Whenever I travel, I make an effort to read the local papers and watch the local TV news. It's just my professional curiosity, as a PR guy with an interest in journalism.
Local TV news in Los Angeles can sometimes be a bit strange. The stations seem to have a fascination with car chases, and they use their news helicopters to follow chases from above. The coverage can go on for a long time.
The last time I was out this way, the 11 p.m. newscast on two stations spent almost the entire time on "breaking news" of police chasing a suspect in a car as he went on and off the freeway and through neighborhood streets. The coverage of the chase knocked off most other stories, shortened the weather report and totally precluded sports news. One of the stations even delayed the start of the network late-night show to continue showing the car chase, which finally ended when the car crashed around midnight.
Here in L. A. this week, I saw similar coverage, although not as long. And the other night, coverage of a peaceful protest that blocked a busy intersection in the Compton area included extensive and repetitive helicopter coverage of the crowd, even though nothing new was happening. But the coverage from above went on, knocking other news stories off the air.
The stations in L.A. like to use their helicopters. Maybe the low height of buildings out here makes it easier to get good shots from above. But I suspect that the stations are responding to what their viewers want. I've talked to some of the locals here and they've admitted, "We do like our car chases."
"Lowest common denominator news, as it happens and as long as it's happening, live from over the streets in southern California."