New anchors debut on The 33, which otherwise houses the same old "stories"
02/17/09 02:44 PM
By ED BARK
Presenting the new faces of The 33's 9 p.m. news -- and Facebook, too, of course.
Anchors Walt Maciborski (pronounced MACK-iborski) and Amanda Salinas signed on as Dallas-based KDAF-TV's incoming anchor duo Monday night.
The malaprop-prone Maciborski looks as though he might be good for a few laughs. He also shows a willingness to laugh at his own brand of humor.
Salinas seemed mostly deferential for starters, but has a nice smile. It's early, though, and both anchors are still feeling their way through an hour-long newscast that still mostly measures up to one of the CW-affililated station's signature shows -- Smallville.
On Monday's newscast, departing reporter Norris Deajon's piece on "Finding work through Facebook" was the top-billed attraction. That's hardly surprising. Facebook stories have become ever-present on The 33, where the CW network's prime-time target audience is 18-to-34-year-olds.
That puts new University of North Texas grad Pelpina Trip near the top of the pecking order with her nightly Web-cruising "Pelpina's Picks" segments, during which she invariably touts a "Facebook application." Maciborski gamely teased Monday's dollop, but forgot a consonant in saying, "If you are ready to learn another language, you have a lot of option (sic) these days."
Trip happily trumpeted the joys of "learning a new language in your bathrobe" before wondering aloud, "So who needs books and classrooms? It looks like the Internet and Skype are the new ways to learn a language."
That's the spirit. Go to hell, higher ed.
The newscast segued from that observation to a story on how the Jonas Brothers had surprised a band called Honor Society at a concert in New York City. Maciborski then tried to get jiggy.
"Those guys just go, er, girls, go crazy over those Jonas Brothers," he noted.
Washington-based Tribune reporter Sabrina Fang then was introduced as "Saprina" before Maciborski outdid himself while bantering with meteorologist Rebecca Miller.
"It was chilly this morning waking up at the bus stop," he said, prompting a brief pause by all concerned. Maciborski then regrouped. "I didn't wake up at the bus stop, but once I got there it was cold."
Oh, but we kid Big Walt, who earlier told viewers, "New research says beef should be the cause of global warming. What?" He likely meant to say "could be the cause."
Monday's newscast also included another nightly informercial from entertainment/lifestyles reporter Roni Proter, this one on a Frisco store that sells "all the rage" see-through backpacks at 80 bucks a pop. Another recent edition to The 33 news team, Aaron Smith, later contributed an infomercial about a place that sells discount designer garb.
In Maciborski's defense, he made a decent everyman inquiry after the trendy backpack story, asking whether GI Joe or Star Wars versions were available. But Proter basically flicked him off with an unequivocal no that made the poor guy seem more out of touch than a Rice a Roni side dish at Club de la Lucre.
Monday's newscast, with Salinas doing the honors, also reported that, "On Wall Street, the Dow fell 82 points today." Um, that was on Friday. The stock market was closed Monday in deference to President's Day.
Arrrgh, the arrival of Maciborski and Salinas unfortunately hasn't meant the departure of "The Rant." It's arguably the reigning Mickey Mouse-iest feature in any top 10 news market. And the selected viewer comments -- on a big night there might be four -- have yet to be worth the time it takes to read them. Or in Maciborski's case, transform this -- "I saw that flying thing yesterday, too. I don't think it was a meteor" -- into this -- "I saw that thing flying yesterday, too. I don't think it was a meteor."
So was there anything worth watching Monday night?
Well, reporter Shana Franklin had a decent enough story on falling North Texas rent prices during the ongoing economic death spiral. And late in the newscast, veteran reporter Barry Carpenter had a nice little heartwarmer on post-surgery "music therapy" treatments for kids. Maciborski seemed to have a bit of a commitment issue with Carpenter's story, although as usual he didn't quite mean it that way.
"Barry, this is probably one of my favorite stories of the night," he told Carpenter, who haltingly replied, "I appreciate that."
Carpenter, clearly not a Facebook kinda guy, has been hangin' in there at The 33 since joining the station in December 1999. He's a capable journalist who deserves a better forum for his work.
But as Carpenter well knows, reporters with any mileage on them clearly are an endangered species at a station whose Web site lately is advertising for a pair of "backpack journalists."
"Ready to make your mark without all the baggage of traditional broadcast journalism?" The 33 asks. "Check us out. We're looking for an aggressive backpack journalist with a knack for spotting fresh stories that people will buzz about . . . We're looking for someone who's ready to run, not walk. Show us how you use a video camera as a reporter's notebook, producing pieces that work on air as well as online. Wow us with plans for making the Internet an integral part of our news presentation."
And that's the way it is. Or as a latter day Uncle Walt told viewers Monday night, "I know this is a family show, but most women will do anything to get 'em."
Maciborski was teasing a story about a new prescription drug that may lengthen eyelashes. But of course.