Perspectives

Copyright 2018 by DNN Corp

 

From category archives: Blog

News and the Newsroom - all day parts,all screens, from breaking news to back stories

Mergers, Acquisitions & You

Mergers, Acquisitions & You

All the talk of mergers and “will we be sold?” dominates a lot of brainpower lately. Most everybody you talk to is either for sale, buying somebody, or speculates if they are one or the other.

Hasn’t felt this way for a while—maybe never.

And…you begin asking yourself in most waking hours whether you’ll find threat or opportunity as things shake out. What do we hope will happen? What do we hope won’t happen?

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5 Takeaways from ONA

5 Takeaways from ONA

Here are five takeaways from the 2018 Online News Association annual conference in Austin, Sept. 13-15. I’ve been to 14 of the 19 conferences held since the organization formed in 2000 and I am already looking forward to the 20th edition next year in New Orleans.

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Hot Clips: October 2018

Hot Clips: October 2018

Our October Hot Clips show-off a slick web layout, social whip-around, and a fire-powered start to an evening newscast...

PrePro Power (WBRC, Birmingham): using a bit of pre-production to add some visual energy to the top of a 6pm show

On Scene (ABC News): a series of digital "whips" from reporters, featured on the Facebook Watch platform

Fueling Traffic (WINK, Ft. Myers): embedding a gas price mention into a local traffic report

One Nation, Divisible (Wall Street Journal): a compelling web layout, and striking article about major social shifts in small vs. big cities

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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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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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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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The Next Modernization Of Digital And Live TV

The Next Modernization Of Digital And Live TV

Why do we inject digital references in our copy for live newscasts?

Easy answer, right? Pump up awareness for our digital platforms. Signal that our website, apps, and social media are alive and kicking all day and night. Some have gotten pretty good at blending in digital references without obliterating newscasts. Some overdo it.

ALSO: Saying, “we first told you_____on our APP at 2:30 today…” has become the 2018 way of saying we were FIRST to report a story, replacing the old version of back selling to the prior TV newscasts.

That’s was we’ve done. Here’s what we need to do next:

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Want Higher Engagement? Form Facebook Groups!

Want Higher Engagement? Form Facebook Groups!

Amid the flurry of industry headlines regarding the Facebook algorithm changes during the first quarter of 2018 emerged a conversation around the renewed potential for news organizations to use Facebook Groups to connect with their audiences. Facebook hosted a small group of journalists at their Austin headquarters during the SXSW conference in March to take a deep dive into Groups and here are some of the learnings from that session:

The meeting began with an algorithm update: As you are likely aware, changes were made to filter out Tag baiting, Like baiting, and Share baiting; all have decreased importance on Facebook today.

The 2018 Priorities for News on Facebook:

- Trusted sources and Informative content: Prioritizing news that people have told Facebook they find informative
- Local news: 82% of people are somewhat or extremely interested in local news on Facebook
- Local + News source = local publisher (per the algorithm)

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2018 Resolutions to Evolve

2018 Resolutions to Evolve

018 begins and with it comes resolutions— fresh terms and fresh thinking. If I were in charge of media terminology, here’s what I’d suggest we change in the new year:

- Old Term: Digital First New term: Audience First

Most stations have outgrown the fear of putting news on digital before broadcast. Most stations get it—that digital is a big deal. So, in 2018 let’s get smart and balance resources to deliver news on multiple platforms based on audience needs, habits, and lifestyles. AUDIENCE FIRST.

- Old term: Sweeps New Term: Planning

There are still lingering strategies to support “sweeps” months. There still might be some bragging rights associated with Nov/Feb/May—but ask any director of sales in 2018 and they’ll tell you they need year-round ratings to make money. So, it’s all about PLANNING for opportunities every month of the year.

- Old term: Professional New Term: Relatable

Being professional remains an objective for our on-air talent, but it’s simply not enough. Viewers are looking for more. More empathy, more authenticity, a greater understanding how stories affect their emotions. If it’s fake and scripted, it won’t work. But increasingly the audience wants real people, RELATABLE people on their screens.

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