There are a couple of jobs in TV news that give a person autonomy, which means that no matter how much oversight he or she may have, in the end that person has a direct line to what goes out over the air. If a news anchor wanted to, he or she could say, “Fuck it, I quit” on the air and there’s nothing anybody could do to stop it. A chyron operator is one of these kinds of people.
Granted, these days most chyron — the graphics and animation you see scrolling or unfolding across the bottom of the screen during news broadcasts — is automatically generated by producers adjusting scripts. Hell, graphics packages themselves aren’t even created in-house anymore; most of it comes out of centralized hubs to whatever stations are within a given group. Still, if there’s local news that needs to be put in a crawl — that little banner that has news tidbits and whatnot — it’s usually a person or a couple of people within a newsroom tasked with popping it in. Especially in the morning.
I bring this all up, because on Friday morning KRON in San Francisco ran a crawl for an entire six-minute segment that read, “FUCKING BULLSHIT.” No explanation as to why, but the words were listed under “Nat’l News.” It read something about an assault on a teen. Another thing about internet outages. And there, right in the middle — fucking bullshit.
No comment yet from KRON, but have a good laugh while you enjoy the sense of superiority in knowing that tomorrow morning your job will probably still be there. And hey, at least one station is honest about what local TV news is.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.