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Jacques Natz's Articles

Quick Turn Story Ideas - May 2017

Our team has gathered a hot list of stories from around the country to stimulate your content calendar.

CUTTING EDGE- Do you really need to spend big bucks to have the best knives? The pro chef and the everyday chef approach from KARE TV can help sharpen your viewers’ opinions on what can best help them in the kitchen.

GREATEST GROCER- Making ends meet surfaces as a key content driver in many markets. Keep it simple and tee take a page out of Consumer Reports treatment to help your audience save a buck. We think there is great engagement possibility for Facebook Live before or after airing your story.

DANGER DRUG- Beyond the opioid epidemic the newest drug that’s hard to pronounce but will kill you by simply touching skin.

STOP OR NOT- Is yours one of the many states in this huge data dump from Stanford examining who police stop and who they don’t?

KIDS and CARS- It’s never been easier to keep tabs on kids behind the wheel. Some stations have installed these devices on vehicles in their fleet to keep tabs on speeding, hard breaking etc. Should you get Zubie or one of the many new alternatives? A safety and security story that takes you under the hood like never before.

10 Story Ideas for May and the Summer

As you ramp up your story ideas for your May calendar, here is a selection of high impact stories to help.  Some of these can be a quick turn idea for May and others can be considered for your summer planning.

1 - More pets are making their way onto airline flights…are they legit?  Emotional support from ducks and pigs?  Are they crowding out human passengers?  WINK TV outlines how to investigate this growing trend

2 - It’s the season for outdoor birthday parties for kids across the whole country. Would you allow your kids to play in those popular bounce houses - the ones that can easily blow over or even fly out of the yard?  A safety and security alert for your viewers in this Today Show report.

3 - Botox is not just a facial fix for middle aged Americans - millennials are in love with the 15 year old lifestyle drug. 

4 - We’re on the brink of the worst year ever for Lyme disease. How do you guard against the dangerous ticks?  Keep your family safe this summer.

5 - Walmart or Amazon? The big box giant is under attack from the digital giant. Who wins this war for your wallet?

10 Quick Turn Story Ideas for February

Between winter weather for some, Oscars and Grammys for others, here are some TSR ideas to help you through February or into May…many of which have strong shareable digital components and could make for strong utility Facebook Live events.

How Safe is Your Taxi or Uber? - Beyond the driver know what you’re getting into when you rent a ride. From airbags to seatbelts and door safety WPVI reveals there’s more to be on alert for and make you think twice.

Uncertified smoke detectors - Is your fire alarm really safe? WAFB investigates just how safe you really are. Tips to make your viewers safer.

Radon dangers - How pervasive is this danger that has been around for decades? It’s one in 6 homes in New Jersey.

Sextortion - Online extortion is becoming one of the biggest dangers to kids online. Delve into the two main ways this is happening and concrete tips to make your kids safer.

Facebook Live Tips

While it may seem like it’s been around a lot longer Facebook LIVE for brands is barely a year old- debuting right before Christmas 2015. Already your audience is not only savvy about the platform they outright expect you will program on it for everything from local events to breaking news and big weather.  In this post you’ll get some ideas culled from some of the folks on the frontlines of how to make it work for them, day in and day out. 

Simply put- it’s going to get even bigger. We all know that Facebook wants it that way and the algorithm is set to prioritize Facebook LIVE events in your fans’ feeds. But, perhaps just like Facebook Messenger you could expect to see Facebook LIVE as its own separate app.

“Facebook Live will continue to evolve as a mechanism for immediate feedback. I think they’ll do some retooling to incorporate or spin off into a separate product the live voting features many of us have had success with in recent weeks”.  Glen Hale Executive Director of Digital Content at Raycom Media
Glen is talking about the many stations in the fall that started leveraging the platform to do more than provide live coverage of events.   Using a combination of software and some coding many stations developed content ideas for instant and ongoing real-time engagement on a topic. Select "Read the rest of entry" for examples and the rest of the blog post.

Olympic Strategy: Top 10 for NBC Stations

As an NBC station the Road to Rio will provide great opportunities with double digit ratings heading into your late newscast- even if it is getting displaced later than usual. Unlike the two most recent Olympics in Sochi and London many of these events will be live as Rio is just one hour ahead of EDT. The exposure your station will get in all day parts with different audiences means in addition to your loyalists plenty of roving loyalists and switchables will be in play.

Coming off the acrimony of the presidential campaign the Olympics can be a time to bring people together- a little patriotism can go a long way especially given that Rio (Aug 5-21) comes right after the GOP and Democratic conventions in July. Rio is also taking place as many communities start up the new school year too- offering a great platform to image your brand. Certainly a BIG, bold, patriotic feel in your promotions and social posts makes good sense to bolster your image in these fractured times. To help you capitalize on the event on all platforms here are 10 opportunities to consider:

1. Late newscasts- Stick with the key focus areas and make sure it is urgent and quick paced to help them forget about the close finish in the USA basketball game. Accentuating your commitment to NEW, NOW and NEXT is more important than your strategy of potentially including TSRs. Some nights that might include a highly produced cold open that hooks viewers to watch multiple stories and others you will want to jump right into the Big Story as quickly as possible.

2. AM News- The Olympics provides a gold mine for our morning news with enhanced sampling from people who may never see your mornings but left the station on NBC after the night before. Consider a separate look or area to present this information each morning to help set up my day to sample Olympics on every platform. Be my Olympics companion in the morning.

Breaking News: All-Platform Ownership

It can happen in an instant. It can happen when you least expect. It happened in Hesston, Kansas - just outside of Wichita last month. Three killed and 14 injured in a workplace related shooting. It was originally reported as a standoff at a home but, in fact it turned into three-scene major breaking news story and a mass shooting involving a disgruntled employee using an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle to gun down his co-workers. When this sort of story happens is your entire station ready? Do you have a simple news, digital and marketing plan that can inform and engage your community? The team at KWCH had that plan. Perhaps because of its readiness through deadly tornado coverage or breaking news coverage of stories like the plane that hit an airport building in October 2014 the team at KWCH knew how to respond. For 58 hours they field anchored live either wall-to-wall or within every newscast.

News director Brian Gregory, director of digital Shawn Hilferty and director of creative services director Dom Gauna marshalled their teams into action. In addition to immediately dispatching an anchor to the scene along with his full staff of reporters and photographers, Brian called in people who didn’t even work for KWCH who specialized in various skills like photography. The first news crew arrived on scene minutes after the incident and before the shooter was shot and killed by police. Wall-to-wall coverage was underway on-air and in the app. But, perhaps the biggest lesson learned in the coverage of this tragedy was the power of community and how important it is to leverage your social media connections to crowdsource for information.

Facebook Live

As you re-orient following the holidays ready to polish up and execute your 2016 news, marketing and digital strategies take note of the latest major change coming to your Facebook brand page. Facebook just made this announcement on widening your brand page capabilities by adding the LIVE component. If your page is not yet enabled it will be shortly.

For many stations and broadcast networks this live effort has existed for verified talent pages and many of you have experimented with it using both that and Twitter’s Periscope for community event coverage or behind the scenes during newscasts. Now, it’s time to evolve out of the experimental phase and recognize that the two primary networks, Facebook and Twitter, have erased any barriers that existed between broadcaster and consumer LIVE capabilities.

Facebook Tactics for Your Brand

By now you should be seeing the increasing importance of social media and Facebook in particular as a key component of your daily and rating book strategy. In the words of Share Rocket President Chris Kraft “Twitter alerts, Facebook converts” a clear message about its ability to get far more engagement, stickiness and overall loyalty from your fans. SmithGeiger research indicates that for many it has become as primary as your newscasts as their first source for news. The reach you can get from not only your brand but the aggregation of your talent along with your brand can often easily outdistance the reach from on-air topicals. So, as you gear up for November, here are a few tactics for your tool box:

Facebook recruit to view- A daily plan for every newscast by both your brand and each talent associated with the show. Stay away from overt “coming up at 5…” type language. Instead, both talent and the brand are best if the content is more native to platform language that accentuates the NOW or the effort going into a story that makes it unique “At 10 we have an entirely different story than the one you may have seen at 6…” At many stations this function is increasingly under the marketing department to work closely with both the brand and talent on the timing and tone of these that should generally post in the hour before air to give it time to surface in feeds. It makes good sense to integrate this with the topical efforts so there is brand congruity.

5 New Ways to Leverage Facebook

Keeping up with the Facebook do’s and don’ts, the algorithm tweaks and nuances and the seemingly never-ending changes, upgrades and associated app launches to the platform has become a full-time job for some people at stations these days. Facebook has recognized some of the increasing needs and challenges facing broadcasters and at least for the time being they have assembled a larger team to provide local news support for both station and talent pages. Part of the reason they are doing this is that Facebook wants your talent to have their sites “verified” so they can access the newest MENTIONS app and use that for posting.  

Heading up this effort is their strategic partnership team including Jason White and veteran journalist Liz Heron. They’ve brought aboard an internal operations specialist Reva Gaur and a small team of people to help you do a number of tasks that can otherwise seemingly take forever to get accomplished. This includes verifications which essentially lets fans know that the profile is authentic. You'll see a blue badge next to a verified Page or profile's name. These Pages and profiles may include anchors, celebrities and public figures in addition to your station page(s). They also help with user name changes, profile page migrations, imposter takedowns, page merges, access to Mentions, best practices updates and tool implementation.

News Studio Set Design Tips

So, you’ve already selected your set vendor- or maybe you haven’t- but either way there’s plenty of heavy lifting ahead. Whether it’s SFX, Devlin or one of the other vendors you’ve got the responsibility to make sure the backbone of this set has the flexibility to last and evolve for the next five years- maybe more. One of the most important considerations involves the brand positioning for the station. If you want to make sure you gain traction in urgency and immediacy, for instance, make sure the new design ideally integrates those elements and components.

Here are three top considerations whether you’re going all in with an entirely new set and graphics or doing the proverbial “facelift” to buy you time to look less dated and to become more functional:

1. ANCHOR- Some of our research clearly points to the power of the anchor stand-up and how compelling the interactive/touchscreen TV can be as a breaking news device.
2. MORNINGS and URGENCY-As important as weather and traffic are in the morning – allowing for a team sensibility there also makes a lot of sense. More and more AM shows are including a breaking news anchor and setting.
3. INTIMACY- Whatever you do be careful that it doesn’t completely neuter the sense of intimacy some expect with anchors. Make sure you allow for the audience to feel connected to the news team.