Perspectives

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HOT CLIPS - July 2015

HOT CLIPS - July 2015

In keeping with our Back to School theme, here are this month's selection of Hot Clips from the SmithGeiger archives...

MORE IN THE MORNING (KCTV Kansas City): getting back into your morning routine with this team

GOOD STARTS HERE (WBZ Boston): minute-by-minute, transparent approach to the AM news

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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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Top 7 for Summer

Top 7 for Summer

Ah, yes, summer.  A steady stream of sunny days... and vacation requests.  It's tempting for newsrooms to fall into a bit of a lull, but in fact, these months can give you a chance to accomplish quite a bit.  Our team at SmithGeiger has assembled a Top 7 List of tasks you may want to add to your plans...

  1. Act Like It's May: most importantly, the most effective news organizations never let-on to their audience (or staffers) that one month is more important than other.  Staying consistent and energetic while your competition is taking a break can win you ratings, switchables, and loyalists.
  2. Do a TV Blackout: form a committee, and tell them they can only consume your news product on their digital platforms for an entire 24-hour period.  You might be surprised what you find, or don't.
  3. Experiment: want to try out a new or relatively risky segment idea or showcasing tool?  Now's the time, especially on or around the 4th of July when viewer levels tend to be at their lowest.

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HOT CLIPS - June 2015

HOT CLIPS - June 2015

No summer break for Hot Clips. And this month we focus on Weather and Traffic examples from around the country...

3D WEATHER (KNBC, Los Angeles): using augmented-reality to give an hourly forecast.

STUDIO TORNADO (Weather Channel): showing "the anatomy of a tornado" using The Lab, an augmented reality studio

RAIN SHOW & TELL (CBS DFW): an in-studio demonstration of just how much rain parts of Texas have received.

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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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HOT CLIPS: May 2015

HOT CLIPS: May 2015

Half-way through May, a few new Hot Clips from around the country to see what your colleagues and counterparts are up to...

4 Things to Know (WRC Washington DC): a concise way to impactfully and urgently send viewers out the door with what they need to know

AM Impactful Hello (WBRC Birmingham): adding empathy to the start of a bad-news-heavy A-block in the morning.

Tag Team Tease (WVIT Hartford): standing together teasing weather and traffic in the AM. 

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Sustained Urgency: An AM Mandate

Sustained Urgency: An AM Mandate

To produce a morning newscast in 2015 - think two thoughts that are NEW to this moment in time.

  • The first screen the majority of viewers wake up to is their smartphone.
  • Viewers believe UPDATES ON ALL STORIES is of equal importance to Breaking News (a discovery first noted recently by SG research VP, Tony Calfo).

These two thoughts are connected: The more viewers get information from digital sources, the more it makes them expect even more updating from TV news - throughout the entire broadcast. It’s true in all day parts but particularly acute in the morning as a result of the smartphone being the first screen.

The findings have led to coin the phrase, SUSTAINED URGENCY, and it carries with it clear implications:

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HOT CLIPS: April 2015

HOT CLIPS: April 2015

Here's your early-spring helping of Hot Clips from our team at SmithGeiger. This month, we offer you 5 examples from newsrooms around the country...

Air & Ground Attack (WCPO Cincinnati): using a chopper and mobile phone side-by-side to cover a carjacking, first on the scene from both angles

Humanized Live Desk (KNSD San Diego): adding emotion to a Live Desk toss and hit, adding a human touch to a typically urgency-based segment

Urgent 6:30am Open (WPTV West Palm Beach): blending urgency and impactful language to kick-off a 6:30a segment loaded with energy 

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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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Late News Weather for May Sweeps

Late News Weather for May Sweeps

Weather. It’s May sweeps again – severe weather season in many parts of the country is already upon us. Weather. How much more is there that we can say about weather? Weather. In your planning for sweeps have you brought together news managers and weather teams to talk about how weather will recruit viewers and drive ratings in May – especially to late news?

As a SmithGeiger client you certainly have known for some time that weather is the number one reason for watching local news. But did you also know that weather now is one of the main reasons for changing the channel or turning off the TV? In many cases, weather is the number one cause of repetition in our local newscasts from daypart to daypart. This means viewers will actually turn the channel to see what the other meteorologists have to say. Do your viewers see the same weathercast in late news they saw at 6 p.m.? If so, you are in danger of creating an ejection point at a critical juncture in the newscast.

As you prepare for the May rating period – we believe one strategic move you should make is to take time to look at what you are going to do to win late news weather. More than likely it is time to recalculate how we present late news weather.

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