For both the intro and outro of the story package, Sanders is seen live, behind the wheel, circling a shopping center parking lot as he talks to the anchor in the studio. In the clip above, that would be Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today show.
That’s weird enough. But Kerry Sanders went on to tell this same story many more times throughout the day on MSNBC. Each time — all day long — he was seated behind the wheel to chat with with, for example, Tamron Hall, as he circled around and around that same parking lot.
If you search Twitter for Kerry Sanders, you’ll find other people who were as puzzled as I was by this peculiar reporting stunt:
.@TodayShow. Wow car surfing is dangerous. So too is Kerry Sanders broadcasting while driving.
— Turner Walston (@TurnerWalston) February 8, 2011
What is this bit with Kerry Sanders reporting while circling a parking lot?
— Kelly Good (@kkgood21) February 8, 2011
— David Catanese (@davecatanese) February 8, 2011
Why does kerry sanders just keep driving around the block?
— reBecca (@mahaffeymum) February 8, 2011
So in a story MSNBC is doing on the dangers of "car surfing," Kerry Sanders is driving a car while talking to the camera in a live shot #smh
— CJ Hoyt (@CJ11andFOX) February 8, 2011
This odd report follows last week’s blizzard in Chicago, when carcam reporting was suddenly all the rage. The local CBS, NBC, and ABC affiliates all did live newcasting via reporters who were out in cars on expressways where people were told not to go because of whiteout conditions and accumulating snow. All of them showed the same “Look what we can do!” pride in pushing the broadcasting envelope through this these jawdropping live-from-car reports.
My guess is that this must be TV’s attempt to compete with YouTube and social media.
On YouTube, you’ll find endless amateur social media seminars which are shot — for no good reason — by people who are driving cars while they tell you about getting rich on the Internet.
I can only imagine that some TV bigwigs somewhere took note of this technique, declared it an exciting new innovation, and decided to rip it off for their own purposes.
We should probably expect to see more reporters like Kerry Sanders driving around aimlessly — and increased coverage of the types of stories that allow them to showcase this hot breakthrough. Look for more investigative reports on bank and fast-food drive-thrus and evaluations of windshield solvents.
And, of course, tornado chasing.