We must do something about the poor reporters

Despite the dire warnings of cold snaps, the depressing weather forecasts that call for highs in the range of -20 and wind chills that drop right off the scale, there are professionals out there ready, willing and able to brave those awful conditions unnecessarily for the sake of their jobs.

I’m speaking, of course, about television reporters.

Every day, dozens of them roam the city, looking for a suitable backdrop for their story about health care or education or politics, and for many the ideal spot for a stand-up report is standing on a street corner. It’s active, it’s bright, in some cases it might even be relevant to the story.

But in most cases, they’re patently unnecessary.

Something must be done.

I warn you, the images below may disturb you. Each features a television reporter standing outside long enough to welcome frostbite for a mere 20 or 30 seconds of TV time (some are from this week, others are from last winter, when conditions were not quite as severe). Some are “live hits” just for the sake of it. Others are prepackaged reports. In both cases, reporters have to stand much longer than they appear on camera, keeping still, with the wind wiping away whatever warmth they might hope to generate with their bodies.

Valerie Boyer

Global’s Valerie Boyer reports on computer hacking. In the middle of the street.

Caroline Plante

Global’s Caroline Plante reports on the Castonguay report on health care. Outside, in the dark.

Amanda Jelowicki

Global’s Amanda Jelowicki reports on Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence and Canadian reaction to it. From the sidewalk of a residential street.

Domenic Fazioli

Global’s Domenic Fazioli reports on police looking for two suspects, in front of a bus shelter.

Elysia Bryan-Baynes

Global’s Elysia Bryan-Baynes reports on small hospitals that don’t want to merge with superhospitals, in front of a hospital.

Tim Sargeant

Global’s Tim Sargeant reports on an economic government trade-deal something-or-other.

Amanda Margison

CBC’s Amanda Margison reports on a water main break downtown, 12 hours after it happened, from in front of City Hall (the break was over a kilometre west of there).

Cindy Sherwin

CTV’s Cindy Sherwin, desperate to keep warm, reports on the same water main break (though at least in daylight).

Caroline Van Vlaardigen

CTV’s Caroline van Vlaardigen reports on Hydro-Quebec asking people to reduce electricity usage, from the middle of the street.

Tarah Schwartz

CTV’s Tarah Schwartz reports on a story about whether unions should take part in protests. From some street somewhere (after having interviewed a subject in a warm building).

There have been no published reports of lasting injuries because of reporters being forced to stand out in the cold, but this is no reason to continue this barbaric act. Even dogs get better treatment than this.

We must do something now. Call or email your local TV station and demand they bring these poor defenceless creatures in from the cold.

Thank you.

8 thoughts on “We must do something about the poor reporters

  1. Tim Burden

    TV reporters make up for taking all the facts out of their stories by providing interesting backdrops. And by punishing themselves, since we can’t. I believe they may all be self-flagellators.

  2. ladyjaye

    Geez, Global and CTV can’t include tuques in their budget? Only two reporters in the bunch at least looked dressed to be outside…

  3. MAB

    “CTV’s Tarah Schwartz reports on a story about whether unions should take part in protests. From some street somewhere (after having interviewed a subject in a warm building).”

    That’s not just some street, she’s in front of my apartment on Cartier in the background! CTV’s headquarters are right next door…at least she didn’t have to go far to warm up.

  4. Isaac Lin

    In Ottawa, on the CBC news, updates on the current transit strike is given by a reporter doing a standup… right outside of the Ottawa studio. It is often where they do standups on transit stories, since it is a major bus artery (similar to how CFCF used to do transit story standups outside its former Oglivy studio by the Parc Metro station), but of course with the strike on, there’s no chance of seeing a bus passing by to supposedly add context to the story. And when the anchor and reporter are within ~ 100 m of each other, it seems silly to conduct a supposedly remote interview (particularly during the current cold snap).

  5. Jean Naimard

    Yes, tuques and mitaines… That’s the secret.

    I have a good friend who comes from the Pacific Islands. Yes, those very same Pacific Islands we all dream about those days, islands full of cute brown people.

    He never wears gloves.

    He never wears a hat.

    He doesn’t have a scarf.

    He doesn’t know what long johns are for.

    He has a huge duvet doudoune (look it up).

    He wears sneakers year long.

    And he has the nerve to tell us the winter is *COLD*…

  6. Nancy

    Wow, Tim Sargeant looks like he’s uber pissed off at being outside!

    Is there a reason *why* reports are done outside?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      1. It’s bright, negating the need for setting up lights
      2. It’s active, there are cars or people moving in the background
      3. It’s cool when you can have a live hit with a reporter, even when it’s patently unnecessary
      4. It’s convenient. Anywhere you are, you can just go outside and stand near the satellite truck (if you’re doing it live).
      5. When standing outside a location of significance (say, city hall), you have a story-relevant backdrop.

      Of course, many of these don’t apply to the reports in this post.


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