Sunday, April 1, 2007

Christopher Edwards Verdict: 10 p.m. Newscasts

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.”

Grade: A

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

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.”

Grade: A-

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”

Grade: B-


Anonymous said...

I thought some of the questions in the post-verdict news conference were assanine. Asking Lefler what he was going to do saturday night? Who cares? I think Kathy Sarantos asked the O'Grady family "What if you only find pieces of Jessica, will you be happy? What kind of morbid question is that?

Anonymous said...

Why does Action 3 bring in Carol and Carlo for this? Not only does Carol grunt when she laughs but the weekend crew is much better than they are. I feel like they are shooving the Prime Time team down our throats.

Someone brought up a good comparison. It's like when ESPN constantly hypes Women's NCAA basketball. Yeah, it's the Final Four for them but when it comes down to's still women's basketball. I feel the same way with Carol and Carlo.

I much prefer Ebony and Ivory!

Anonymous said...

Devon better then Carlo? Wow that is a funny statement. Good move by 3 to give him the hook for this event.

Michael Carnes said...

I thought KETV's coverage was very good. I was watching KMTV for the Final Four but relied mostly on KETV for the news coverage and they provided some very good elements that I was sure weren't being offered elsewhere. Most interesting was the fact that KPTM had NO breaking news teasers (as each of the other stations did) and NO live coverage of the verdict. If I were the GM of that station, I think looking for a new news director would be on my short list of things to do next week.

Anonymous said...

You can't lay the blame on the ND or the news department at KPTM..It's pretty hard to go live with live trucks that only work in about 10% of the city about 50% of the time.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that the inept G.M.,Randy Oswald, is happy with KPTM's coverage - just so he can add another reason for canceling that abominable newcast and replacing it with more Seinfeld reruns.

Anonymous said...

Twice on Saturday, WOWT's weatherman said it was going to be "below zero" next week. In the AM program, he corrected it later in the show to say it would be "below freezing". In the evening news, he said it again and didn't correct it or even seem to notice it (nor did the anchors). Totally unprofesssional performance!

Anonymous said...

Kerri Stowel is not a bad anchor, she is green but she'll get there. BUT with that said Devon Patton is.... well just too terrible to watch. He has no chemistry with anyone, you can just tell he's an arrogant @$$(and I cannot fathom why???), he can't perform a solid read correctly, and the cross talk is just painful- So is it not obvious why they brought in their main team?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Channel 3's main team Deb and Greg?

Anonymous said...

I agree that Stowell is a good news anchor. Her S's are very sharp and that can be distracting but in all she is one of the best in Omaha.

Yes, Devon is very, well, interesting.

Anonymous said...

KMTV already had a good share of the market with the NCAA basketball game, so why screw it up by going live at the Courthouse. As it dragged on with no announcement, the reporters were just blabbering trying to kill time. In the meantime, the basketball fans couldn't tell what the score was. Finally somebody had some sense and went back to the game with a crawl which is what they should have done from the beginning.

Obbop said...

Comment, no.

Anonymous said...

At least KPTM had the class to leave this where it belonged, at the top of the NEWSCAST! This did not merit breaking into television time. Again, this is just a reflection of a society infatuated with the titillation of the absurd and a hunger for the bloodiest shock they lap up. Vampires are even wary of us.

Anonymous said...

I heard WOWT's weather-guesser say "below zero", too. Maybe he meant "below zero Celsius"?

Anonymous said...

I'll add my two cents as well. I heard it as well.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't Channel 3's main team Deb and Greg?"

Not anymore, but they should be. They would have done a hundreds times better at covering this trial. Deb and Greg were let go a few months ago and have both gone on to bigger and better things.

Anonymous said...

That's too bad. I liked them. I didn't realize they were not on Channel 3 anymore.

Anonymous said...

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