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What the Duck?

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If you’ve visited 9News.com lately, you may have noticed the image and link that you can click on to visit the “Duck Cam.” The teaser says “Watch Nina the Duck — Click Here.”

I clicked on the duck, and then a new window opened up with the “Duck Cam.” There’s no explanation whatsoever for the image that appeared on the screen. It’s just a picture of a duck. There is a handy tagline that says “This page will refresh every two minutes,” which I found comforting. Since I couldn’t tell if I was looking at the duck’s good side, it was nice to know that the image would refresh in two minutes.

While that is certainly an attractive duck, I needed more information. So I searched for “Nina the Duck” on 9News.com and came up with this story. As it turns out, Nina is a duck that lives in the 9News “Backyard,” which is the outside area where the 9News weathermen and women — sorry, Meteorologists — give their forecast.

By the way, am I the only person who really wants to throw an egg or a tomato over the wall into the 9News Backyard when the weather forecast is being given? What would Kathy Sabine do if she was right in the middle of the forecast and an egg hit her on the forehead? Would she just keep talking and pretend it didn’t happen? Would she start cussing on the air? Would she scale the wall and chase after me?

Anyway, the story on the 9News Web site says that they held a contest to name the duck, and viewers voted for Nina (pronounced NINE-ah, get it?). I don’t know which came first — the name or the Web cam — but now Nina has a camera trained on her for 24 hours a day. Apparently there are a lot of people who have an interest in clicking on the “Duck Cam” to look at Nina every day. Nina is also pregnant and due to lay eggs at some point soon, so there is an added dimension to this duck voyeurism.

And you know what? I’m not surprised at all.

I worked as a television reporter — very briefly — earlier in my career, and I’ll never forget the station’s news director saying that we had more viewer response for a story about puppy mills than we did for a triple homicide. Three people murdered? Yawn. Dogs trapped in small cages? Call the National Guard!!! I’m willing to bet the same thing happens over at 9News. I’ll bet they get more letters and calls about Nina than they do about a robbery or a murder.

So what’s the moral of the story? If you have a duck, put a camera on it.

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