Advice for the Last Half of May … Honesty

interviewBy Steve Schwaid, VP of Digital Strategies

Are you doing real local news?  Relevant news?

I’m not talking about the robbery at the 7-11; the two druggies on the street corner that shot one another; or another suspicious package that turned out to be someone’s lunch.

Are you telling honest to goodness stories?

Be critical of your newsgathering.  Are you really digging deep and providing unique information to viewers?  Have you broken down stories that affect your community?

Many of our clients are asking us what viewers want as we head into the last half of May sweeps. In particular, “How do I get viewers to watch our late newscast?”

Here are some suggestions that work every night:

Your late news audience comes primarily from your lead-in.  Study your lead-in demos.

Women drive late news viewing. Focus on stories they care about. They want real news that’s relevant to them. They want stories and investigations that relate to their lives, their health, their family’s safety and their kids.  They want more than they can find online – more perspective and context.

Simple and obvious you say? Well, we often hear from news directors that they’re doing this “cool story.” But who is it cool to? Many times it’s cool to the newsroom or to another manager.  Who is willing to push back and question doing that “cool” story?

Test your topics.  Call your mom and ask her if she’d want to watch the story and tell her to be honest. Go to the folks in sales or traffic and ask them what they think of the story.  Ask them to be honest. Would it be enough to keep them up to watch the late news?

Honesty – that’s the theme here. You have to be honest with your viewers. If the story doesn’t impact them, do you honestly think they will watch?

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