"Why do the stations send a reporter & camera crew to remote locations to do a shoot where nothing is happening? I saw one recently, it was 630am, the reporter was talking about some misfortune that had happened to a little kid, from the kid's elementary school. No kids/teachers/anybody around, it's dark and very cold. What numb-skulls send you out to do that? It hardly seems worth the time for a remote on something like that."Well, Crash (if that is your real name), you're obviously not a very sophisticated TV News viewer. If you were, you'd know that seemingly meaningless live shot actually added immediacy, heft and intrinsic street cred to your local affiliate's continuous team smotherage. At least that's what those well-dressed strangers told us back in the 80's. Since then, the notion that unrehearsed remotes lend credence to important stories has morphed into the same old song and dance. Stations beefed up their fleet and now they move them around the region like so many overly logo'd chess pieces. "Live for the sake of Live", the field rats say as we unwind the same spool of cable we've unwound a thousand times before. Which leads us to a most unworthy term.
DOG LICK LIVE SHOT: A live shot performed at a place and/or time that is fundamentally irrelevant to the story. Spawned by consultants, done by rote. Named for the old joke "Why does a dog lick himself? Because he can."
That's right, Crash, you fell upon a 'Dog-Lick Live'. You might want to wash your hands. But while you do, know that those of us under the shadow of the mast are (mostly) at peace with our roadside fate. Sure, we may whine a little when we're ordered to babysit a four day old pothole, but anyone who bitches for more than a minute is wasting everybody's time. You might as well stop by the vending machines and yell at the Moon-Pies for being more than six months old. Lately, I MYSELF have been spotted working the mobile newsroom. Why, just the other evening the tough yet lovely Katie Nordeen and I camped outside the Alamance County Sheriff's Department, miles away from the scene of the crime we'd spent the day digesting. The particulars were grim, the shift was long and the weather so frigid, I wiped away my eyelashes. As for Katie, she held up well - though you know it's cold when the Minnesota girl is shivering. Luckily, we could warm ourselves us with the knowledge we were doing important work.
Just ask the consultants.