The Omaha World-Herald recently followed up on a two cases that were investigated by grand juries, revealing new details about the incidents using public information laws to obtain information that was previously withheld.
In a story in Saturday's editions, reporter Lynn Safranek outlined the emergency response to a shooting that killed a woman and her two sons in January. Jaime Lee spent nearly a half-hour on the phone with 911 dispatchers while police determined a way to approach the home where 62-year-old Richard Wilkinson had shot Darrell "Jason" Lee, his wife, Jaime and her two young sons.
Wilkinson fatally shot himself as Omaha police entered the house. Last week, a grand jury cleared police of any wrongdoing in the incident.
A story by Jason Kuiper in Monday's editions uses calls to 911 to paint a picture of the events leading up to the officer-involved shooting of Robert Ventry on Feb. 7.
Ventry was under the influence of several narcotics as he broke into a number of homes that night and assaulted several people. A grand jury last week determined that there was no wrongdoing by Omaha police officers who shot and killed him.
In Kuiper's story, the fourth caller to 911 said a man had come into his house and torn the place up.
"The caller was breathless, saying he needed help. He said he was hit in the head with a pan and pleaded for authorities to hurry. 'Please come quick because I don't know what's going to happen,'" the story said.
Monday, April 30, 2007
The Omaha World-Herald recently followed up on a two cases that were investigated by grand juries, revealing new details about the incidents using public information laws to obtain information that was previously withheld.
Friday, April 27, 2007
[Updated April 29th]
The 50th edition of the Omaha Press Club's annual show will be shown on Cox Channel 2 Sunday at 6 p.m.
Approximately 800 people attended the gala April 21 at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. More than $50,000 was raised for Omaha Press Club Foundation scholarships.
Cox Digital Cable customers can view the show free of charge in the local programming category of On-Demand.
Posted by Sean Weide at 1:49 PM
A second reading of a city ordinance that would reduce the number of public access channels on Cox Communications’ system is scheduled for Tuesday’s Omaha City Council Meeting.
Item No. 61 on the agenda calls for a reduction in the number of cable television channels (from six to three) that are dedicated to public, educational, and governmental programming, as well as to provide for improvements and enhancements to the cable television system.
The changes drew a large crowd – many in opposition of the proposed ordinance - when the Cable Television Advisory Committee took up the matter in February. The committee did not take any action or make any recommendations.
Cox Communications wants to eliminate three analog public access channels so it can expand the number of digital channels it offers. Opponents of the plan say moving the channels to the digital tier will limit the number of viewers because digital cable costs more.
A story in Friday’s edition of the Omaha World-Herald says Cox has agreed to provide faster Internet service, more digital TV channels and more high-definition programming in exchange for the reduction in public access channels.
Posted by Sean Weide at 9:42 AM
Thursday, April 26, 2007
KETV (Cox Channel 9) is now offering Nebraska and Iowa-related news out of the nation's capitol via a new section on its website titled, "The Washington Notebook."
The new offering on KETV.com is being produced by Jenny Nowatzke, a 2006 Creighton University graduate and former KETV intern who makes her home in Washington, D.C.
In addition to writing stories about topics of interest to KETV viewers, Nowatzke also produces online video stories. She also invites viewers who will be visiting the capital to let her know in advance so their trip can receive consideration to be featured on the website.
Posted by Sean Weide at 3:34 PM
Cox Communications will be holding an open audition this Saturday for a commercial that will promote the company's mass media safety program.
Auditions for the "Take Charge!" commercial will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mrs. B’s Outlet Store at the Nebraska Furniture Mart, 7312 Jones St.
Children between the ages of 8-12 are invited to audition for the 30-second commercial, which will air on Cox’s channels in June, during Internet Safety Month. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The person who lands the role will receive a new home computer, an iPod shuffle and a $100 Cox Communications gift card. The announcement of the winner will be made May 4 on www.cox.com/omaha.
Posted by Sean Weide at 1:23 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Omaha World-Herald came away with nine first place honors at the Nebraska News Photographers Association awards, including Photographer of the Year (for the fifth consecutive year) for staffer Matt Miller.
The list of winners:
Picture Story: 1, Laura Inns, The World-Herald; 2, Scott Kingsley, Grand Island Independent; 3, Matt Miller, The World-Herald.
Feature: 1, Kiley Cruse, The World-Herald; 2, Rebecca S. Gratz, The World-Herald; 3, Lane Hickenbottom, Grand Island Independent.
Sports Action: 1, Jeff Beiermann, The World-Herald; 2, Jill Peitzmeier, Lincoln Journal Star; 3, William Lauer, Lincoln Journal Star.
Spot News: 1, Eric Gregory, Lincoln Journal Star; 2, Hickenbottom, Grand Island Independent; 3, Lauer, Lincoln Journal Star.
General News: 1, Kent Sievers, The World-Herald; 2, Nati Harnik, Associated Press; 3, Gratz, The World-Herald.
Sports Feature: 1, Miller, The World-Herald; 2, Barrett Stinson, Grand Island Independent; 3, Michael McNamara, Lincoln Journal Star.
Pictorial: 1, Miller, The World-Herald; 2, Stinson, Grand Island Independent; 3, Hickenbottom, Grand Island Independent.
Portrait/Personality: 1, Miller, The World-Herald; 2, Gregory, Lincoln Journal Star; 3, Lauer, Lincoln Journal Star.
Illustration: 1, Miller, The World-Herald; 2, Hickenbottom, Grand Island Independent; 3, Sievers, The World-Herald.
Multiple Picture Package: 1, Hickenbottom, Grand Island Independent; 2, Sievers, The World-Herald; 3, Inns, The World-Herald.
Posted by Sean Weide at 10:54 AM
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
If you missed the original broadcast of "On The Frontline: Nebraskans at War in Iraq,” there are still a couple opportunities to catch this compelling program that shows the behind-the-scenes activity of a Nebraska Army National Guard unit in Ramadi, Iraq.
The documentary by reporter Mike Tobias and photojournalist Ray Meints will be show on NET2 (Cox Channel 16) Wednesday, April 25 at 9:30 p.m. CDT on NET1, and again on Sunday, April 29 at 7 p.m. CDT, and Tuesday, May 1 at 9 p.m. on NET2. Tobias is a former KOLN/KGIN reporter while Meints previously worked at WOWT.
In 2005, the pair traveled with 63 soldiers from Troop A of the 1-167 Calvary of the Nebraska Army National Guard unit to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., in the Mojave Desert. There, they prepared for Middle East deployment.
Once in Iraq, the unit's soldiers shot video and photos that are used to tell of the security they provided for brigade commanders, protection for explosive experts dealing with roadside bombs and service as first responders to bombings and other incidents. Through it all, they felt the threat of roadside bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and sniper attacks.
"'On the Frontline' is a very intimate look at modern war and warriors,” Tobias said. “It brings viewers inside the minds and hearts of these soldiers, both on the battlefield in Iraq and as they deal with very serious issues after they return home.”
Though the 1-167 unit is based in Hastings, Neb., the soldiers have connections to cities and towns across the state, including Central City, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln and Omaha. For some of the soldiers, this marked the third overseas deployment since 2001.
The special also takes a look at how the civilian and family lives of the soldiers were changed by the 18 months of training and active duty assignments. They returned home with honors, as well as physical and emotional scars.
"I saw things that day that I pray that nobody ever, ever has to see," Staff Sgt. Chad Rowe of Lincoln tells Tobias.
This was Tobias’ second trip to a war-torn part of the world. In 2003, he traveled to Bosnia to report on soldiers from the 1-167th Cavalry who were part of the NATO peacekeeping mission.
Excerpts from the program can be seen on YouTube.com, as well as on NET’s website.
Posted by Sean Weide at 11:14 AM
Friday, April 13, 2007
College Sports TV football analyst Trev Alberts will be the keynote speaker at Mount Michael's Sports Night Saturday, April 21 at 6 p.m.
Alberts is a former All-American at Nebraska who later played for the Indianapolis Colts. His broadcast career includes work for CNN/Sports Illustrated and ESPN.
Tickets to Sports Night are $75/each ($50 for high school age and younger) or a table of eight is $800. For ticket information, call Vanessa Dobles at 289-2541, ext. 1204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Sean Weide at 9:46 PM
Thursday, April 12, 2007
[Updated Friday, April 13]
A Nebraska Roads Department snowplow driver who was the subject of a story on WOWT (Cox Channel 8) last month has been fired for speaking with investigative reporter Mike McKnight.
Chuck Odom was featured - but never seen on camera - in a Channel Six News story March 8 after he faced disciplinary action for using state equipment to plow private property. Odom helped an acquaintance, who suffers from heart trouble, get out of his driveway near Bennington on the day of a blizzard.
It took two plows and a loader to get the job done after the first two plows became stuck. Odom was suspended for five weeks with pay over the incident.
Odom, a 30-year employee of the roads department, says he signed an agreement not to talk about the incident while it was being investigated. In a story posted on WOWT's website and broadcast Tuesday night, Odom said he believed the agreement only applied to speaking with other state employees and not to the media.
In a follow-up story on WOWT Thursday night, Odom is seen on camera for the first time. He shows a nine-page termination letter which lists 13 reasons why he lost his job - including one which the story said was for "talking to Channel 6 reporter Mike McKnight."
"Their contention was I couldn't talk to anybody, trying to destroy my first amendment rights," Odom said.
District Engineer Tim Weander did not comment specifically about Odom's case. However, he did tell McKnight that employees should get approval from a supervisor before doing anything questionable.
Odom told McKnight he plans to file a grievance and possibly a lawsuit.
Thursday night's story did not specify whether Odom originally contacted WOWT about the incident that led to his termination or if the station initiated the inquiry that led to the original story about Odom's suspension.
Posted by Sean Weide at 1:00 PM
"KXVO 15 10:00 News" host Matt Geiler says the demise of the program (which airs its final live episode tonight on Cox Channel 11) did not come as a surprise to him - or anyone else who has worked on the show.
"The cancellation of the program was something that had been mentioned in some capacity - either as a possibility or as a corporate desire - since I arrived at the station," Geiler said. "So, we just made up our minds to do the kind of show we'd like to see every day, whether that lasted for a week or a year."
Meeting or exceeding ratings expectations would have been difficult, he said, because the show's target demographic of people between the ages of 12 and 35 aren't known to fill out ratings diaries.
"So, to that end, the viewership doesn't have a strong correlation with the numbers," he said. "We've just been grateful and pretty stoked about the people who watched the show and joined in the laughter with us."
The unconventional "newscast" debuted in December of 2005 with Calvert Collins as host. She eventually moved to a reporting role (and later back to KPTM) and former MTV VJ Brian McFayden was hired on. But his tenure was short-lived and within three months the Ralston native was gone. Geiler, a standup comedian and Second City alumnus, came on board last fall and grew the format of comedy sketches and pieces written and produced by fellow cast members Taylor Stein (producer), Kyle Benecke (photographer) and Jeff Van Roy (director).
Some of the more memorable recurring characters include "Lando Calrissian: Galactic Pimp," The Weirdums, Mr. Retaliation and Bram Niapost.
"We started out with an idea that we wanted to do something concretely anti-news ... and our explorations led us into an almost absurdist arena of sketches, characters, songs, and pranks," Geiler said. "Every day was markedly different from the last because of the sheer variety of things we attempted. We gave ourselves absolute creative freedom - freedom to fail, dream, and do. That's a rare opportunity for four people of different sensibilities and I'm very fortunate to have been a part of it."
Geiler said he is well aware of the negative comments against Pappas Telecasting and KXVO management (many of them posted on The City's Weekly's Media Watch column site). But, as he points out, it was those same people who are being criticized who took the chance and created the program in the first place.
"I think that some form of commendation needs to be delivered to all the people at Pappas and Fox42/CW15 who helped us do this - both the people at corporate and in management who hired me and, thus, took a creative risk," he said. "Plus, the people who helped us realize our vision - news techs, producers, directors, graphic artists, engineers, and talent."
Geiler said Stein, Benecke and Van Roy have been offered other jobs at KXVO's sister station, KPTM (Cox Channel 10). But at the present time, none have plans to stay on.
"The kind of creative control and freedom we had on KXVO is inspiring, to say nothing of intoxicating," Geiler said. "And I imagine it would be difficult for them to go back into an environment where our sort of unbridled creativity was not key to the production."
The concept of the program might continue in some fashion on another channel or in another medium, he said, as it is being shopped around to cable and network producers.
As for his own future, Geiler said he will soon be acting in a film being produced by Avant/Chicago and Mas Menos Film in Chicago.
"Most of the shooting will take place in May and June," he said. "Between that, doing gigs and live shows, finishing a new music album with my brother Mike, and picking up commercials and voice-overs, I should be able to keep busy."
Posted by Sean Weide at 7:21 AM
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The NFL Network will provide same-day coverage of the Nebraska football team's Red-White game, which kicks off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
The game comes at the end of the Huskers' spring practices and typically attracts more than 50,000 fans. The NFL Network, which is available in approximately 41 million homes, will broadcast the game Saturday night at 8.
The Husker Sports Radio Network will provide live coverage of the game on 33 stations within the state and 14 stations outside Nebraska.
Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan will help provide commentary on the game for the NFL Network, along with former Nebraska receiver Matt Davison and announcer Greg Sharpe.
"This is a unique opportunity to showcase Nebraska on a network that is all football, all the time," Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson said in a press release. "We know it will be impressive for the nation to see a great crowd in Memorial Stadium for the Red-White Spring Game."
Posted by Sean Weide at 11:26 PM
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
WOWT (Cox Channel 8) will be faced with the task of replacing reporter Rebecca Kleeman and weekday morning meteorologist Scott Akin, who are both leaving the station before the May ratings period begins.
Kleeman is the new public relations manager for the Qwest Center Omaha, replacing Dana Dyksterhuis, who has moved on to become the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights hockey team. Dyksterhuis, another former WOWT reporter, had been at the Qwest Center since the fall of 2004.
"I'm excited to take on new challenges," Kleeman said. "I look forward to getting in there and doing great job for them."
Kleeman's last day at the station is Thursday. She has worked at WOWT since October of 1999.
Akin is leaving Omaha with his wife, Sarah, and their nearly 13-month-old twin daughters, Alexis and Madelyn. The first meteorologist in the Omaha market to attain the title of Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) from the American Meteorological Society, Akin has worked at WOWT since October of 2000.
"We're most likely going to Indianapolis to get closer to family," he said.
Akin's last day at the station is April 25, one day before the May "sweeps" begin.
Posted by Sean Weide at 4:28 PM
Monday, April 9, 2007
Journal Sells Off 1490 AM, Completes KMTV Purchase
The Journal Broadcast Group has completed the sale of radio station KOMJ-AM (1490 AM) to Cochise Broadcasting LLC. Journal was required to sell off one of its Omaha media properties due to FCC regulations on the number of stations an entity can own in a single market.
At the same time as the sale of KOMJ, Journal also made a final payment of $10 million to Emmis Communications for the purchase of KMTV (Cox Channel 5). The CBS affiliate was working under a local marketing agreement since Dec. 5, 2005 while awaiting approval by the Federal Communications Commission of the transfer of the television station license.
Peterson's Co-Anchor Starts Next Week
Former KMTV anchor Greg Peterson will be joined next week on the desk at WPMI in Mobile, Ala., by former Miss Ohio World beauty pageant winner Raquel Eatmon.
The two will anchor the station's 5, 6 and 10 p.m. weekday newscasts.
Eatmon's first night on the air will be April 16. She last worked for KTVT-TV in Dallas.
Cox Communications Offers Extra Innings Package
Customers of Cox Communications in Omaha can purchase Major League Baseball's subscription pay-per-view package, Extra Innings. The subscription package will deliver about 70 out-of-market baseball games per week.
Cox also announced it will offer The Baseball Channel when it becomes available in 2009. Cox and other cable operators will own a minority stake in the channel.
"Cox is thrilled to offer our customers who are avid baseball fans a way to see all the MLB action this season," said Kristin Peck, vice president of government and public affairs for Cox Communications in Omaha in a press release. "With Extra Innings, subscribers can follow their favorite teams no matter where they play, while even watching many of the games in high-definition."
The Extra Inning package for the regular season is $199.96. More information is available at www.cox.com/omaha.
Altman April Fools' Day Joke Was A Doozy
Travis Justice threw Creighton University basketball fans into a tizzy even before Coach Dana Altman announced he was leaving for Arkansas (only to return to the Jays).
Justice started the April 1 edition of "Sports Soundoff presented by Horseshoe Casino" with "breaking news" that Altman had agreed to a contract extension paying him 1.8 million dollars a year at Creighton. The deal also included bonus incentives amounting to $200,000 ($100k for reaching the Sweet 16 and another $100k for advancing to the Elite Eight).
Justice said Creighton justified the new contract based on three things:
-- A two-year study that shows the success of the basketball team has a direct impact on enrollment. More students means more money.
-- Season ticket sales are at an all-time high. A portion of the seat tax would go toward Altman’s salary.
-- Nike was tripling its support of Creighton basketball and putting Altman on its "A List" of coaches when it comes to speaking engagements at camps.
"We kept this up for about eight to 10 minutes," Justice said.
Finally, at the end of the show's first segment, Justice broke the news to viewers that it was all a ruse.
Posted by Sean Weide at 11:47 PM
Thursday, April 5, 2007
The "KXVO 10:00 News" will air its final live edition next Thursday, KPTM/KXVO News Director Joe Radske said Thursday morning.
"The program was an incredible program," Radske said. "Unfortunately, it didn’t reach enough people."
The unconventional newscast made its debut in December of 2005 with Calvert Collins as host. She was later moved to a reporting role when former MTV VJ Brian McFayden came on board in April. McFayden was let go in June and eventually replaced by current host Matt Geiler.
KPTM Director of Promotions Sam Lawson said for the short term, the newscast will be replaced by reruns of "King of the Hill."
Posted by Sean Weide at 11:29 AM
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Omaha World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel has a message for Dana Altman in Wednesday's editions of the newspaper: "Enough is enough."
"No more dances, Dana," Shatel writes. "No more hide and seek, and spy games, with Iowa, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Georgia, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. No more hiding behind "no comment" when it comes to other job openings because your career is personal and you expect Creighton fans to understand"
Shatel closes his 765-word column by writing that Altman will be welcomed home, "but now it's time for him to stay home."
Better Bed Might Have Been The Difference
KFAB (1110 AM) morning radio co-host Jim Rose cleverly tied the Altman saga into his daily advertisement for an electric adjustable bed.
"That good night's sleep is all that he needed," Rose said Wednesday morning. "If you've been offered a job for more than a million and a half dollars and you need a good night's sleep, you'll need a Sleep Number Bed from Select Comfort."
Poor Isacc Miles. The freshman was apparently only player or staff member who didn't get the message that Altman was ditching the media by switching his team meeting from the Creighton campus to the Qwest Center. Miles found himself caught in a barrage of media and microphones outside the Vinardi Athletic Center before being whisked inside, out a back door and off to the Qwest.
Press Conference Scheduled For Noon
Creighton has announced it will hold a press conference today at noon. KMTV (Cox Channel 5) plans to carry the event live during its regularly-scheduled newscast, "Action 3 News Midday." KOZN (1620 AM), "ESPN's Sports Radio" 1620 The Zone, plans live coverage. Kevin Kugler will anchor the station's coverage. KETV (Cox Channel 9) and WOWT (Cox Channel 8) will stream the press conference live on their websites, KETV.com and WOWT.com, respectively.
Message Board Posting of the Day:
The Bluejay Cafe, the online home for Creighton University fans, features hundreds of posts related to Altman's departure - and subsequent return. One in particular stands out:
"Rob Anderson and the sports information staff better be planning a big press conference for tomorrow sometime," writes "SidApollo." If they're smart, they'll order some type of food for the media, because they always love free food. Smile And we won't make Dana do any Hog Calls...maybe just a Bluejay chirp."
Posted by Sean Weide at 5:29 AM
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
If you don't care much about Creighton University men's basketball, you probably didn't like the 6 p.m. newscast KETV (Cox Channel 9) delivered Tuesday after it was learned Dana Altman was returning to coach the Bluejays.
KETV spent the bulk of its newscast sharing the latest details on the breaking story, including reports from Todd Andrews (live from the Creighton campus) and former sports reporter-turned-consumer expert Mike Sigmond (on-set).
How on top of the story was the station that promises "More Complete Coverage" in its promotional spots? Weekend sports anchor Matt Schick was seen talking on his cell phone (to a source) coming out of one of Andrew's reports and Bluejay guard Nick Bahe was interviewed live on the phone during the first segment of the newscast.
Posted by Sean Weide at 6:48 PM
Change of heart: Altman staying at Creighton
Jeff Goodman / FOXSports.com | Posted: 5:07 p.m.
Dana Altman is heading back to Creighton.
Altman, who left to take the job at Arkansas on Monday morning, has decided not to go to Fayetteville after all, according to a pair of industry sources close to the situation.
Altman, 48, has spent the last 13 years at Creighton and was 260-141 in his tenure.
Arkansas missed out on Billy Gillispie and outgoing athletic director Frank Broyles turned his attention to Altman earlier this week.
Altman took the job, went to Arkansas yesterday and then changed his mind this morning.
Phone calls placed to Altman were not immediately returned.
Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. He can be reached at GoodmanonFOX@aol.com.
Posted by Sean Weide at 5:23 PM
Sports radio talk show hosts certainly have more latitude than sportswriters, reporters and other journalists. However, Creighton University Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen thinks afternoon talk show host Matt Perrault overstepped those boundaries Monday when he speculated that Rasmussen would follow former Creighton University men's basketball Coach Dana Altman to Arkansas.
In an e-mail to Perrault that is posted on his blog, Rasmussen writes that Perrault should have contacted him before spreading rumors.
"You drew conclusions that seemed perfectly logical to you. But you were very much in the wrong," Rasmussen wrote. "I was not going to Arkansas, I am not going to Arkansas, I will not go to Arkansas. And I would challenge you, in the future, to make a better effort to look at the entire beast before you draw your conclusions.
"And, if you are going to draw harsh conclusions based upon you level of information, make certain you have asked the harsh questions. You did not ask me if I were going to Arkansas."
Perrault apologies on his blog and writes that he is happy that Rasmussen is staying put at Creighton.
Posted by Sean Weide at 1:21 PM
Monday, April 2, 2007
Several Omaha radio and TV news stations planned live coverage of a press conference in Fayetteville, Ark., Monday night to announce the hiring of Dana Altman as the new men's basketball coach at the University of Arkansas.
KETV (Cox Channel 9) announced on its website, KETV.com, that it would carry the 5 p.m. press conference. KMTV's website, Action3News.com, will stream coverage of the press conference, while radio stations KXSP (590 AM) and KOZN (1620 AM) were also planning to broadcast it.
KXSP announced earlier in the day that it was scrapping the Kansas City Royals baseball game in order to free up airtime for the story.
Travis Justice was first to break the news Monday morning on local radio that Altman was leaving Creighton after 13 seasons.
Justice delivered the news to listeners of his sports talk show on KXSP (590 AM). He also shared the news with KMTV (Cox Channel 5), where he works as the station's sports director.
Speculation grew Sunday on the Bluejays' official message board, thebluejaycafe.com, that Altman was eyeing the job - and it was no April Fools' Day joke. Earlier this morning, someone even posted the flight plan of the Arkansas Razorback Foundation Jet, which was scheduled to arrive in Omaha shortly after noon to fly Altman to Arkansas.
Posted by Sean Weide at 9:19 AM
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Even the best laid plans by Omaha TV stations to cover the verdict of the Christopher Edwards trial did not lead to the smoothest delivery.
From not knowing exactly how long it would take to learn of the verdict, to describing the reaction of the key players in the courtroom, to covering interviews outside the courtroom, it added up to frenetic, disjointed broadcasts that reminded viewers how much of a standard TV newscast is scripted.
KETV (Cox Channel 9)
KETV waited until mere seconds before a Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy delivered news of the verdict to interrupt an infomercial. It also remained on the air longer than its competitors, signing off at 5:48 p.m.
No Explanation Needed: When the station was the first to show crime scene photos, anchor Suzanne Deyo interjected, “This is the mattress right here folks,” as a photo of Christopher Edwards’ blood-soaked mattress was shown.
Accuracy, Accuracy: Reporter Owen Lei referred to Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine as “attorney general Don Kleine.”
WOWT (Cox Channel 8)
The station benefited from the 5 p.m. announcement by having a regularly scheduled newscast in that time slot. However, just as meteorologist Jeff Jensen began delivering a forecast update, the verdict was getting ready to be read to members of the news media.
Look What You’re Missing: Because his camera and microphone were not in a position to move, reporter Brian New (and WOWT viewers) were forced to watch from afar as Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine was interviewed by other members of the media.
Tune In Tonight at 10: Anchors Jaime McCutcheon and Paul Baltes told viewers to tune in at 10 p.m. for Gary Smollen’s interview with one of the jurors.
KMTV (Cox Channel 5)
The station that has staked its reputation on being Omaha’s “Breaking News” leader delivered news of the verdict (in a split-screen with CBS Sports’ coverage of the Final Four game between Georgetown and Ohio State), then quickly switched viewers back to the game - which was in a commercial break.
Teased, But Never Delivered: Reporter Michelle Bandur told viewers that reporter Kathy Sarantos Niver would have reaction from inside the courtroom but as Niver ran to the camera to deliver her report, in-studio anchors Carol Wang and Carlo Cecchetto cut off Bandur in mid-sentence and teased viewers of more coverage on the station’s 10 p.m. newscast after the basketball games.
Grade from college basketball viewers: A
KPTM (Cox Channel 10)
Viewers of the Fox affiliate were informed by onset anchor Scott Patterson of the verdict a few minutes after it was delivered. In the brief report that included no video or live coverage from the courthouse, Patterson told viewers to expect more coverage on the station’s 9 p.m. newscast.
Posted by Sean Weide at 11:24 AM
The Omaha City Weekly reviewed coverage of three Omaha TV stations Saturday night as they delivered news of a verdict in the trial of Christopher Edwards for the murder of Jessica O'Grady.
KMTV (Cox Channel 5)
Elements: Jessica O’Grady family reaction (Kathy Sarantos Niver package), Christopher Edwards family reaction (Michelle Bandur), prosecution team reaction (Leigh Ann Retelsdorf sound), interview with juror Laura Adams (Kerri Stowell package), anyone else involved? (Sheriff Tim Dunning sound).
The Good: Exclusive video of the emotional reaction by both families outside the courthouse.
The Bad: At 9:30 p.m., KMTV was still scrolling “breaking news” of a verdict that had been delivered more than five hours earlier. An interview with a juror was teased as "exclusive" when it was clear competitor WOWT would have an interview with its general manager, who also served on the jury.
Sound Bite of the Night: When asked whether he thought anyone else besides Edwards was involved in the murder, Dunning said, “I’ll let my silence speak for itself.”
Most Puzzling Statement: “Action 3 News will continue to follow breaking news developments in this story.”
Audience Boost: KMTV’s newscast didn’t begin until 10:15 p.m. because of CBS Sports’ coverage of the Final Four.
Prime Time Team: KMTV was the only station to shelve its weekend anchors in favor of its weekday team.
Consultant Cliché: “Team coverage.”
KETV (Cox Channel 9)
Elements: Verdict overview (Carol Kloss package), Verdict reaction (Owen Lei package), Evidence revealed (Suzanne Deyo package), Douglas County CSI importance (Kailyn Reid package), coverage tease for Sunday story follow-up, coverage tease for KETV.com.
The Good: KETV photographers hustled to get great video, including Christopher Edwards’ father breaking down as he entered an elevator and shots of jury members filing out of the courtroom.
The Bad: An “Upfront Forecast” graphic open appeared when Deyo teased team coverage of the verdict off the top of the newscast.
Consultant Cliché: “Team coverage.”
WOWT (Cox Channel 8)
Elements: Verdict recap, courtroom reaction (Gary Smollen in newsroom), trial evidence (Brian New package), juror interview (Smollen package), Edwards’ reaction (Steve Lefler sound), body still missing (Sheriff Tim Dunning sound), appeal forthcoming (Lefler sound), story recap.
The Good: Reporter Brian New warned viewers, “some of the evidence is graphic.”
The Bad: Technical problems (a clipped mic, Paul Baltes speaking when Jaime McCutcheon was on camera), several stumbles by McCutheon and an awkward transition back to the anchors following New’s report.
Understatement of the Day: McCutheon said, “the family of Chris Edwards did not talk to the media at the courthouse this evening.”
Luck of the Irish Award: WOWT General Manager Frank Jonas was a member of the jury.
Consultant Cliché: “Live Team Coverage”
Posted by Sean Weide at 7:33 AM