Best Weathercaster 2004 | Pamela Wright Readers Choice: Jackie Johnson, WSVN-TV (Channel 7) | People & Places | South Florida
Look, we don't want to rain on weathercasters' parades, but they are at the very bottom of the television news ladder. Half of them steal their forecasts from the National Weather Service, and they're still wrong a lot. Their greatest talent, generally speaking, is the ability to pretend they're looking at an imaginary map. And then there's the fine art of determining whether a particular day is "partly sunny" or "partly cloudy." Weathercasters are often relegated to clown status, like Al Roker, Willard Scott, and Brian Norcross. That's why we prefer weather babes. You know, beautiful blonds like Dale Gribble's wife on King of the Hill. Then there's Pamela Wright, a brunette. Raven-haired, really. The woman clearly has a very high heat index. And we'd really love to find her dew point. (You gotta love weather double-entendres, don't you?) Keep castin' Pamela. Only please, please, stay away from the sidelines of football fields. We like our sports analysts to know what the hell they're talking about, no matter how hot they might be.

Readers Choice: Jackie Johnson, WSVN-TV (Channel 7)

Daytime news broadcasts are often quite fascinating. Not for news, which they generally lack, but for the bizarre and unsettling combination of gruesome fatal accidents or murder stories with the cheery talk about other goings-on and weather. The juxtaposition can produce a disturbing effect that David Lynch can only envy. But Channel 10, the local ABC affiliate, takes its daytime seriously. Anchoring the show is the best name in television news, Diane Magnum, a polished veteran with a strong background in reporting. From the first moment, you realize you're in relatively capable and serious hands. Once past Magnum, the program has its secret weapon: Glenna Milberg, who may not be a journalistic heavy hitter but who knows her way around a story and almost always does a solid job. While Jildah Unruh plays the role of Channel 10's take-no-prisoners investigator, Milberg is its balanced professional -- and her touch especially feels right during those live daytime reports under the noontime Florida sun. What you end up getting isn't just traffic and weather but political news and, quite often, an in-depth report on the most interesting story of the day. It's good enough that you can barely believe it's only noon.

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