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Editorial: High-Flying Heroics, ‘Law’ Builds Library

Oct 28, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Kudos to the men and women who covered the wildfires in Southern California last week, especially the pilots of the helicopters.
This past summer we reached a tragic nadir of local TV news coverage, as helicopters covering a car chase in Phoenix for two TV stations collided, killing all four who were aboard.
The copters were following the police chase of a man who had stolen a car and then hijacked a truck. In addition to the two helicopters that collided, helicopters from three other TV stations were covering the car chase.
We would argue that 99.9 percent of car chases are not news and are not worth the seemingly endless coverage TV stations give them.
The wildfires in Southern California last week, however, were major news, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. And the brave work of the pilots working for the TV stations covering the fires provided a real public service.
For example, chief pilot-reporter Larry Welk and his team at KCAL-TV in Los Angeles—which regularly programs all news during prime time—provided exemplary coverage. As a new fire in the Agua Dulce area of northern Los Angeles County broke out, a KCAL chopper, braving the high winds and blinding smoke, brought the full force of the tragedy into our living rooms, as we watched the fire quickly attacking homes, barns and animal-filled corrals long before any firefighters were able to arrive.
It was compelling firsthand TV journalism of consequence.
‘Law’ Builds Library
A good rip-roarin’ scripted TV show entertains us and, if we’re lucky, resonates with either a message or poignancy for a few hours. But it’s rare for one to actually inspire us to do good.
So let’s salute Rene Balcer, showrunner, executive producer and oft-times writer of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” who has come up with a clever way to do just that.
In last season’s final episode, Detective Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) lost his on-screen mom, librarian Frances (Rita Moreno).
As Mr. Balcer wrote recently on a message board on the show’s Web site, “Long story short, since Frances Goren was a librarian, I thought it might be cool and useful for the ‘LOCI’ community to raise funds to build a Room to Read library. [Room to Read builds these in developing countries in Asia and Africa.] Once built, Room to Read will put a dedication plaque on the library in honor of Frances Goren from fans of ‘LOCI’ or from Bobby Goren. The wording would be up to the fans.” Mr. Balcer will match contributions made to the fund for the library up to a certain limit.
We commend Mr. Balcer for this idea and urge wide participation in this worthy project. To learn how to contribute to it, go to http://boards.nbc.com/nbc/index.php?showtopic=771305.

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