powered by FreeFind

Apple iTunes


This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's 10 p.m. newscasts (Thurs., Feb. 22)

Reporting live every night: NBC5's Susan Risdon, Fox4's Jeff Crilley

D-FW's four major 10 p.m. news providers all gave prominent play Thursday to a baseball game warmup accident that sent a Grapevine High School varsity player to Parkland Memorial with a serious head injury.

Only NBC5 oddly is holding steadfast to its claim that the boy has not yet been identified. Reporter Susan Risdon's top-of-the-newscast story didn't name Chris Gavora as the unfortunate victim. Nor had the station's NBC5i.com Web site as of early Friday afternoon.

CBS11 anchor Karen Borta and reporters Jeff Crilley (Fox4) and Craig Civale (Belo8) all identified Gavora in their reports Thursday night. However, in an odd case of asymmetrical synergy, a Belo8-owned dallasnews.com story linking to Civale's video account says the injured player hasn't yet been identified.

Most news accounts in fact have named the junior pitcher/outfielder. Identities of minors routinely are withheld in criminal cases, but there seems to be no good reason to do the same here. Risdon's lead story instead showed a Grapevine baseball team picture, leaving viewers to speculate on which player it might be. In contrast, Fox4's Crilley showed a picture of Gavora as well as excerpts of prayers and well-wishes for him on his myspace.com page.

CBS11 played the story high in its newscast but only in a brief reader by anchor Borta.

"His parents have asked that his condition not be released," she told viewers.

Rival stations also respected the parents' privacy but otherwise got specific as to how the injury occurred. Newcomer Civale, criticized in this space for his bumbling live introductions to stories, did a capable, cogent job this time out. Stationed outside Parkland, as were his rivals, Civale said that Gavora had been struck from behind, at the base of his head, by a batting practice line drive.

(Note: Risdon sent an email to unclebarky.com mid-Friday afternoon to explain that she withheld the victim's name because of an email she received Thursday night from public information director Robin McClure of the Grapevine-Collyeville ISD. McClure's email reads in part: "The family has asked that the student not be identified and for all parties to respect its wishes for total privacy at this time.")

NBC5 gave second billing Thursday night to a scabies problem at a Petco, where "at least two employees are being treated for skin irritation," reported night ranger Scott Gordon.

Desperate to hold onto its slipping 10 p.m. ratings crown, the Peacock then went really nutso on a "Manhunt" story.

Chopper 5 circled live over a DeSoto neighborhood while the station filled home screens with a large circle, complete with crosshairs. It said "Wanted Burglar" on the lower left and "Dallas County Manhunt" on the upper right. But the still at-large burglar's trail otherwise has "gone cold," NBC5 reported. Someone in the control room should have telestrated "What a Crock" in a big, bold scrawl.

NBC5 reporter Kristi Nelson later slogged through another weight loss piece. This time it had to do with tiny magnets placed in "strategic locations," a treatment that's "very popular in Spanish-speaking communities," she told viewers.

A skeptical doctor said there's no sound medical reason why this should work, even though some clients supposedly have shed some poundage. Then Nelson's closing words pretty much sunk her story.

"Participants say they also get advice on what to eat at each session," she said. Gee, you think THAT might be the reason for any weight loss. Stick a magnet in your ear, where most of them are stuck, and then keep your pie hole at bay. Wow, another miracle diet uncovered by NBC5.

Some real reporting also occurred.

CBS11's Mary Stewart had an interesting story on disparate property tax assessments in Fort Worth. And the station's Jay Gormley looked at the ongoing sharp divisions within the Episcopal church regarding gay clerics and same-sex marriages.

The station's Jack Fink was the only D-FW television reporter to do a one-on-one interview with the lately beleaguered Gov. Rick Perry, who had been in North Texas for a speech. Perry didn't say anything of real note, though, at least in the segment that aired Thursday night. The pretty boy guv looked pretty haggard, though, in need of a shave and maybe even a haircut.

On Fox4, Lari Barager reconstructed how a bank robbery suspect was caught by police after visiting an International House of Pancakes restaurant on one too many occasions. Waitresses recognized him from previous video and helped to lay a trap. It made for an interesting little tale told well by Barager.

Belo8's Gary Reaves had an eye-opening report on how DNA evidence is being used to overturn a 13th wrongful conviction as part of "The Innocence Project." And medical reporter Janet St. James again stood out with a story on how Botox treatments seem to be offering a permanent solution for migraine headache sufferers. Could have done without the thumpety-thump intro, though.

The station's longtime sports reporter, George Riba, at Texas Rangers' training camp for the past week, again told viewers about the relaxed approach being taken by new manager Ron Washington. He then ended his report with a visit to Hooters, where four buxom staffers cooed, "Hi, George, welcome back."

Riba seldom does shtick. But after all these years in the trenches, hell, he's entitled.

Here's Thursday's violent crime story count, with the 16-night running totals in parentheses:

NBC5 -- 4 (61)
Fox4 -- 3 (35)
Belo8 -- 2 (22)
CBS11 -- 0 (29)