Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Stepfather and the Gov

On Thursday's Nightly News story about Jaycee Dugard, her stepfather Carl Probyn was described in an on-screen graphic as "Stepfather of Jaycee Dugard". On the following night's broadcast, he was described as "Jaycee's Step-Father". Why did the Nightly News producers suddenly change their description of Probyn? Is Friday's description measurably better than Thursday's? Pick one description and go with it. And is he Jaycee's Stepfather or Step-Father? I guess it depends what day of the week it is. Maybe next week he'll be her Step Father. Do the Nightly News producers actually pay any attention to what they put up on the screen?

Also on Thursday's broadcast we saw a 10-second clip of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick stating that he should have the authority to pick Ted Kennedy's successor. But Gov. Patrick was never identified, either by Kelly O'Donnell or by an on-screen graphic. Do the producers just assume that every viewer can recognize Gov. Patrick? Do they assume we can recognize the governor of every state? So the stepfather gets two different descriptions and the governor gets none? I'd like to hear the logic behind that decision.

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