February 2005 (v7 i4)
Counting the Ways Since 1997
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Heartbreaking story coming up next
Anchor works extra hard to feign appropriate emotion
by Chanice Jan, Associate Editor

"Tonight at 10: Watch me devour a fetid
skull."
SAN ANTONIO, TX — Local News 6 anchorman Alex Lucero put extra effort into looking sympathetic when he announced that a "heartbreaking" story of a "gut-wrenching, horrible" tragedy would follow after a short commercial break.

Lucero's announcement occurred immediately after the broadcast of a special "News 6 Investigative Undercover Crew Investigates for You" feature that had been advertised in commercials all morning with the teaser, "Could your child be at risk for a violent poisonous silent killer molestation danger death?"

The feature, about a local Dairy Queen's dirty bathrooms, was finally broadcast after Lucero and co-anchor Brenda Billups feigned concern as they covered "breaking news" about what Billups deemed "a real wreck of an accident" on Loop 410.

According to Lucero, the driver who caused the "messy pileup" was "incredibly lucky" to escape with "just a few scrapes and bruises." Lucero then forced a half-frown half-smirk and incredulous head-shake.

Billups took the next story, about an uncontrollable blaze that had consumed hundreds of acres of forest and destroyed four residential areas.

"Wow, and I thought the Spurs were on fire," responded Lucero.

After a momentary blink, both anchors pretended to enjoy cheerful banter with field reporter Sylvia "On the Spot for You" Jacobs before Lucero suddenly switched to his "serious face" and made the grave preview to the accident story.

When they resumed their newscast after the break, Lucero and Billups mechanically lowered their voices to an appropriately solemn tone while discussing the main news story, about a local man who accidentally knocked over a vase that was a family heirloom.

The co-anchors then took turns briefly listing off several violent robberies, a couple of child abuse cases, and information about a gang of escaped serial rapist-arsonist-murderers. The duo paused emotionlessly for a split-second before asking, "So, Bob, have you got any rain in store for us?"

The program wrapped when meteorologist Bob Carmichael met his "Boy, do I ever!" quota for the evening, and sportscaster Larry Woods delivered his best "Folks, have I got a real nail biter tonight."

When the cameras were off, Lucero let out a groan of relief. "Wow, I'm exhausted. Faking that much emotion in one night was almost as hard as when I had to pretend-cry at my daughter's birth."
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