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Best Local TV Newscast 

KVOA, Channel 4

READERS' PICK: Perennial winner KVOA-TV, Channel 4, disproves all of those teletube marketers who argue that the public wants Happy, Sappy News, or If It Bleeds, It Leads. Each year, Tucsonans give Best News honors to the local NBC affiliate. While far from perfect, KVOA does an admirable job of telling it like it is without pandering to our baser selves. Patty Weiss continues to buck the corporate belief in TV news that female anchors are only as good as the expiration date on their wrinkle cream. Patty's apparently ageless, and she's far from empty-headed. We have to admit, she even touches us, through our thick cynical skins, when she tears up over a child fatality in a house fire or Sean Elliott's new liver. With veteran reporters like Sandy Rathbun and Lupita Murillo, KVOA demonstrates that seriousness, depth and a sense of history are vital in any news story. Tucson's other newscasts too often tend to offer meteoric snippets that neither inform nor enrich, all delivered with a head-bob and a smile.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: KGUN-TV, Channel 9. We just love "team" reporting; it gives us so much more of the Truth than we'd normally get from a single TV reporter. Plus, with "Nine On Our Side," we no longer fear being abused by evil government dorks, or cheated by merchants who don't advertise on local television. Yes, life is much better for us since we learned to let go and love the tube. Plus, that Guy Atchley is one sexy semi-senior citizen, no?

MORE MANIA: They don't lead with the weather when it rains. They don't cover car crashes or crime scenes. They don't dumb down every complex story. Instead, the gang at Arizona Illustrated, seen nightly at 6:30 and 11:30 p.m. on KUAT-TV, Channel 6, provides in-depth reports about politics, culture and other real-life stories in these parts. Ably quarterbacked by anchor Bill Buckmaster, AZ Ill. looks for substance over style. The result is a news program that will actually tell you something you might need to know -- what a novelty!

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