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Talking points in D-FW television news

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Johnny Archer, Amanda Guerra, Remeisha Shade, Newy Scruggs.

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Extenuating circumstances came into play. But even so, Saturday’s 10 p.m. newscast on NBC5 may have been a first for a D-FW English language TV station.

Someone out there might remember this happening before. But in my 35 years of covering TV in this market, I can’t recall ever seeing all four anchor posts filled by minorities.

Specifically, news anchors Johnny Archer and Amanda Guerra were accompanied by meteorologist Remeisha Shade and sports anchor Newy Scruggs on Saturday’s NBC5 late nighter.

Archer was filling in for regular weekend P.M. anchor Kevin Cokely. Scruggs, the longtime head sports guy at NBC5, usually doesn’t work on Saturdays. But there he was from Arizona as the station’s Super Bowl XLIX point man -- even if was only because NBC telecast the game on Sunday.

I’m not making a huge deal of this. But it seems to be worth noting as a possible history-maker in D-FW.

Also for the record: NBC5’s Saturday 10 p.m. newscast finished a solid second in total D-FW viewers, trailing competitor Gannett8 by a score of 188,298 viewers to 174,350. And NBC5 ran first among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) by a margin of 88,902 viewers to 80,012.

***There’s been no announced final decision yet and the station isn’t commenting. But the long search for an early morning weekday news co-anchor at CBS11 appears to have boiled down to two major male contenders, one of whom would join the recently transplanted Karen Borta.

Several sources at the station say that Morgan Chesky of Oklahoma City’s KOCO-TV and Rob Collins of Kansas City’s WDAF-TV are the frontrunners for the position. Both have Texas ties and have interviewed/auditioned at CBS11 .

Chesky, who has been with KOCO since January 2013, is a Sam Houston State University graduate who grew up in Kerrville, TX and previously worked at KVUE-TV in Austin and KLTV-TV in Tyler.

Collins, who joined WDAF in September of 2012, is a Texas A&M graduate who earlier worked at KXII-TV in Sherman.

Both Chesky and Collins have been weekend anchors at their current stations.

***The Fort Worth Police Officers Association’s Facebook page has lashed CBS11 for naming and picturing an officer who was shot early Thursday night. Why? Because the station publicized that information, first via a Tweet by reporter Arezow Doost, before the FWPOA gave permission. “The media was asked to respect the wishes of the family until a decision was made to release his information,” says the FWPOA. “The unprofessionalism by CBS11 News Director Mike Garber and reporter Arezow Doost will NOT be tolerated in regards to the request for privacy of an officer who is shot in the line of duty.”

The comments quickly piled up into the thousands, with an overwhelming majority sharply criticizing CBS11. Suggested reprisals are a boycott of the station and its advertisers, the firings of Garber and Doost, etc. You can scroll and scroll some more via the above link provided. Sources at CBS11 say the station’s switchboard has been flooded with complaints.

The FWPOA also praised rival news organizations for agreeing to withhold the officer’s identity until being given permission to publicize it.

Here’s the deal, though. Officer Shane Drake was shot shortly before 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29th. Doost didn’t post his name and picture until late the following morning, just before CBS11’s 11 a.m. newscast. The station reportedly had been tipped that rival stations were ready to publicize his name on their noon newscasts.

The officer’s next of kin obviously knew of his medical status by then. In fact, Drake already had been operated on, with Doost tweeting, “Sgt. Shane Drake was shot at least once in his abdomen. He had to undergo surgery and expected to be ok.”

People can get out their pitchforks if they like. But from this perspective, roughly 16 hours seems to be ample time to notify the officer’s immediate family members. This was, after all, a police officer shooting. And Officer Drake wasn’t on his death bed. On the contrary he was on the mend.

These can be tough calls to make. But if I always waited for D-FW television station managements to officially confirm personnel changes -- particularly firings -- I’d still be waiting to this day for ousters that happened years ago.

It should also be noted that CBS11 generally has been this market’s most forthcoming station in terms of confirming personnel moves. So at least they’re not being entirely hypocritical on that score.

Rival stations also have previously put out information before official bodies gave their blessings. Sometimes you have to cut bait and go with what you know if it’s based on very solid information. In this case, CBS11 waited an appreciable length of time before publicizing the officer’s name and also picturing him. I’m not sure where the harm was at that point. But I am sure that commenters love to pile on -- oftentimes in grammatically challenged fashion.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net