There sure has been a lot of TWPATA going on this week. In the world of news, TWPATA is an acronym for "That's What People Are Talking About." Want to do a story that viewers will be interested in? Find out TWPATA.
Currently, there are two news stories that have people talking all over the country. One, of course is the death of Anna Nicole Smith. The other is the astronaut accused of trying to kidnap and/or kill her romantic rival. Personally, I can't get enough of either one.
It was Monday night when a story about the arrest of the astronaut first crossed the wire. My newscast was pretty well set by that point. But, after reading about the pepper spray and the steel hammer, and after getting a peek at the mugshot, I knew I had to squeeze it into the rundown. So, I wrote a short version of the story. Soon after that, I learned that an affiliate in Florida would be sending a longer, more complete story. Ultimately, that's the one I aired, dropping another story of similar length to make room for it. I could tell by the reaction of the people in the newsroom that I made the right call.
Three days later, it's clear that this astronaut has problems. It's also clear that she will have a hard time living down the images - mental and otherwise - associated with the story: the mugshot; the picture of her being escorted to and from various places with a coat over her head; and, of course, the obligatory phrase "wearing adult diapers so she could drive 1,000 miles from Houston to Orlando without stopping." (Reminds me of the Texas Cheerleader Mom who "tried to hire a hitman to kill the mother of her daughter's cheerleading rival." It also makes me hope that I don't have any "rivals" out there.)
Then, Thursday, Anna Nicole Smith died suddenly. Like the John "I confess to killing JonBenet Ramsey" Karr story, word of Smith's death made everyone in the newsroom stop and say, "WHAT?!?" It's like, you know that the past 10-15 years of her life have pretty much been a highly publicized train wreck, but still, you didn't expect her to die. At least, I didn't.
What I expect now is that it will take a long time to straighten out the mess that Anna Nicole left behind. Who's the baby daddy? Will the kid ever see a dime of the millions Smith was still trying to get out of her old, dead husband's family? And, what about this TrimSpa lawsuit? That's what people will be talking about for years to come. I feel so sorry for her baby girl.