The unique character of local TV newsI am writing in...

the Forum

May 22, 1991

The unique character of local TV news

I am writing in response to R.H. Gardner's May 13 Other Voices column, "Crisis on the 5 o'clock news." I take exception to the notion that WMAR-TV is frivolous when it comes to the very serious business of gathering and reporting the news. Mr. Gardner has confused the news itself with promotional spots designed to highlight the camaraderie of our news team.

Mr. Gardner refers to an incident on Channel 2 News at 5 where Stan Stovall plays a practical joke on Sally Thorner. That was not the news, but a promotional spot that airs throughout the day. The scene involving snow being sprinkled on Norm Lewis was also part of a promotional spot. Do we want people to believe we are silly and irreverent when it comes to gathering and delivering the news? Certainly not. But do we want people to know our anchors like and respect each other, are comfortable and confident in their delivery of the news and get along as friends? You bet.

Mr. Gardner's comments also suggest that national and local news are interchangeable. That is simply not the case. Local news has a time-honored tradition of being involved and committed to the community it serves. National news, as delivered by the three networks, is more or less a newscast of record.

Local newscasters participate in community events and communicate with their viewers on an almost personal level. Ask an average television news viewer why he or she watches one newscast versus another. You'll undoubtedly be told it is because he or she trusts the individual delivering the news. We build that trust through our work as journalists that is what you see when you watch Channel 2 News. We continually remind our viewers of those attributes that make our newscast and news people stand out from the pack that is what you get in a promotional message. It is sometimes easy to confuse the two.

Arnold J. Kleiner


The writer is president and general manager of WMAR-TV.

Way out for Quayle

Vice President Quayle must know he will never gain the public's confidence. He may be re-elected on President Bush's coattails. All it will mean is four more years of being the butt of comedians' jokes and the intense scrutiny of news media waiting to pounce on any misstatement that he might make in public appearance.

Dan Quayle can gain the respect that eludes him now by announcing, in the near future, that he will not be a candidate for vice president.

Stanley M. Oring


A champ for all

In the May 15 forum, Robin Howell said that Babe Ruth's "name and accomplishments will always be associated with the New York Yankees . . ."

I disagree. Babe Ruth's name and accomplishments are bigger than any one team. Even a team with the history of the Yankees.

The Babe belongs to everyone who loves the game of baseball. When I think of him, I don't think about the Yankees. The Yankees just happened to be the team he played for the longest; he played for more than one team during his career. No, I think of baseball.

It would be entirely appropriate for any team, no matter the city, to name a stadium in honor of Babe Ruth. In fact, I hope we do before some expansion team does!

As for the "House that Ruth Built" argument, ask any teen-ager what it is, and more than likely you will get . . . huh?

Leon Roberson



Name the new stadium after the man who for years was and still is the voice of the Baltimore Orioles. Yes, I am talking about Chuck Thompson, who without a doubt was and still is the best.

The "Chuck Thompson Stadium" has a nice ring to it. Let's honor this man by naming the new stadium after him.

ewis Hedgepeth


Blame the men

I read Wiley Hall 3rd's article about the eleven-year-old drug carrier in which he said, rightly, that the adults in this child's life were not doing their job well.

More specifically, it is the men who are lax, poor role models.

It is men who deal drugs and men who are killing each other on the streets. It is men who conceive children and leave the mother and child to exist on welfare.

It is men who are the majority in ruling positions in government and business, and in our educational institutions. It is mostly men who lead churches and synagogues. It is men who control the entertainment industry which produces pornography to exploit women and children.

Stand up, men, and accept the responsibility that is yours! You can change this country for the better if you will.

Mary Nichols


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