News Strip Tease

Now even one of the most-respected news readers in town is doing it.

Keep reading to find out which Twin Cities journalist takes a little off, shimmies for a few honky-tonk beats, winks through expensive makeup, breaks for a commercial message, then comes back and lets it all hang out.

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Now, you’ve seen how newsreaders on TV will tease a story, hoping you’ll stay tuned through the next commercial to find out what’s going on? Or there will be the quick little flash of skin at about 9:30 p.m. — “Which Minnesota senator was found in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy yesterday? Stay tuned, we’ll tell you all the glorious details on our Ten O’Clock Snooze.”

I hope people like Don Shelby find it a little uncomfortable, this hustle. “Coming up next, a Southern Minnesota town is flattened by an F-16 tornado, bodies falling out of the sky, the Courthouse moved two counties over. We’ll tell you which town, after these irritating jingles from Menard’s.”

Just spit it the hell out, Don.

So this morning, even Cathy Wurzer’s doing it. “Coming up, we’ll talk about who’s the leader among Democrats in fund-raising.”

Come on, I’m walking around, trying not to shave off parts of my face that I shouldn’t, and I only hear pieces of the newscast. I don’t want to slow down and make myself late waiting to hear the punchline. Just tell me — “Obama leads the money race today…”

Being Public Radio, they aren’t trying to hold me through a commercial, but it seems the habit in news has gotten so ingrained that even my main news squeeze is doing it now.

Let the hustlers hustle — broadcast news should try to retain a semblance of credibility.

Besides, I don’t really want to see Shelby take it all off. And I’ll leave the next line up to you…


10 thoughts on “News Strip Tease

  1. Colleen Kingsbury says:

    Jesus, Bruce –
    Don’t even joke about naked Shelby. ICK!
    The only thing worse than naked Shelby would be naked Shelby “doing” the news (pun intended).


  2. Lurker says:

    From The American Heritage Dictionary:

    Tease: 1) To annoy; pester; vex. 2) To make fun of; playfully mock. 3) To arouse hope, desire, or curiosity in without affording satisfaction.

    The art of the news tease has been around for far longer than I’ve been watching or listening to the news. I wrote a few of them myself when I used to produce news for my college TV news channel. Oh, I was a crafty artisan of the news tease. So is it a surprise with all the “Dateline” and “20/20” episodes that mainstream news at 5, 6 and 10 continue to bate us into watching the pileup on 610?

    While Shelby et al merely pester us into watching, I tend to be amused at the effort. The only thing they arouse in me is my interest in changing the channel.

  3. Randi says:

    I have to share my mostest favorite tease – none can surpass this nugget from the early/mid/late nineties:

    Mark Suppelsa, KSTP, “Learning to walk or LEARNING TO DIE? Tune in at Ten”

    It was about baby walkers and how one locally had gone down the stairs, carrying baby to an injury but certainly not death.

    Really, aren’t we all simply learning to die? I like to think Suppelsa was personally asking me a philosophical question.

  4. Ellen says:

    Benidt: when are you going to update your links introducing me? I see that I’m in “who are these guys?” (people?) but not in any of the other tabs. Let’s get busy; you’re not doing anything of import but trying to save America.

    God Bless America and every other country.

    As to the subject matter at hand, the most disturbing consequences of broadcast news’ reach in perpetuating these “teaser” ledes(“Rats invade Twin Ciites’ daycares…details at 10.”) is this: some of my journalism students think this is also proper sentence structure for a newspaper lede. They’ve “heard” this one version of news all their little tele-lives and so, for them, this is what “news” sounds like… and is.

    OH! And Don Shelby is a very nice person and a good newsman. Let’s get off his name, perhaps, as he certainly did not invent this type of t.v. teaser.

    Details at 5….

    Ellen in Mankato

  5. I just want to know how you’re able to describe the strip-tease process so well. Must have spent many hours reporting on the best practices.

    And, I’m surprised at you. You love reading, and your favorite novelists have used this kind of approach for ages. You keep reading to find out what happens.

    Truth of the matter is that the “news” you are listening to (watching) is not news at all – it’s advertising. Just gotta’ have some filler. It’s hustle, and now everyone in America is hustling – even Public TV. Sure, Washington Week is uninterrupted still, but I have to listen to 19 minutes of adds, announcements, “brought to you by’s” and other crud before Gwen Ifill finally says hello.

    It’s all hustle, baby. We’re on our way to the yearly convention of the National Speakers Association where 90% of the workshops and speeches will be about how to better manipulate your audience to buy your stuff. The other 10% will be about the “power of intention.”

    Which brings me to my main gripe (that I didn’t advertise at the beginning of this post). You guys need to add to your “Blogroll.” It’s part of the way you tell people where there are more folks who believe and teach the kinds of things you do – and where your readers can find more resources that have your stamp of approval. And your next Blogroll had better be the Poynter Institute (which you originally told me about) at

    Their mission is to cover issue of ethics in journalism. I did a search of their site for “tease” and then added “headline” to make the search a little more targeted – and found some stuff about headline teases, including this post (which I’d link to if I knew how) which agrees with you:

    “Are reporters writing news stories or are they writing novels? If they’re writing news (and the story in question was a news story, even though it had a strong feature aspect), then I see no problem in the headline writer “giving away the ending.” The last I knew the St. Petersburg Times was a NEWSpaper, not a collection of short stories. Those who want a surprise in the newspaper should go read O. Henry.”

  6. ellenm53 says:

    Michael: I’m fortunate to have been selected as a Poynter Institute fellow about 10 years ago; it’s an incredible place with a well-endowed (St. Petersburg Times, among others) commitment to providing journalism training and professional development to both the working press and students/academics. But the Poynter is not the sole (nor necessarily the best) arbiter of journalistic ethics. I also recommend reading posts and blogs from the working press members at That’s the Society of Professional Journalists’ website…the largest professional organization for writers/editors/bloggers. I like that it’s been around for 90 years and has remained a fairly true advocate for ethical practices in journalism…even during “lean” years when the press fell out of fashion. I invite you to check it out if you’ve never seen the SPJ website.

  7. Hi Ellen,

    Thanks for the SPJ suggestion. I will definitely check it out (to look for striptease stuff).

    And, thanks, you guys for updating your blogroll. Now I guess I’ve got to go back to our blogs and put you guys on our blogrolls.

    Darn, More work!

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