My wife was interviewed for a news story a few weeks ago on air pollution in the greater Springfield area. She was walking through a neighborhood near Forest Park and the reporter begged her to stop and talk. She was interviewed for 10 minutes on camera and about 15 seconds made it on-air; the reporter was obviously looking for her to say one or two of a small set of things which could neatly fit into the news package she was going to create. Once she got them she could go back to the studio and edit in order to put together the pieces she had accumulated.
It was idiotic, of course, to ask my wife her opinion about the state of air pollution in the region when it was the reporter who had the scientific data:
-Scientists say 2 + 2 = 4. But what do you think?
-I don’t see it that way, definitely 5, I mean, look around, 5…ya know.
They did this on a story a few years ago regarding religiosity; a survey showed this region as among the least religious in the country. (Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!) In response a reporter asked people coming out of churches on Sunday if they agreed. They didn’t. In their experience the region was very religious, I mean, look at all those people walking out of that church!
Fast forward to yesterday when some dude apparently stabbed a 76 year old woman to death in an apartment in Plymouth. Yes, that Plymouth. The one with the rock and all. It’s an hour and a half east of here at least. The police identified a subject and, later the next day, his car was found parked by a well-known bridge close to his home town of Montague, around 45 minutes north of here.
The reporter had obviously done a lot of work putting together a story with clips from a sister station near Plymouth, on-location shots from the bridge, and interviews with people in the town where the manhunt for the alleged murderer is still taking place despite suspicion that he may have jumped from the bridge to commit suicide. So, what does the reporter choose as the closer for this story about a murder committed in Plymouth and the manhunt playing out in Gill?
Like we do. It’s always “stabby, stabby, kill, kill” ’round here. If a 76 year old lady moves in next door I just assume I’m supposed to kill her if no one else has done it in a few days. And runaway murderers? Don’t ask, you can’t swing a dead 76 year old woman without hitting one! On the other hand I remember that one time there was a report of bestiality in Springfield and the reporter asked someone around here about it and I remember the interviewee saying “well, you expect that sort of thing in Gill or Montague, but not around here…we have sex with people.”
Again, I’m sure the reporter had 20 minutes of footage from various people, and he was looking for the “it’s a quiet little town…how shocking that something is happening here” quote. The totally gratuitous Springfield reference was just a cherry on top. Next time, though, maybe just leave us out of it.
(Where I was in Springfield last night…though the photo is from a concert from last season)