Monday, March 31, 2008

Lou Dobbs' Cotton' Pickin' Flub

As a former major market broadcaster with over 10 years experience, I'm well aware of the perils of adlibbing. But I also know that in order to advance and then stay at the top of your game, you must learn to edit yourself. You develop an ability to hear most of what you're saying the split-second or two before it leaves your mouth. Otherwise you can only hope to eke out a living in what my old communications prof called the "tall grass."

I'm fascinated how the longer some of these folks stay in the biz, the more atrophied this editing skill can become. It's a combination of hubris and laziness. Hubris comes with the territory and fosters a belief that they are infallible. This leads to laziness as in "I'm so good I don't have to prepare." A lack of show prep inevitably leads to disastrous adlibs. This very bad habit is hard to break.

Show prep isn't just about news, facts and figures. It's also about the presentation of whatever info or opinion you want to get across and how you are going to deliver your message. From what I have seen of Lou Dobbs, he does an adequate job with the former and precious little of the latter.