Behind the News and in the Studio...

Behind The News
December 15, 2010 11:27:09 AM PST
It's always fascinating when we have visiting groups here to watch the newscasts. Maybe it's the ham in me, but I like having a "live audience" in attendance.

They see the news from a very different perspective. They sit off to the side where we're just people sitting at a big desk and looking into a camera. It's not at all like watching it on TV, where our heads take up most of the screen.

Watching the weather cast is the biggest thrill for most people. Our weathercasters stand before a huge blank wall - there's nothing on it. The maps and the radar and the AccuTrack and the high and low numbers -- all of it is put on the screen electronically. They see themselves in the camera - and they have monitors off to the side. It is not an easy thing to do. In fact, when they lift their left arm to point to the wall, in the camera it appears that their other arm is going up.

Think about it. The image is flipped; They are seeing themselves, literally, from the other side of the camera.

Today we have a group of girl scouts visiting the set, and they'll be surprised when they see our studio, because they've seen it only from a TV set at home. Kind of like going to Yankee or Shea Stadium for the first time.

But they'll get accustomed to it.

What will be more interesting today is how they'll react to the actual news. We have a disgraced Governor, who has three daughters just slightly older than the girls who will visit here today, who is accused of having illegal sex with a young woman --- who's also just slightly older than the girls who will be here. What are they thinking as we report the story, and show the modeling pictures published today of "Kristen"? What are they thinking about men and their sometimes odd behavior (to be charitable in my description)?

Chances are we won't get into that discussion after the news is over, but I hope someone talks to them about it. And by someone, I mean their parents.

We spend no small amount of time thinking, especially on our earlier evening newscasts, how kids who are watching will react to what we're presenting. We are well aware that the audience at 5 and 6 p.m. is quite different in age from the audience at 11 p.m. We don't pull our punches in terms of the stories, but we are definitely more aware of G-ratings at the earlier time slot.

We will have the latest on the sex scandal, and the beginning of the transition to the David Paterson era in Albany, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're taking a look at those new car insurance policies that protect against theft. The theory is that if your car gets stolen -- you get paid. It happened to one local car buyer - but his insurance company wouldn't pay. Until he honked for help and got Tappy Phillips and 7 On Your Side.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, the AccuWeather forecast and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

And one other note: I'll be on vacation next week. This column will resume on Monday, March 24.

BILL RITTER


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