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For local station, being stuck in elevator is hot story

April 8, 2011 |  2:29 pm

Is two football players and an agent stuck in an elevator a story?

Apparently it is for L.A.'s CBS-owned KCAL Channel 9.

Some background: Thursday night, USC's Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media, & Society hosted "For the Good of the Game: The NFL at a Crossroads." The panel discussion's participants included NFL quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Matt Leinart, former players Willie Gault and Shelby Jordan and super agent Leigh Steinberg.

The panel started late because Sanchez, Gault and Steinberg got stuck in an elevator for a while.They were in good spirts once they got off the elevator, and the event went on as planned.

I left before the panel was over and on my way out saw a reporter and producer coming into the Annenberg auditorium. I thought perhaps they were there to interview Sanchez. After all, he's a local and a USC alumnus.

But no, their news van had come down to USC to check out the stuck elevator story. Even though by the time they had arrived the elevator crisis was over, they stuck around and still produced a 15-second piece on the incident.

A spokesman for the station defended the story because of the prominence of the people stuck in the elevator. Perhaps that merited checking it out. But once the team got there and saw there was no story anymore, was it really necessary to still do a piece on it?

Who knows, KCAL might have missed a cat-stuck-in-a-tree story while it was trying to cover the elevator fiasco.

-- Joe Flint