned from past conflicts and special issues facing women correspondents. To register or for more information on MRE contact Sig Christenson, MRE’s treasurer and secretary, at the San Antonio Express-News, 210-250-3205 or sigc@express-news.net.
WFLD to explore gay-straight relations
WFLD-TV, the Fox-owned station in Chicago , is brewing up a classic Foxian sweeps event with its upcoming “Experiment: Gay and Straight,” planned for Nov. 17 to 21. The project is part reality show, part news. The experiment, executive produced and hosted by the station’s Mark Saxenmeyer, is WFLD’s “Real World”-esque attempt to install 10 people (five gay, five straight) in a house for a week and record their interactions in an effort to tackle sexuality issues in a novel way.
“I’m the first to say it’s a gimmick,” Mr. Saxenmeyer said. “It’s a gimmick to get people to see things they normally wouldn’t. It does not adhere to standard journalistic practice. It’s a feature story with a news point of view in a reality TV format.”
The station will air about eight minutes of coverage the first four nights and will conclude with a half-hour devoted to the theme on the 9 p.m. newscast Nov. 21. Mr. Saxenmeyer and fellow reporter Darlene Hill will introduce the segments, which will include reporter tracks, sound bites and interviews.
“It will be presented like a news report,” Mr. Saxenmeyer said. “We can do all the stories on gay rights, gay bashing, gay marriage, but it doesn’t personalize and bring home the issue.” Mr. Saxenmeyer also created the May 2001 precursor “Experiment: Black and White,” which addressed race relations and was a ratings bust but garnered an Emmy for community service this past summer.