Friday, October 08, 2010

Local news

On my long list of Things to Eventually Write About is the Portland Metro Area daily news, from my perspective. My third apartment in Portland was also my first that had cable. The combination of that and my unemployment yielded some daytime TV watching, and I will never forget the first time I left the TV on long enough to catch the news. I was awestruck.

It took me several weeks after moving into a place with cable to actually watch the local news, because the habit I developed to cope with the doom and gloom I've come to expect from local news is to run into the living room as soon as Oprah/All My Days of Our One Life to Live/Family Feud is over, lunge at the TV, and turn it off no later than the first line of the opening credits of the news show.

Where I come from, local news shows theoretically cover the New York tri-state area, but in reality, they cover New York City. The New York City news that does get broadcast is arguably unimportant and depressing. Not only do the shows devote an unwholesome percentage of their time to covering news not relevant to the general public, but approximately 99% of that news is bad news. New Jersey, Connecticut, and parts of New York not included in the domain of Mayor Bloomberg appear only when they've hosted a significantly ridiculous and horrific piece of news.

In short, it's news that I feel I'd be better off not knowing. Such as the following:

A fire in the Bronx this morning killed three people and a kitten. Sources believe the fire was intentionally started by a five-month-old baby.

Or:

Bad news from medical experts in New Jersey today. A new study shows that rates of a new strain of flu caused by exposure to air pollution have gone up among schoolchildren in Essex County. The New Jersey Department of Transportation is investigating adding a thirteenth &mdash Wow! Lucky thirteen! &mdash lane to the GSP, plus twelve more toll plazas between Clifton and East Orange, as an effort to reduce traffic and encourage carpooling.

One day, I didn't make it to the TV in time. The credits had completed, the smiling anchormen and anchorwomen had introduced themselves, and the first news story had been announced. And it was so pleasant. Transfixed, I was unable to leave the couch, my eyes glued to the TV and a peaceful smile pasted on my face.

A neighborhood in Southeast Portland mourns the loss of a longtime friend. A fifty-year-old oak tree fell victim to last night's storm. Neighbors gathered where the oak had stood to have a moment of silence for Otto, as the oak was known.

and:

The cause of today's power outage that left the Sellwood and Brooklyn neighborhoods and parts of Milwaukie in darkness has been identified. The blackout was caused by a racoon, and &mdash oh look! There he is now! PGE officials captured the cute little critter and brought him to the Oregon Zoo, where they've named him Bandit!

Last night, my roommates, our guests, and I saw a dozen cop cars zooming, sirens blaring, eastbound on the main road closest to our house. This morning, I searched the local news websites trying to figure out if anything interesting had happened. I never did learn what those dozen cop cars were after, but I found more proof that what's news here is far different from what is news in the New York Metro Area. For example:


1. A photo montage of cows fighting off a bear
2. Portland man finds strangers in his bathtub coated with mud, wearing his Ducks jersey. My favorite part? "Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson, when asked to verify the type of Oregon football jersey, didn't hide his allegiance to the Beavers* by replying: 'Ducks jersey...Dirty ducks!'"
3. Although not in Oregon at all, this was a top story in national news. Woman mistakenly uses glue instead of eye drops. (Don't worry, she's okay!)


* For my non-Northwestern readers, the Ducks are the sports team of the University of Oregon; Oregon State University's sports team is the Beavers.

I believe I've already covered the locals news coverage of the weather.


* For my non-Northwestern readers, the Ducks are the sports team of the University of Oregon, and the Beavers are the sports team of Oregon State University.

4 comments:

Deb said...

How true! We get the Philadelphia news & the only thing I watch for is the weather forecast & even then...Not so much.

And, oh my! That poor bear! lol

Sarah said...

I'm pretty curious how the Philadelphia news compares to the New York news. Is it just as dramatically depressing?

LS said...

Now, there is the option of not having TV and cable at all... like us, for maybe 5 years now. Netflix, Newsweek, and New York Times online fills us up with the most recent and very selected news :)

OK, I have to admit I read the really bad and sensational Swedish newspaper online everyday too... I guess that is my weak spot. And do they talk about depressing things! And murders, and horses caught in fires, and women being raped, and so on... I don't even know why I read it, maybe because it is in Swedish.

Sarah said...

LS, it's that dark side of Swedish culture! (Kidding.)