With aging audience demographics, local news stations may be feeling some pressure to try and attract younger viewers. But if that’s what WTOL 11 (a CBS affiliate in Toledo, Ohio, previously seen on this site when their Facebook page got dragged after they lost the end of a Browns-Bengals game in 2013) was going for with whatever this news segment was, boy, did they miss the mark:
i cannot believe this is my city’s news station…i cannot believe this is real pic.twitter.com/MBfa7Zu5E6
— space goth coast 2 coast 🗡 (@G0NEGIRLLL) March 27, 2019
Holy Toledo! Let’s try and transcribe the disaster that is that segment:
“Good morning, TPS students! It is testing week, and it’s time to slay all day!”
“Yeet! Stay woke, be on fleek, and get that Gucci breakfast.”
“GOOOOALLLLS! Say ‘Bye, Felicia’ to that testing stress! Weather’s going to be turnt, right, Chris?”
“YAAASSSS! Toledo weather gonna be the lit during testing week! A hundo p chance of success. You’ve got this, kids! Steve, how bout that traffic? Are we looking OKURRRRRRR?”
“Better than OKURRRRRRR! We’re talking turnt! FOMO won’t be an issue! No traffic problems around any TPS schools to keep you from taking those tests!”
Update: The station announced Thursday that this was not an aired segment, but rather something shown just to Toledo public school students to…encourage them to show up for standardized testing? And that it was…supposed to be bad? Here’s more from a post on their website called “It’s time to spill the tea on WTOL’s cringe-worthy video“:
“The intent from the very beginning was to help TPS students take the tests and to get the district the funding it needs,” said Brian Lorenzen, WTOL General Manager. “This was one of several messages provided by area leaders and media outlets meant to show support and provide encouragement.”
So, WTOL went to work to try to encourage and to, well, connect. We created a not-for-television-broadcast video that could be shared with students and on social media.
“It’s all about the kids and being relatable to them. We wanted to do something encouraging and fun,” said Steven Jackson, WTOL Morning Traffic anchor. “By doing this, not only are we empowering students, but we’re strengthening our community.”
While the video, which was shared with the district days before the release, was admittedly “cringe-worthy”, that was by design.
“We know as journalists, community leaders and human beings that we can’t just report on problems in our communities. We have a responsibility to try and help,” said Melissa Andrews, WTOL Morning Anchor. “When we heard what was on the line, we felt like we had to do something different to connect with these kids. This was an effort to reach kids where they are—on social media and to give them a laugh at our expense.
Well, they got a laugh at your expense all right, but this doesn’t seem to be really “reaching kids where they are” or “being relatable to them.” This was about as relatable as the “How do you do, fellow kids?” guy on 30 Rock:
But even the fake shows on 30 Rock were more believable than this. How about you stop with the slang, WTOL, and just give us “Sports Shouting,” “MILF Island,” or “Black Frasier”? As it is, we’ll have to add you to the pile of regrettable local news segments, next to the San Diego inflatable run, the Los Angeles electric scooter, and the New York attempt to make Grumpy Cat smile.
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