Perspectives

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From category archives: Blog

Story Ideas all screens and platforms

The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

In some of our local news research, we've recently been asking people what they thought about in their lives (beyond news). One of the highest scoring categories was “…a closer relationship with God.”

The finding, a little bit of a surprise, prompted questions about whether certain religious stories might stir up some ratings (realizing a Pew study from May showed people retreating from organized religion). Aftera all, cable and network programs have found success in this area, too.

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Story Ideas - May 2015

Story Ideas - May 2015

Does anyone smell the Memorial Day BBQ yet?  Not quite, and with plenty of time to make or break your May, our team at SmithGeiger has collected a dozen quick-turn stories hot off the grill...

SMART TV SNOOPING

Turns out Smart TV owners might be getting more than they bargained for when it comes to personal data.

SOCIAL MEDIA SAFETY

It's a picture seen around the world (and a super-viral Facebook post), all part of a story from WWBT on social media safety.

BIG RIGS BUSTING TEXTERS

Highway patrol officers in at least one city have invested in huge semi trucks hoping to get a better angle on those who text while driving.

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Process Journalism: A Key to Success/Survival

Process Journalism: A Key to Success/Survival

In an effort to meet the ever-changing needs of News Consumers in a fast-paced, high-tech world, Local TV News (among others) has embraced a different kind of Journalism. The first use of the term “Process Journalism” is credited to Jeff Jarvis a former newspaper journalist turned professor in New York.


The terms Process Storytelling and Process Journalism are often confused. They have very different origins and very different definitions:

  1. Process Storytelling: Used for years (pre-internet) to describe the practice of reporters writing more about the details of a meeting than the story viewers would find impactful. Reporters diving into this kind of process storytelling interview officials as the key sources instead of hearing from “real people” affected by the content of the meeting.
  2. Process Journalism: Phrase made common by digital journalists. It refers to telling the story as it happens; not necessarily waiting for “a complete” story. For Local TV journalists, Process Journalism will span different platforms. The storytelling may start in the social space, move to a dot-com page and on to TV. Process Journalism can be thought of as “News in Real Time”.

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Smart Watches? Maybe… Glance Media? Absolutely!

Smart Watches?  Maybe… Glance Media?  Absolutely!

Hardly a day goes by without the announcement of one news or media organization positioning themselves to be one of the first with an app that works on the Apple watch. This post is not about the watch so much as it is the recognition of a changing ecosystem for news and information that takes another step forward with the arrival of the watch. For while the watch might be restricted to a subset of the affluent and super connected at first, a concept called glance media is very much an essential skill for any newsroom.

Apps For The Watch
The Weather Company, Dark Sky and other weather vendors have been among the most outspoken app creators speaking about their intent to offer apps built from scratch for the Apple watch. CNN, The New York Times and even the Economist, famous for their lengthy analysis of world affairs, plans to be available in some version on this new watch. Each of these news organizations sees a value in being able to quickly alert the audience to a short update or a piece of a larger story. The ability to “tap” the audience on the wrist and draw attention to a notification without the user doing anything outside of the audience looking down is a powerful new tool in the fight for the audience’s attention.

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STORY IDEAS - April 2015

STORY IDEAS - April 2015

With perhaps a few pockets left on your spring planning calendars, our team at SmithGeiger offers a dozen potential story ideas headed into May...

FRONT-LOADED CONCERNS

Front-load washing machines use less energy, less water, and less detergent.  But a class action lawsuit claims the liances may be creating a big mold problem for people who own them.

9-1-1 POSTAL DELAYS

An outdated policy advises postal service employees not to call 911 first when they witness a medical emergency. An investigation has helped prompt change at the local level, but other postal centers may still be vulnerable to these delays.

POT HOLE ROAD WARRIOR

In its ongoing advocacy push for better roads in Detroit, WXYZ is now helping drivers replace their tires, deflated by endless potholes.

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Oscars Tips 2015

Oscars Tips 2015

The Oscars is the annual “big story” happening live on ABC affiliates. ABC stations can think of this as not just a one night broadcast but a multiple day party across multiple platforms.

Your goal can be to grow the ratings of the Oscars but we can also look to growing the shoulder programming around the event including the morning newscast the next day as well as growth of our digital and social engagement with the audience as they watch this event with their smart phone or tablet. GMA often has one of their bigger ratings days so there is a unique opportunity to retain much of the audience to your am efforts on all screens.

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QUICK-TURN IDEAS - February 2015

QUICK-TURN IDEAS - February 2015

Half-way through February, most people are obsessed with what to get their sweetheart. Nope, not us news folks. We're most interested in what those ratings look like, and what's coming-up on your planning calendar. Here are 13 potential quick-turn stories from around the country we hope your viewers will fall in love with...

POPULAR ANTIBIOTIC KILLS MAN

The FDA is deciding whether to issue strong new warnings about potentially damaging side effects from a popular drug.

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Win Weather on All Screens - Checklist

Win Weather on All Screens - Checklist

We all know how weather is a critical part of our success in local TV news and increasingly a key ingredient in the information we offer in social and mobile. As we start 2015, we should ask ourselves if we have reviewed our three screen weather recently for how well we living up to our promises of urgency and impact that we keep in our on air news stories. If we have made a commitment to bringing the viewer the most up to the minute, live, and impactful information in the lead story, the same effort should be made with weather, which one can argue, is a never ending local breaking news story on all screens.

A check list can help the team discuss what we will do together to win weather on all screens. This series of questions are meant to help focus everyone…producer, anchor, weather, director, social media manager and digital producer… It is not just for the weather to create all this value…it is the station team.

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Targeted Special Report Ideas

Targeted Special Report Ideas

As we work to clear our heads (and inboxes) after the holiday fog (and eggnog), February is racing towards us faster than a Super Bowl kick-off return (and yes, that’s upon us, too). And so our team at SmithGeiger has a dozen story ideas teed-up to feed your special reports calendar in the coming weeks.

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Committing to Making the Viewer LOOK UP

Committing to Making the Viewer LOOK UP
Next time you watch one of your newscasts on TV, you may be the only one really watching.

Are you ready to deal with that - ready to produce, write, and anchor news on one screen while viewers shuffle through what else interests them on other screens?

This year, there will be more distracted viewers than ever before. Multiple screen use while watching TV news is not a new issue, but its upward trajectory makes it as important as any issue in 2015.

Attacking the issue will add new dimensions to what you do - beginning with newscast critiques. The post-newscast question for 2015 is this: At what point(s), did you make me look (up)?

Simple question. Necessary question. With, tangible answers.

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