Local TV newscasts actually do want to see pictures of your winter vacation

Longtime Denver residents understand that snowstorm coverage on local TV newscasts tends to follow a familiar pattern. First, live shots of assorted correspondents freezing their asses off alongside various roads and occasionally holding up handfuls of snow, as if the stuff falling in the background wasn't illustration enough. Next, extended forecast segments loaded with colorful Doppler radar imagery and predictions that generally play up the potential for catastrophe, followed by reports about traffic slowdowns, closures and the like. And once that's done, the crew loops back and does it all over again.

In recent years, however, a new element has entered the picture: photos sent in by viewers. But while this staple can occasionally be useful and interesting (as well as revenue enhancing, particularly on the web, where each mouse click registers as a page view), stations tend to overuse it in this period of short staffing and limited resources. A few pics of people's backyards are okay. But a dozen of them turn viewers into the equivalent of guests at '50s-era dinner parties forced to smile uncomfortably as their hosts cycle through roughly 400 slides they took during their trip to the Grand Canyon. Guess you had to be there.

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