New set for CW33 news -- which just might be improved, too
11/04/10 11:21 AM
By ED BARK
Mostly denuded of sex stories -- on this night at least -- and sporting a spanking new blue-hued set, Wednesday's CW33 9 p.m. newscast actually could be watched in polite company.
That's progress, although a caution flag is still advisable. The Dallas-based, Tribune-owned station could just as easily revert to the bad form it's flaunted so gleefully in recent months. But perhaps the recent dismissals of two infantile bozos who'd been running the corporate ship will allow CW33 the freedom to do the news without soiling itself. We'll see.
Meanwhile, the new set looks good, with anchors Walt Maciborski and Amanda Salinas now standing throughout the entire one-hour newscast. Gone is the time-tested but perhaps shopworn anchor desk. In place is a little glass-top table topped with a laptop and a few throwback pieces of paper. Sitting down while reading the news is so -- February 2010. Today's anchors have to look more like pro-active action figures, walking their studio beats with pride and purpose. Helps keep off the pounds, too.
"The Rant" still rears its ugly head, with an aggressive-sounding pitchwoman barking, "You got somethin' to say? Bring it on."
But on Wednesday night, no one apparently cared enough to rant. So although it was teased, the segment never aired. Just as well. Why not just bury the damned thing?
CW33's newscasts also still have a "Want to Hear More" Playlist that viewers are encouraged to patronize on the station's oft-touted website. Wednesday's music was from Katy Perry ("I Kissed a Girl"); Madonna ("Express Yourself"); Ke$ha ("We R Who We R") and Survivor ("Eye of the Tiger"). Clicking on a title takes you to a music video on youtube. It's harmless, and really not a terrible idea in the grand scheme of things.
Wednesday's CW33 newscast led with Giselle Phelps' live report on a controversial police shooting that left a 25-year-old man dead in South Dallas and his family demanding justice. WFAA8's Chris Hawes, for one, had this story on Monday. And Phelps, a relative newcomer to CW33, failed to provide essential details in her one-sided story. Such as the fact that police were responding to complaints of drugs, prostitution and gang violence at the Cedar Garden apartments. And that the deceased, although unarmed at the time of the Friday night shooting, had previously been arrested for assault. He also was under a criminal trespass warning from the apartment complex. A police investigation is underway.
CW33 fared better with reports by a pair of veteran holdovers from the days when the station's newscasts appeared to be originating from a converted garage.
Barry Carpenter's story, titled "Miracle Wear," highlighted an Arlington store that specializes in clothes for women who have had mastectomies. And the station's erstwhile sex specialist, Shana Franklin, branched out a bit by hitting the old reliable Botox beat for a report on a survey that said injections may block feedback to the brain and stifle expressions.
Giggly Botox patient Joni Landau had no trouble expressing herself, telling Franklin that "in today's society, you want to look young and youthful and not old and haggard."
Preceding Franklin's report, CW33 did manage to work in a little woman-on-woman kissing video tied to Maciborski's brief reader about a survey in which 17 percent of "heterosexual adults" admit being attracted to the same gender, with 36 percent of them taking measures further in a "sexual way." Hoo-hah. But that was it for the night.
Entertainment reporter Roni Porter contributed a decent enough "Refresh for Fall" fashion story that accented affordable fashions at Marshall's. Newcomer Amber Fisher likewise had an OK piece on increased use of police surveillance cameras in Dallas' trendy Uptown area. Erin Harris, successor to Pelpina Trip, presented the nightly "Plugged In" segment leading to the nightly "Viral Video" presentation. Harris would do well ease up a bit by curbing her caffeinated voice inflections and hand-talking. But she's just a kid, and she's capable of learning.
Veteran meteorologist Rebecca Miller's segments remain solid and easily understood. So far she's withstood all of the other monkey business at CW33. Sports anchor Dave Crome, another survivor, continues to do a capable job of packaging and presenting stories and highlights.
So maybe the new look also can bring about something of a new day at CW33. Wednesday's newscast was watchable at best, stopping well short of being an eyesore. But with a full hour to fill, the station easily could air out some of its stories rather than condensing them to the point of leaving out basic information.
In that regard, we'll end with videos of the aforementioned police shooting stories by Phelps and Hawes. I think you'll notice an appreciable difference, underscoring the fact that CW33 still has miles to go before it can be taken very seriously.
Still, Wednesday's newscast at least showed some signs that the station is interested in becoming more than a junk peddler. The excrement rolling downhill from the top of the Tribune company has been slowed by the oustings of two $#!T-heads. Which could mean that the days of anchor Maciborski touting "The $#!T We Report" might well be behind him.