Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tale of Two (or more) Cities

As long as we are still in the midst of the holiday season, I thought that it would be a good time to share this observation made by an alert reader.  She had the foresight and where-with-all to record a portion of the WPTV Channel 5 morning newscast from December 11.  You might recall that Saturday was the day of our Holiday Festival and parade through downtown Lake Worth.  It would take a while for me to digitally transfer to the blog, so for ease of communication, here is the transcript of two sections of the newscast.  The anchor was Marci Gonzalez.

"Here's a look at the Community Calendar.  The City of Delray Beach is kicking off the season with its annual holiday parade.  Festivities get underway at 6 p.m. on Atlantic Avenue.  This year's theme is "Disco in December." It's free.  Okeechobee is also getting into the holiday spirit with the Christmas festival in the park which begins in the park at 9 this morning and it will end with a parade at 6 p.m.  And if you want to head a little further south, you and your pup can go to "Bark-a-Paloosa" - all dogs are welcome for a special day at the green market in Pompano Beach.  There will be a dog wash benefiting "No Paws Left Behind"...If you have an event that you would like to announce, go to and click on the Community Calendar link..."

And then this for Lake Worth:

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and it might be a little bit of a headache for motorists trying to make their way through downtown Lake Worth today.  The city will have its annual holiday parade starting tonight at 6 p.m.  You can expect road closures on Lake Avenue today from 3 to about 9 p.m. and also road closures on Lucerne."

This is a perfect example of what happens when you have someone who knows where to send what information.  It seems that the city of Lake Worth announcement only consisted of a press release from PBSO about road closures.  This is useful information for some, but creates the image and the thought in people's minds that they need to avoid Lake Worth during the times of the road closure.  This announcement, since it came from PBSO, and had no other relevant information, ended up in the "hard" news section of the program.

In contrast, under the Community Calendar portion of the broadcast, the public learns about all the holiday fun happening in Delray Beach, Okeechobee and Pompano Beach.  Delray also had a parade as part of their festivities, but no announcement about street closures and the like - which there surely were, no doubt.

Where would you have liked to go on that Saturday if you lived in Wellington or Jupiter?  Another example of the need for a public information officer - or, short of that, someone that would act as one and know what they're doing in a part-time capacity.