Sports, tech snafus zap media coverage of teachers’ strike

As Chicago teachers head for the picket line, media coverage of the strike has been filled with some miscues and some frustration from local news stations due to sports overruns. 

If you watched ABC 7’s (WLS-TV’s) newscast Sunday night, technical snafus took place as video from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s press conference at the Harold Washington Library often looked choppy and dropped out at times. Blame it on ABC 7 and the other local stations using a “air cellular card” to transmit video signals. Other stations’ video quality were somewhat better, but not by much. As one tweeter put it, the new technology (whatever it was called) was a “one step below Skype”.

In fact, the video looked like it was being shot through an iPhone.

This was the second time ABC 7 has been hampered by automation; technical difficulties  plagued a 10 p.m. newscast last month.

As for coverage of the strike, many stations were forced to stick with sports programming: when the teachers’ union called a press conference at 10 p.m. Sunday night, NBC 5 (WMAQ) stuck with the Steelers-Broncos Sunday Night Football game, missing an huge opportunity to shift news coverage of the strike to its 5.2 digital Chicago Non-Stop channel.

CBS 2 (WBBM) meanwhile, was hampered with weather-delayed U.S. Open Tennis overruns Sunday night and saw its entire early afternoon and access news and syndicated block wiped out by the Men’s Final on Monday, which ran approximately 4 hours and 54 minutes (in case your wondering, Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic to win the title.)

Most stations started their newscasts at 4 a.m., and provided extended strike coverage.

The teachers’ strike – the first one in 25 years – made national headlines as both Today and Good Morning America led their shows with the story Monday morning. Unfortunately for us in the Windy City, we’ve been accustomed to making global headlines for the wrong reasons the last few years, thanks to Chicago’s failed Olympic bid, a skyrocketing murder rate (even though other cities – such as St. Louis and Baltimore – have just as much out-of-control gun violence), the Drew Peterson trial, and the mismanagement at Tribune Co. and Merlin Media. Even our sports teams didn’t come out unscathed – the White Sox’s success in the standings has not translated to success at the box office (as noted by the New York Times), while the team’s announcer (Hawk Harrelson) makes national headlines, either for running his mouth too much or not running it at all.

And of course, a local TV station hired a village idiot to simulcast his morning radio show.

Any way you look at it, I guess the biased East Coast Media got tired of beating up on Detroit and Cleveland.

Knowing our luck, Lake Michigan will probably catch fire next.