Saturday, December 12, 2009

Orangutans, Tigers and Bears--Oh My!

I would like to thank the Nightly News producers for Sunday's story about Nonja the orangutan who takes photos of her fellow orangs in a Vienna zoo. Naturally, this story also included video of Tai Shan the panda, Knut the polar bear and the elephant who paints self-portraits. I think the producers should submit this story to the Peabody Awards evaluation committee in the category of breaking news coverage. No wait--on second thought, I think they should submit Thursday's story about spiral lights and UFO's. Better yet, they should submit Thursday's story about Christmas albums. A third of that story was devoted to interviews and clips of Barry Manilow--who just happened to be appearing on The Jay Leno Show later that night. So that entire "news story" was constructed for the sole purpose of promoting Jay's show. Excellent! And in the Peabody category of ongoing coverage, I would suggest submitting Nightly News's continuing coverage of the Tiger Woods saga. Friday's Tiger installment featured commentary from Jeremy Blacklow from Nightly News already features regular reports from Access Hollywood's Maria Menounos, so Blacklow will fit right in with the Nightly News team.

It's a shame that the Nielsen Media editors did not learn any tricks from the Nightly News producers. On Friday, Brian Williams informed us that Nielsen will be closing two of its magazines, Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews, presumably because of inadequate ad revenue resulting from low circulation. When the Nightly News producers anticipate that one of their broadcasts will have lower-than-desired ratings, they submit it to Nielsen's television ratings service intentionally misspelled as "Nitely News". That way, the low-rated (misspelled) show is counted separately from the rest of the week's higher-rated (correctly spelled) "Nightly News" shows and doesn't bring down the weekly Nightly News rating. So if the Nightly News producers can manipulate their show's ratings, couldn't the Nielsen people figure out a way to manipulate the circulation figures for their magazines in order to keep ad rates high?

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