TV News

Monday, April 16, 2018

Survey: Louisiana residents trust local media — national media, not so much

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 4:28 PM

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Louisiana residents are pretty satisfied with their local news sources, according to the last of six reports from the 2018 Louisiana Survey, an annual product of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication and the Reilly School for Media & Public Affairs.

However, that trust doesn't extend to the national media, according to the survey.

"Most Louisiana residents (56 percent) think that local news organizations are accurate in
their reporting, which is much higher than the share who think national news organizations generally get the facts straight (32 percent)," according to the survey's summary.

Other findings:

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Sports-entertainment scholars unafraid to mix it up in the ring

Posted By on Sat, Apr 7, 2018 at 1:44 PM


The conference program
  • The conference program
There's never just one thing happening in New Orleans. At the same time WrestleMania week is slowly, multifariously unfolding across the region, beautiful wrestle-blossoms of different sizes and pay scales blooming in every available metro auditorium or high-school gym, the Southern Sociological Society is holding its annual meeting and conference at the Marriott across from WWE Axxess.

This year's conference theme is "Racial Theory, Analysis, and Politics in Trump's America." Digging into the program, I was gratified to discover multiple panels about pro wrestling, one of which I attended Friday morning.

Dr. Jack Karlis of Georgia College opened, detailing his research into how media framed (or failed to cover) the longstanding connections between President Donald Trump and WWE's owners, the McMahon family. I knew Trump and the McMahons were chummy; I hadn't known that Linda and Vince McMahon were the largest single contributor to the Trump Foundation, a gift Karlis estimates to be around $5,000,000.

JH Roberts
  • JH Roberts
Next up, the University of Georgia's J.H. Roberts discussed activism in pro wrestling during the Trump presidency. Usefully, or perhaps crushingly for some, she defined activism as "not just saying things on Twitter, but doing things." Roberts provided a survey of some forms this has taken, both outward-facing (WWE Superstar Sami Zayn bankrolling a mobile medical clinic in Syria, indy star Zack Sabre Jr. donating merchandise profits to a transgender law center) and inward-facing, which is activism focused on improving pro wrestling itself.

The third panelist, Chris Maverick of Duquesne University, talked about models of performative masculinity in leadership, comparing Trump to Lincoln, an accomplished amateur wrestler, and then to various comic book villains and pro-wrestling characters. The highlight, for me, was the connection Maverick drew between Trump's compelling, crowd-pleasing yet contradictory or semantically incoherent rhetoric and the promos of Dusty Rhodes and the Ultimate Warrior.

Perhaps defying assumptions about those that do vs. those that teach, I discovered both Roberts and Maverick are or have been wrestlers themselves. Roberts is actively training as a pro wrestler, and is part of a collective she describes as "a pro wrestling promotion dedicated to exploring within the boundaries of pro wrestling what you can do with feminist and gender performance."

"For example," Roberts told me, "within pro wrestling there's Ultimo Dragon, Dragon Dragon, Super Dragon ... Drago, in Lucha Underground ... but [in our promotion] we have potentially the first-ever female dragon character. In her storylines she addresses things a female dragon would have to deal with that male dragons wouldn't — aspects of reproduction and female bodily autonomy."
Chris Maverick
  • Chris Maverick

Wrestling is brutal. "I'm in pain pretty much all the time," Roberts says of her training. "At the same time, it's nice to do something so purely physical because it lets me turn my brain off. It's also exciting to push myself in new ways and confront things I'm terrified of, like front flips— since if you don't do those you can't wrestle."

Chris Maverick is on the other side, having retired from in-ring competition. "I did it for six years," he told me. "My last match was maybe eight years ago. I wrestled exactly 50 matches in my career and mostly jobbed," meaning he lost to more prominent wrestlers.

Maverick, a lifelong wrestling fan, joined a wrestling school and started training at age 29. His overwhelmingly younger classmates all dreamed of getting to WWE. "My goal was a little different. I said to myself, 'I'm going to wrestle one match, maybe write a paper about it.' There were 15 of us in the class and only three of us finished because it was so grueling." Maverick's wrestling career did include a stint as a tag-team champ in a West Virginia promotion; it so happened I'd just seen his erstwhile tag-team partner, DJ Z, wrestle at Evolve 102 the night before.

"I wasn't great," Maverick said. "I was older and had bad knees when I started, so I knew my time was limited. I dislocated my shoulder four times... it's hard. It's a very rough sport."

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Editorial: The real 'fake news' is Sinclair Broadcast Group

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 7:38 PM

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By now you’ve probably seen the video of dozens of local news anchors around the country robotically reciting the same canned script warning viewers against “fake news.” The script was a diktat from the stations’ owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair owns and/or operates nearly 200 local TV stations around the country, including affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Telemundo and Univision. Soon, it likely will control even more.

Under President Donald Trump, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has loosened ownership laws that historically barred media companies from gaining monopolies in the markets they serve. Now, Sinclair is proposing a merger with Tribune Media, which would give it control of 233 local stations, according to a letter sent last month by U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas to the U.S. Department of Justice. The merger would give Sinclair even greater reach in new markets, including New Orleans, whose WGNO-TV (ABC) and WNOL-TV (CW) would become Sinclair stations.

Sinclair chairman David Smith has made his contempt for print journalism clear, telling New York magazine recently, “The print media is so left wing as to be meaningless dribble which accounts for why the industry is and will fade away. Just no credibility.”

OK. Let’s talk “credibility.”

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Landrieu to discuss Confederate monument removal on 60 Minutes this Sunday

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 2:45 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, right, shows 60 Minutes' Anderson Cooper where two of the Confederate statues are being stored. - COURTESY CBS/60 MINUTES
  • COURTESY CBS/60 MINUTES
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu, right, shows 60 Minutes' Anderson Cooper where two of the Confederate statues are being stored.

As he prepares to go on tour with his new book In the Shadow of Statues (reviewed here), Mayor Mitch Landrieu will appear on 60 Minutes Sunday night to discuss the removal of four Confederate-era monuments:
"Really what these monuments were, were a lie," says Landrieu. One of the statues removed was of Gen. P.G.T Beauregard, who ordered the first shots fired in the Civil War, another was a bronze figure of Confederate hero Gen. Robert E. Lee that stood for 133 years. "Robert E. Lee was used as an example to send a message to the rest of the country, and to all the people that lived here, that the Confederacy was a noble cause. And that's just not true."
During the segment, Landrieu shows host Anderson Cooper the secret site where two of the monuments are being stored; 60 Minutes, which agreed not to disclose the location, refers to it as a "shed."

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Sportscaster Jim Henderson announces retirement after 30 years as 'Voice of the Saints'

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 3:33 PM

Jim Henderson. - WVUE-TV
  • WVUE-TV
  • Jim Henderson.
"Turn down the TV and turn up Jim."

It's been a New Orleans Saints gameday ritual for decades — muting the television sound and tuning into the WWL Saints Radio Network to hear Jim Henderson call the game.

Those days are over. "Hondo" has announced his retirement.

“It’s time. This is a good year to go out," Henderson said in a press release from Entercom Communications today, "It was a great season; the Saints were in two highly competitive playoff games and the future looks bright. It’s good timing."

Henderson began working at WWL-TV in 1978 and moved to a part-time position at WVUE-TV in 2012. Among his most famous utterances was "Get ready to party with the Lombardi, New Orleans! The Saints have won the Super Bowl!"

Henderson, who brought a literate and seemingly effortless touch to the on-the-fly world of play-by-play announcing, worked for years calling game with the late Hokie Gajan. In recent years,  his on-air partner has been former Saints running back Deuce McAllister.

"In a way you wanna cry, but in a way you’re so happy and proud, because you know the work, the heart Jim put into his job," McAllister said in a statement. "This brought joy to everyone who loves Saints football."

No replacement was named. In the Entercom statement, Diane Newman, WWL-AM operations and program director, was quoted as saying "Now the search begins."

(And good luck with that.)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Catch U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond talking about race after tonight's State of the Union

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 2:52 PM

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond.
  • U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond.

The State of the Union address — the usually-annual policy speech the president delivers to Congress — returns tonight from its inauguration-year hiatus.

After the rhetoric (and clapping. endless clapping) winds down, a palate cleanser is available: you can catch Louisiana's very own U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond in a discussion about race and President Donald Trump with habitual New Orleans New Year's partier Don Lemon. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chair joins fellow members including U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge, James E. Clyburn and Robin Kelly in a discussion that airs on CNN at 9:30 p.m. Central.

There is perhaps a higher degree of excitement than usual about this year's State of the Union because it's Trump's first; in the past his tendency to wander off-script has startled aides and many wonder if he'll stick to prepared remarks this evening.

There also are several rather sedate protests and demonstrations planned by lawmakers, including black garb on some women Democrats meant to call attention to sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement and red pins worn by CBC members to commemorate Recy Taylor, a black woman who was raped by white men whose attackers never stood trial. Taylor's granddaughter also will attend the address.

All the big networks usually stream the speech, along with the cable news channels and their websites — catch it almost anywhere online at 8 p.m.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Who's being protected by bowdlerizing Trump's 'shithole' comment?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 4:57 PM

No, the republic did not crumble when CNN actually quoted the President of the United States without dashes, asterisks or euphemisms.
  • No, the republic did not crumble when CNN actually quoted the President of the United States without dashes, asterisks or euphemisms.

The news that President Donald Trump had called El Salvador, Haiti and the continent of Africa "shitholes" in a meeting with legislators created a lot of migraines for the D.C. GOP, but it also seemed to induce headaches inside newsrooms. Do you print what the president said in a headline? How about in the body of a story?

The Associated Press stylebook (which Gambit and many other newspapers use as a baseline standard) is clear on the subject:
obscenities, profanities, vulgarities: Do not use them in stories unless they are part of direct quotations and there is a compelling reason for them.
Trump's use of the word fulfills both criteria — so Gambit used it in an online headline, as did The New Orleans Advocate (though it later was changed to "s—-hole," the same choice made by NOLA.com). The Washington Post, which originally reported the story, had no problem with the word (though it didn't use it in today's print headline):
“When the president says it, we’ll use it verbatim,” says Post Executive Editor Marty Baron. “That’s our policy. We discussed it, quickly, but there was no debate.”

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sally-Ann Roberts to retire after 40 years at WWL-TV

Posted By on Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 12:25 PM

Sally-Ann Roberts (right) appeared on ABC's Good Morning America last year to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her sister Robin Roberts' life-saving bone marrow transplant.
  • Sally-Ann Roberts (right) appeared on ABC's Good Morning America last year to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her sister Robin Roberts' life-saving bone marrow transplant.

At a time when genuinely nice people sometimes seem in short supply, Sally-Ann Roberts is the real deal — which makes it bittersweet that she announced her retirement this morning on the WWL-TV Eyewitness Morning News. Roberts has been at the station for 40 years. Her last newscast will be Feb. 28.

“After much thought and prayer, I decided that it’s time to begin a new chapter in my life," she told viewers. "I don’t know what the future holds but I look forward to continuing to serve this community in the years to come and spend more time with my grandchildren.”

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Former WWL-TV anchor Hoda Kotb named permanent co-host of NBC's Today

Posted By on Tue, Jan 2, 2018 at 1:22 PM

Hoda Kotb (right) was named permanent co-host of NBC's Today this morning, joining longtime host Savannah Guthrie. - NBC NEWS/TODAY
  • NBC NEWS/TODAY
  • Hoda Kotb (right) was named permanent co-host of NBC's Today this morning, joining longtime host Savannah Guthrie.

Hoda Kotb, who became a New Orleans TV news favorite during her time at WWL-TV (1992 to 1998), was named permanent co-anchor of the Today show this morning. She succeeds Matt Lauer, who was fired from NBC in November after reports of sexual harassment.

Kotb became his replacement host, and the network saw strong ratings in December with the teaming of Kotb with Today host Savannah Guthrie.

Time magazine hailed the move: "Kotb is a completely logical hire — part of the Today universe for years, blessed with real journalistic chops but also a merry human touch," and former NBC News chief anchor Tom Brokaw tweeted his congratulations:
In 2010, Kotb talked to Gambit about her years in New Orleans and her first days at NBC:

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Friday, December 29, 2017

City issues street closure warnings for New Year's Eve, has no information on how to avoid Drunk Don Lemon

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 4:58 PM

New Year's Eve in New Orleans. - CREATIVE COMMONS/BART EVERSON
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/BART EVERSON
  • New Year's Eve in New Orleans.

Ah, the weekend when we kiss 2017 goodbye — or tell it to kiss our ass. (Spoiler alert: it's going to be cold.) Bourbon Street is still a construction mess (though we have sweet new bollards in place) and, of course, there are going to be street closures. On the other hand, we have a new fleur-de-lis ready to drop at midnight — and CNN favorite Drunk Don Lemon will be back to provide some Auld Lang Messy.

Below the cut: the city's announced street closures, which include "soft closures," "hard closures," the Insurance Company Sugar Bowl parade and a New Year's Eve closure of Frenchmen Street.

Now bring on 2018.

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