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Emmys nominate stories both good … and strange

Behind the 8 ("News Now") ball.

That’s where the competitors of KLAS-TV, Channel 8 wound up racked up when the nominees were recently announced for the Pacific Southwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences — aka, the annual Emmy honor-rama.

Minnesota Fats couldn’t have run the table better than this crew, pocketing a whopping 19 noms, nearly quadrupling that of closest rival KSNV-TV, Channel 3 with five nods. Rounding out the count were KVVU-TV, Channel 5 with four and KTNV-TV, Channel 13 with three. (Vegas competes with California markets San Diego, Bakersfield, Palm Springs, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. Winners will be named June 18.)

Among the anointed (along with their producers, videographers and photographers): Channel 8’s Colleen McCarty, Jonathan Humbert, Nathan Baca, George Knapp, Tedd Florendo, Chris Maathuis and Denise Valdez; News-3’s Denise Rosch, Matt Kozar, Dan Ball and Jerry Brown; Channel 5’s John Huck, Matt DeLucia, Kevin Bolinger and Darren Peck; and Channel 13’s Darcy Spears. (For a complete list, go to www.nataspsw.org.)

Striking, isn’t it — the Grand Canyon-esque nomination gap between Channel 8 and everyone else? Certainly Channel 8’s made missteps, some of which have been analyzed here, and each of its rival stations has its reporting and investigative strengths.

Yet on balance, Channel 8 newscasts are, day to day, week to week and month to month, less weighted down by the police blotter mentality and more bolstered by solid enterprise stories with direct, tangible impacts on viewers’ lives.

They’ll cart off some impressive Emmy hardware, and big kudos to them.

However, one nomination mystifies: Humbert’s gotcha-Gov! assignment, chasing irked ex-Gov. Jim Gibbons through the Reno airport in March 2010, returning from Washington, D.C., with gal pal Kathy Karrasch, exposing his fib that she wasn’t traveling with him.

Already in mid-divorce from now ex-wife, Dawn, Gibbons heard this from Humbert: "We are less than 12 hours from a special (legislative) session that is going to decide almost a billion dollars in cuts and here you are with a woman who’s not your wife?" (C-R-I-N-G-E.) As I wrote at the time about his half-query/half-condemnation: "As opposed to legislators having sex with their spouses, deeming them morally fit, therefore more able to make fiscal decisions the next morning?"

Sensational confrontation, but an empty exercise in tabloidism, having zero to do with the public good, leaving only voyeurism to seduce viewers. Reporters love revealing politicians’ lies, whatever the context, and Emmys reward aggressive journalism, but in service of what?

Occupying the upper tier of TV journalists in Las Vegas, Humbert also is obligated to do the stories he’s assigned. Beyond this Enquirer-ish adventure, entered in the "general assignment" section, he is nominated for "on-camera talent/reporter" and "journalistic enterprise" — deservedly so. Despite the garish Gibbons business, this columnist emailed sincere congrats to Humbert on recognition of his overall accomplishments.

Still, if a story ripping Gibbons to ribbons for nothing other than humiliation earns an Emmy Award, we’ll await the Peabody Award for "Jersey Shore."

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

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