Local News: Stop Scaring Me Into Watching.

I am a tough cookie for the most part.

I do not accept bullshit from anyone, and will call people out on it when necessary.

I speak my mind and stand up for myself when I need to. 
I can hold my own with the guys — talking beer, football, the latest Playboy centerfold, etc until the cows come home. 
But my kryptonite = violence.
I can’t watch scary movies or shows with a plot involving the death, kidnapping, abuse etc of a child especially. I get sucked in and put myself into the situation. I take the “fake” stories way too seriously. 
So when a local news station is constantly teasing stories throughout the day with 5 second teasers like “4 month old baby found in a dumpster. Story at 11.” or “Mom found strangled. Kids alone. Is the husband to blame? Story at 11.” I’ve even heard “13 year-old raped and left for dead. Story at 11p.” 
Cheese & rice, people. I have a hard enough time typing these local news teasers out. How can you sit there, camera-ready in your suit & make-up and report such God-awful stories? Not only that, but to PROMOTE them during what used to be considered the “family hour” of television. Look, I’m no prude, I love watching some pretty intense shows like Breaking Bad and my kids are like Gremlins  if they watch TV after 6p… so that’s usually our tv cut-off time. 
But this time of year is different.
For example, when my family snuggled up to watch Frosty the Snowman between 8-8:30p recently, one of these scary local news teasers hit. Yes, we can DVR and fast-forward through such bullshit. But  #1, we don’t have a DVR in our bedroom, where my family enjoys snuggling up to watch these holiday specials. B) These local news teasers tend to occur *just* before the show returns from commercials. Meaning — even if we did DVR these specials and had the ability to skip commercials, when we hit play, there is a good probability we’ll hear a potentially scary 5-second blurb. 
Dear Local News stations: 
STOP SCARING ME INTO WATCHING YOU! 
Because these little teasers DO NOT make me want to tune in to watch you AT.ALL. If you do promote a story that scares me enough to want to learn more, I will probably look it up on the net. 
I live in the 2nd biggest city in Michigan, I know that crime will happen. 
But you know what else happens in this town? Good things. Stories that go unreported because certain people consider these stories to be “fluff”. Local news stations worry about ratings, and I’m sure with everything appearing practically instantly online these days, they should be worried.
I personally believe that scaring people into watching is a terrible tactic. 
There are local news stations that get it right… and have even expanded to hour-long local shows to showcase what would be considered “fluff”. Like… a new brewery opening today, for example. A lot of people are actually interested in hearing the great things happening in our town. Grand Rapids is Beer City, USA after all — bring us more fun beer news! The MI Winter Beer Fest sold out in 13 hours — record time — on Saturday. Did local news stations report it? Not in the teasers, but maybe just before sports at 11:20p. What about stories regarding people practicing random acts of kindness? There’s so many charities in need this time of year… how about reporting more on that? I’d take “What local charity needs your donations the most? Story at 11p.” over the scary teasers any day. I might actually – get this – tune in – for news like that. 
There is one local news station I will watch first thing in the morning as I get ready for the day. I can take the local highlights about the latest bar-fight on Division as I wake up. But the 11p broadcast? No thanks. I’ll stick to Jon Stewart, Conan & Letterman before I go to bed instead of worrying about the kidnapper & rapist lurking around the corner. 
How are the local news stations in your area? Do you get hit with 5 second teasers to scare you into watching? How do you deal with the questions your kids ask if they hear these scary blurbs?

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6 Comments

  1. Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I can’t stand watching.

    I usually see the teasers at the very end of a show , right before the dvr stops recording. And then I start wondering if that was today or from another day and if I need to go see what they are talking about.

    • Posted December 13, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      I HATE that!! I do the same thing! I love my DVR, but when I have to do the math to figure out if the news blurb is relevant or not… it just adds another level of frustration.

  2. Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I watch the local GR news and my husband and I had this same discussion last week. I mostly just watch in the morning now.

    • Posted December 13, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      It is really bad on one particular station, but all of them have their moments. The morning IS more tolerable though.

  3. Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    We don’t have a DVR anywhere, so my kids see this nonsense when we’re watching shows at night too. It’s ridiculous; and totally not compelling. I went to a family Christmas on the East Side of the state this weekend and ALL we talked about was the new brewery opening; not this big scary place I live in with so much crime and so many horrible people. As always – you are RIGHT ON!

    • Posted December 13, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Jen… how HOW do you live without a DVR?! HA!! Glad to hear I’m not alone in my feelings… also happy to hear that the conversations weren’t negative, and focused on the awesome things going on in GR. That’s my experience too. It’s almost like the local news is scaring more people AWAY instead of inviting them to watch.

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