Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday's story ideas

Funeral protests... this story isn't going away. Keep an eye out for First Amendment stories. When does the right to free speech cross the line?

Speaking of which, Don Imus signed a contract yesterday and returns in December to NY radio (maybe TV.)

How to "get out" of a foreclosure... the legal process of a foreclosure can be long and painful... sometimes you can make a deal with your lender to sell your home for less than you actually owe, because it will save the lender time & money in the long run.

Changing leaves. If you haven't shot 'em yet, Friday's a good day for a photo essay with some music. (Though not much you can do with falling pine needles if you live in the South.)

Flu shots....why is getting one STILL a hard sell with influenza being the sixth leading cause of death among American adults?

Time change this weekend. We're gaining an hour, but will that mess up our internal clocks. And what about our moods taking a tumble with less light in the fall and winter months. Are we candidates for SAD or "seasonal affective disorders?"

Last two story ideas from "Cleveland Annie"... thanks.

FYI, eventually we would like this to be a clearinghouse of story ideas. So feel free to send yours and share.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday's story ideas

Lethal injection too inhumane? When I first heard this story, my first reaction was, "So they'd rather go back to the electric chair?" This is a water cooler story.

Fed rate cut yesterday. How does this affect your market?

Foreclosures jump.... if you've got the cash, how do you find a bargain in this buyer's market?

Truckers drug tests. The government says it is too easy to cheat.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holy ballot box, Batman, it's election day!

It happens every year at many stations. Elections sneak up on unprepared anchors and turn liberal Democrats into card-carrying Republicans. At least that's what the viewers hear.

Yeah, it's an off-year election, but there are races here and there.

And if you're an anchor, nothing exposes a weakness like Election Night. You're flying without a net, numbers are being thrown at you fast and furious... and if you don't know a thing about politics you end up with a stumbling monologue of mispronounced names, wrong political parties and a deep longing for Mapquest on the set.

If you're anchoring an Election Night broadcast next week, start preparing now. Learn the players, know which candidates are the incumbents, be familiar with the districts, and actually do some research. Make some flash cards with interesting tidbits about each candidate.

Prep now and your election night will be a breeze.

You're in sweeps every day

Happy first days of sweeps. Ok, everybody panic.

That's right, viewers at home who generally watch one station will suddenly slap themselves in the forehead after seeing a promo called "Stairway to Death" and yell, "Wow! You can die on an escalator! We'd better watch the other station!"

In reality, sweeps were over and won or lost months ago.

Viewers are slow to change their viewing habits. They grow comfortable with a newscast because it delivers what they want every day, not just during three twenty-eight-day periods each year.

Yes, everybody does special series or single stories designed to lure the viewer during these crucial months, but these days viewers are wise to those old tricks. They may tune in for a story or two, but chances are they'll go back to their comfort zone. And with everyone doing the same thing, most sweeps stunts cancel themselves out.

You wanna move that comfort zone and win February sweeps? Don't give your viewers garbage in December and January when everyone else does. Break some big stories and be the only game in town. That's how you get people to sample your product.

And here's a wild concept... promote them with the same effort you do during sweeps.

Every war is won or lost before it is fought.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wednesday's story ideas

Fed rate cut... will they or won't they. It's decision day. Find out what it means, especially to home sales in your market.

Hollywood writers set to go on strike... and all because you young people like to watch shows on your computer and cell phone. Someone's making extra money here and it isn't the noble writer. Could see a ton of reality shows if the strike goes on a while.

Mystery shopping. It's becoming more popular as consumers get free stuff and a few bucks while companies get the info they need.

The "superbug"... what is MRSA and can it affect anyone?

And of course it's Halloween. Though in the last few years some girls who have come to our door look as though they should be accompanied by a public defender. Someone has written a book titled Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank. (I'm not making this up.) Might be interesting for the night crews to find a few girls dressed as Paris or Britney... and find out what parents think of this trend.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tuesday's story ideas

Halloween moved? Turns out Wednesday nite is a church nite in the Bible Belt and some towns have moved Trick-or-Treat up or back a day.

Gas prices. Oil is more than $90 per barrel but gas prices haven't moved much. Can someone explain this?

Holiday toys. OK, I know it's early but the Christmas decorations are in the stores already. So what's a parent to do when most of the toys are made in China? Are people worried those building blocks might have lead based paint?

New children's health bill. I've looked at it, and to me it looks like an income tax form. Find someone to explain it in English. And it appears the benefits vary by state. How much would it mean to a family in your market?

Looking ahead... Veterans Day is just around the corner. Line up your vets and get them in the can now, so you don't have to go scrambling at the last minute.

Monday's story ideas

-How to sell a house when you can’t sell a house. Many people are turning to the auction process. Explain how it works, and what you might expect.

-High energy costs for winter. Many people are cutting their usage by installing “on demand” water heaters. Put together a consumer piece on this green product that is becoming very popular.

-Time change. The government has pushed the time change back to November this year, which has some school kids going to the bus stop in the dark. Sounds a bit dangerous. What do parents & legislators think of this?

-Halloween feature. Just about everyone has bought a pumpkin by now, so what’s left? What happens to the ugly, homeless pumpkins nobody wants?

Looking ahead: sweeps start in a few days, so keep an eye out for stories that might play well with network shows. For instance, if your parent network is airing a movie about adoption, you might do a localized piece on the same topic for the late newscast. Check your networks sweeps rundown.