Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rating Local Coverage of Presidential Visit

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rating Local Coverage of Presidential Visit

Article excerpt

PRESIDENT Bill Clinton was in town last week, and a comparison of the 10 p.m. news coverage shows some strengths and some weaknesses for each station.

Channel 4 allotted 4 minutes, 45 seconds to the visit. Channels 5 and 30 spent around 6 minutes each, while Channel 2 gave the visit 7 minutes.

The Channel 2 figure is deceptive, though, because 30 seconds was wasted by Roche Madden discussing what was served for dinner at the Trans World Dome fund-raiser.

Each station started with Clinton's evening activities and gave us parts of his speech at the fund-raiser.

Channels 5 and 2 offered the widest range of subjects from the speech. But a check of all four stations showed virtually no repetition of clips from the president's remarks, which indicates that nothing special was said in the speech. (When a special sound bite turns up, everyone tends to use it.)

Channel 30's choice of clips offered the least substance, as Clinton mainly just repeated what he had done during the day. We knew his itinerar y already.

Channel 4 offered reaction from St. Louis Chief of Police Ron Henderson to the president's remarks about crime - the only station to provide such follow-up.

Channel 30's coverage was marred by poor camera work as the picture bobbed up and down. Poor editing was also apparent, as we saw people standing and applauding but heard only Clinton speaking. Later, Rep. Dick Gephardt was clearly cut off in the middle of a sentence.

Channel 30 also said Clinton was here for "what has to be Missouri's first taste of Campaign '96." Where have they been?

Channel 4 had a slight embarrassment when anchor Julius Hunter asked reporter Margie Ellisor if the president had seen the pickets outside. She couldn't hear him because of noise at the function. Hunter repeated the question, only to be told by Ellisor that she didn't know.

Each station also recapped the earlier events of the day, although Channel 5 spent the least time doing so. …

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