Perspectives

Copyright 2018 by DNN Corp

 

From category archives: Blog

Story Ideas all screens and platforms

Climate Change Adds to Impact of Hurricane Florence

Climate Change Adds to Impact of Hurricane Florence

As the effects of Hurricane Florence continue to be felt in the Carolinas, SmithGeiger asked Climate Central to write an article on how and why Hurricane Florence was such a different rain-maker. Climate Central is an independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the public. They provide resources for journalists covering weather and the environment. We hope you find value in reading this article and in using their work to supplement your storytelling. A lot of their material makes for great digital content with plenty of social opportunities.

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5 TSRs - October 2018

5 TSRs - October 2018

RING A BELL - A trend is sweeping its way across schools in America to start later to give kids more opportunity to get their sleep. The state of California has now banned schools from opening before 8:30. Do an audit of your school districts. Tee up some educators, sleep specialists, students, and parents to weigh in on-air and on Facebook LIVE.

FAKE CHECK SCAM - They look real and people are cashing them, so what’s the big deal? WLS in Chicago focuses on this growing trend that is apparently duping young people more and more. Banks are cashing them and then the recipient finds out they have to return the money. The BBB, FTC, the Postal Service, and likely those within your state government are involved trying to put an end to the trend.

BUS TRACKER - Now that the kids are back in school, how do you know where they are, when they leave home, and when they jump on the bus? There’s an app for that. If your bus company hasn’t made an app available, why not? Another way for busy parents to have a little more peace of mind.

ANGEL SHOT - Is that Tinder date not going so well? Is that guy next to you giving you the creeps? There are now new ways bartenders are stepping up to make sure you’re safe or need to leave the scene. Are your bars hip to the new “angel shot” system to keep women safe?

GASLIGHTING - You may have been a victim of “gaslighting” and didn’t even know it. It happens at work. It happens in relationships. It happens in politics. What is it? How can you spot the signs? How can you avoid being “gaslighted?”

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Hurricane Florence: Lessons Learned

Hurricane Florence: Lessons Learned

The past week has been a harrowing time for many local broadcasters and the communities they serve. Preparing for Hurricane Florence paid off for many SmithGeiger clients all across the East Coast. The lessons they learned (and will learn over the coming days) are worth review. If your station covers Hurricanes, Tornadic Weather, Wildfires, Flooding, Blizzards, or Ice Storms, we think you can find value in reviewing the following with your Weather, News, Digital, & Marketing teams.

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Top 10 App Download Keys

1. Do a paid Facebook app download campaign.
2. Mention your weather app virtues specific to hurricane related needs. This could be weather content or hurricane prep content that you have.
3. Drive the app as being powered by your team of hurricane experts. Give them specific roles they have in supporting the app experience.
4. Give mets time in the newscasts to talk about the app. Consider creating short packages/long bumps that weather team members can reference.
5. Have the apps specifically mentioned in ALL hurricane related content.
6. Encourage your staff to say they have the app and are using it right now.
7. Do more promos on air, making sure it isn’t a generic app download campaign.
8. Tell the audience that hundreds or thousands have downloaded the app to have the very latest on the tracks of storms headed our way.
9. Proof your apps in newscasts and weather including any push notifications. Mention how you are going to have this capability to warn during a hurricane.
10. Track your app downloads and talk about the focus, the different responsibilities, and the reviews you are getting each day in the AM editorial meetings.

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Back to School

Back to School

What does back to school time mean to you and your station? For number one stations it means an exciting opportunity to connect with viewers throughout the region. While too many stations confuse back to school with features on backpacks and bus stop forecasts starting up again, smart stations realize that back to school isn’t just about the kids ending their summer break but a fundamental change to the market.

Back to school is back to five important developments that smart stations take full advantage of:

1. Back to School
Certainly there are a big set of stories to be had with back to school, ones that touch almost every part of the station from sales to news, from traffic to weather to the sports department. Smart stations realize that back to school coverage isn’t just aimed at busy parents but recognizes that schools (including colleges and universities) are big employers in the region, are one of the biggest tax spends by local governments, and a new school year speaks to key issues facing the community such as drug abuse, gun violence, and other important issues that often benefit from the station’s investigative team taking a closer look, creating stories that are timely, relevant and speak to the entire market, not just parents.

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5 TSRs - August 2018

5 TSRs - August 2018

BRIDGE TO DISASTER - KSDK investigates the crumbling infrastructure that puts millions in jeopardy in a state near the bottom of the list when it comes to bridges. Where does your state or states stand? The bridge investigation is a data driven effort so here is a different take on how to tackle the story here from the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute.

PUPPY MILLS - Is your state one of those on the “Horrible Hundred” list? What should you look for if you’re looking for a dog? This is a highly shareable type of story that could also enhance your social media efforts as your community weighs in on what they see and hear. 

DIGITAL HEROIN - Maybe there’s just a fine line between being hooked on opioids and being hooked on your digital devices. Gaming is exploding, so are esports so what are the clinical signs of screen addiction? Help your audience get out ahead of it so their kids don’t follow in their addicted footsteps.  

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Where have all the people gone?

Where have all the people gone?

We all put stories through different filters—patrolling for clarity, urgency, pace, meaning, context and more.

The one filter we were all taught on day 1 of journalism school or at our first small market job was that “news is about people.”

At this point, you kinda want to say duh-but instead I’m gonna say oops. As in oops - a lot of our coverage is missing real people. Where have they gone? How can we get them back?

I’ve seen countless newscasts where I can say:

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10 TSRs - July 2018

10 TSRs - July 2018

1. How Safe is my Son? -  As kids get geared up to re-start school and sports programs there are an increasing amount of red flags concerning concussions and football helmets. Riddell, one of the largest helmet manufacturers in America, can’t even find a buyer because of the concussion issue. So, why allow your child to play at all? How safe are those helmets? Provide your audience with an audit of all the major school districts and what kind of helmets they are using. The attached list itemizes the three best football helmets aimed at reducing concussions so you can see if your school districts and peewee leagues are keeping safety as the primary focus.

2. The Eyes Have It - Before summer ends give the parents in your audience a few simple things to think about to keep their kids safe at the pool, on the field or just having fun. This one is a quick way to put together a July story with strong impact. 

3. How Stark is your Park? -  Ever wonder why your neighborhood park just isn’t like it was when you were growing up? The ball diamond is hardly playable, the tennis courts are full of cracks, the drainage always causes flooding, the retaining walls don’t retain – and the list goes on. In many communities decades of budget cuts and construction delays have led to a growing crisis in America’s parks. Get the ball rolling in your market with a user generated campaign where your audience sends in its thoughts, pictures and videos on which parks need the most attention. Find out how long it’s been since your parks have had a major upgrade - 25, 50, 75 years?

4. Robo Revenge - Sick and tired of those robo calls? Many times these are beyond annoying - they are scams waiting to happen. But, now there are apps for that Robo Killer, NoMoRobo and Mr. Number.  Do they work - have several of your most influential audience social media contributors give them a try. Could make for some interesting feedback in a Facebook Live too as others provide other remedies, alert you to scams or are already using a third party app and want to weigh in. Leave your audience empowered with these five ways to try to block robo calls. 

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10 TSRs - June 2018

10 TSRs - June 2018

It’s already time to gear up for Back to School. And after some of the recent highly publicized shootings the issue of safety is top of mind both in much of the research results we are seeing and of course in the minds of parents and students. To help you get underway many of this month’s TSRs focus on how safe your kids are in school, on the field and just hanging with their friends.       

1. BULLETPROOF BACKPACKS -  These days some backpacks actually claim “we’ve got your back.” WINK TV tests two different backpacks and three types of guns - you be the judge if the price is worth the piece of mind. 

2. READY FOR THE WORST - Does your state insist on active shooter drills? Many don’t. WSB wonders why Georgia doesn’t. Does yours? If so, what can your child expect…if not, why not?

3. TEEN THREATS - As your kids walk the halls how much safer are they today than before Parkland? What have your schools done to up the security? WNBC examines why the increase in teen threats and what is being done to keep your kids safe.   

4. TRENCH COAT BAN - One common theme in some of the shootings even since Columbine: trench coats used to conceal weapons. A check by KHOU found that about half the schools have banned trench coats as part of the dress code. Dig into your school districts - are they doing the same?  

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The Voice of the Voter: Interactive Voting Tools, On-Air Polls & Surveys

The Voice of the Voter: Interactive Voting Tools, On-Air Polls & Surveys

SmithGeiger has noticed an increasing number of stations using voting on-air and online/social to connect with their audiences. When used correctly, interacting with the audience can have some significant benefits. When done poorly, such on-air surveys can damage the brand, the newscast and the digital success of the station.

There are six reasons we’ve identified to consider interactive voting tools:

1. Revenue – If stations can sell the concept to local advertisers and make money, that is reason enough to consider using this tool day after day on multiple platforms. That said, stations have to know how to do it well. If a station makes a few dollars but ruins a quarter hour rating day after day with poor execution of on-air questions/contests, it can cost a station money in the long run.

Recommendation: Discuss where such interactives will appear and how often before sales is engaged to sell any voting presentations. SmithGeiger can provide additional recommendations on what content and concepts work best across screens.

2. Page Views – If stations do on-air voting and point to the website for the voting effort, it can lead to increased traffic to the website. That can be a place of sponsorship mentions, but it can also be a source of additional revenue from ads in the page beyond the sponsor mentions, not to mention additional clicks to the website from the voting page.

Recommendation: Look at the voting experience like a viewer each time such is used on-air and see if the digital team can embed videos or point to related videos and other links. The vote page should be a recirculation engine to other content if at all possible…come to vote and stay for another piece of content.

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