Newscasts without Olympic News


In 2014, local stations are still censoring the Olympic news so that NBC can tape delay the "best parts" on the Olympic games in Sochi.

In Milwaukee WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) has decided its newscasts at 5 and 6 p.m. should be news-free zones in terms of some results of events from the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The station does not report the results of competitions in the Olympics that are part of NBC-TV’s primetime presentation that night. The policy also applies to the station’s one-half hour Olympics show at 6:30 p.m. 

Channel 4 is an NBC affiliate owned by Journal Broadcast, which is part of Journal Communications, which owns the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Sochi, Russia’s time zone is 10 hours ahead of Milwaukee time, so results of events are in way before the evening news gets around to them.

In the past, some stations have adopted the spoiler alert method of reporting results, telling viewers to turn away from the set or turn off the sound if they would rather not know what happened, because a segment of the audience prefers watching in primetime without knowing outcomes.

But Chris Gegg, the news director of WISN-TV (Channel 12), said the station is not using spoiler alerts for this Olympics.

“We believe that social media and technology are certainly changing the way people experience the Games,” Gegg said. “Even though NBC won’t show the key events until primetime, the results are out there on Twitter, Facebook and other social media and news sites. Viewers expect us to report the results, as they happen. They expect us to be their resource for news and information, so most assume the latest Olympic results are already airing in our newscasts.” 

“NBC Nightly News” with Brian Williams on Tuesday decided to forego the spoiler alert in the instance of Shaun White’s fourth-place finish in the halfpipe. Williams just reported it in a straightforward way that the popular U.S. snowboarder did not win a medal.

But Channel 4’s local evening reports did not include what happened to White.

“Well, obviously we can’t control what NBC decides to do in their particular news broadcast,” said the vice president of local programming and marketing for Journal Broadcast, Jim Thomas. “They don’t consult with us on what they are going to do. . . . They do give us a lineup of what is going to be in primetime, subject to change. And so we try and be respectful of the audience and not report the results.”

H/T Milwaukee Journal