A very wise man named Newton Minnow once called television a "vast wasteland" and I've always pretty much agreed with him when it comes to local television news.
But today I've got to take my hat off to Kent Wainscott of Channel 12.
I was the managing editor of the newsroom when Wainscott came to Milwaukee as a consumer affairs reporter. He was like a lot of young reporters, more concerned with how he looked on camera than anything else.
Now, however, he has grown into the best television political reporter in this market. And it's not even a close contest.
Channel 12, alone among the local stations, devotes time and resources to political coverage. But none of that would be worth a hoot unless you have someone to be the face of the coverage.
Mike Gousha leads the way with his normal brilliance, but Wainscott does the day-in, day-out coverage with a sense of leadership that is a real treat for the viewers.
The hardest thing for local television news to do is to have some sense of context around the news story. Wainscott knows the canvas upon which he is painting his story and makes sure that viewers aren't shortchanged.
In a world where newcomers dot the screen and try to pretend they know what they are screaming about Wainscott is a real breath of fresh air. He's lucky that he works in a newsroom where they actually care about real news and the trust the station has put in him is not misplaced.
If there were a lot of reporters like this in Milwaukee we'd all be a lot better off.
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