Local Newsers: Doing More With Less, Making More Mistakes? Ponder the Hamster’s Mugshot

Look, we’re all doing the best we can. Our newsrooms are smaller, jobs are being eliminated, people are learning to do jobs they’ve never done before; producers making their own graphics, reporters shooting their own stories, etc. So is this a pretty process? Hardly.

So. This brings us to the hamster who was falsely accused of a nasty crime in Connecticut this week. Kinda funny, kinda sad, and kinda a this-is-where-we-are moment in local news: those fatter newsrooms may have had duplication and excess layers, but they also had more eyes and people who could look at things before they got on the air.

Doesn’t that matter? Or are we all too stressed to get the show on the air and keep our jobs to worry about what the product looks like anymore?

Whoa. Was I just preaching? Watch the clip.


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7 responses to “Local Newsers: Doing More With Less, Making More Mistakes? Ponder the Hamster’s Mugshot

  1. cjn

    It’s *always* the hamster!

  2. Just watched the video. Obviously, somebody wasn’t paying attention! Did they not even bother to find a mugshot of suspect?

  3. Kim

    Um, yes… they probably DID find a mugshot of the suspect Walter.

    However, with automated graphics systems, if the producer types in “mug34”, it may have been replaced by something else, or saved in the wrong place. The director shouldn’t have taken the box, and/or someone should have been looking at the list of upcoming gfx to see that it was wrong.

    That’s the point of this particular story. Sometimes, when folks have to wear too many hats at once, they end up wearing the jester’s hat.

    Then the dunce cap.

  4. Ben

    I’d like to know under what circumstances would that hamster mugshot be created in the first place. I get putting up the wrong mugshot, pulling up dirtbag B when you really wanted to show dirtbag A. But how does dirtbag hamster ever find it’s way into the news graphics system?!

  5. Ben,

    I’ve talked to a lot of people with conspiracy theories and explanations, from sabotage to the-hamster-was-a-placeholder-image that should’ve been, you know, what’s the word–replaced.

    So c’mon, FSBers…. what happened? Spill it!


  6. David Palomares

    The “mugshot” of the hamster is used as a placeholder on the templates, I’m a television production student and I have been always told to preview the graphic before airing it. I had at one point worked Director/TD/Audio and its a pain in the ***. So I know how they feel, just not every night.

  7. David,

    You’ve got to love the idea of a mortifyingly improper graphic used as a placeholder–a hamster with a movie clapper? seriously?–it’s like whoever designed the system said “this is so bad there’s no way anyone would EVER let the placeholder image get on the air.”

    Uh… whoopsie!


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