Creative Writing and Video That Leaves an Impression

I like a clever play on words.  Some consultants say those who write for TV can be too clever.  Perhaps these are the same people who suggest that those who write for TV write to a grade school level.  I don’t care what those people say, I like writing that makes me think about the reference and makes me think in general.  In other words, I don’t like to be spoon-fed gruel.  I want to bite into the meat of the story and know that I have.  But I digress.   I was watching MSNBC’s Countdown and they were covering (gasp, surprise!!!!) the slugfest between Clinton and Obama and how they are beating each other up.  No surprise really in the coverage.  It was what you would expect.  But the slug at the bottom of the screen was titled “Electile Dysfunction”.  When the story focused on how the infighting by Democrats were helping the Republican candidate, the slug was “McCain Enable”.  Some might think those slugs are juvenile.  As my good friend and former co-worker Robert Laney used to say, “That’s your opinion and you’re wrong. ”  IMHO it is something different and helps set this newscast apart from the other same old, same old.  I challenge anyone in news to be that clever or at least try to.  I do remember something that weatherman Austen Onek from WREG came up with in the early days of that station’s attempts to have a web site.  A-O set up a shot of the News Channel 3 Outdoors crew on the webpage and had the caption “Boyz in the Woodz”.   It lasted until management finally got around the reading the page which meant it was on the internet for several months.

We’ve all seen video on newscasts that’s etched into our memories.  The space shuttle disasters, the attacks of 9-11.  Those are the serious videos.  Then there are those where a shooter happens to be in the right place at the right time to capture some really good video.  The recent shenanigans of the Mayor of Memphis and his desire to return to the city school system as superintendent reminded me of a scandal hizzoner faced while still with the schools.  It seems that an employee filed some sort of legal action against W.W.  That person’s name  (forgive my spelling here ) was something like Mahnaz Barmand.  I think she alleged some kind of sexual liason with Herenton.  If I remember correctly all the stations were on time except for WREG for this news conference where she and her lawyers were going to lay out the case.   I think the shooter for WREG was S-S and he got there late.  But that was okay because he got video of Ms. Barmand walking and man, what a walk she had.  That woman could walk down the center of a school hallway and knock the dust off lockers on both sides with her swing.  WREG ran that video EVERYTIME the story was in the news and the video was so strong that I think her lawyers complained, wanting to know if WREG had to show THAT video so much.  I think the matter was finally settled out of court and WW went on to run for mayor.   The bottom line on video:  You don’t always have to be first to get great video but you do always have to be ready.

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2 Comments on “Creative Writing and Video That Leaves an Impression”

  1. Paul Says:

    Joe…

    I was wondering when SOMEONE would remember that story. It was one of the first “sex for jobs” scandals out WAY before cable news. With everyone’s lust for the taudry story line, I thought that would have been the FIRST story that was revived with Herenton’s latest soap opera. I know there are at least a few reporters in Memphis that were there for the MB saga. I’m surprised that the producers haven’t dug THAT dirt back up yet.

  2. Doug J. Says:

    One of the first things that greeted me on my initial arrival to Memphis was the heat… right after that was the infamous video of Ms. Bahrmand. I’m certain she is a nice person and a fine teacher, but concentration would have been difficult in her classroom.


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