OLD Media Moves

Ugly coverage of IKEA store opening in Cali

March 8, 2006

The Sacramento Bee notes that coverage of an IKEA store in the area, notably from the local television stations, bordered on the boosterish and gave the furniture company free advertising. The coverage reminded me of stories I would read in the late ’90s and early part of this decade when a Krispy Kreme doughnut store would open in a new market.

IKEAReporter Sam McManis writes, “Channel 31’s “Good Day Sacramento” aired all five of its hours from the site and did everything but assemble the furniture. But we’ll get back to that show a bit later.

“First – yes, The Bee covered Ikea, too, running a story and three photos in Thursday’s business section. Don’t misunderstand: Ikea is newsworthy, both as a lifestyle story and because it created 400 jobs locally.

“But when news morphs into hype, it isn’t pretty. Judge for yourself.

“* Channel 3’s Brian Hickey, who normally covers more-serious news, popped out of a ball pit at the Ikea day care center at 6:25 a.m. ‘I almost missed this live shot,’ he shouted into the mike.

“Later, while giving viewers a tour of the store, Hickey earnestly intoned: ‘This is the cool part. Everything on the wall is for sale.’ Well, duh! It is a home-furnishings store. And still later, after anchor Walt Gray reported on another car bombing in Iraq, it was back to Hickey stretched out on a bed, extolling the virtues of a bedroom set.

“* Channel 10’s Dave Marquis, who has won awards for education reporting, looked into the camera during his report and said with a straight face: ‘This is the biggest deal I’ve ever seen in my career for a store opening.’ Later, he added: ‘This is the largest store I’ve ever seen. The prices are pretty good, too.’

“* Fox40’s Joe Orlando not only had to endure customers giving him monosyllabic answers, but also anchor Jennifer Parker giddily saying, ‘Hey, Joe, grab us some of those yellow baseball caps. They look cool.’

Read the entire story here. I can’t wait until one opens in my area.

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