Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday's story ideas

Steroids. (Frankly, I'm shocked that Barry Bonds would lie about this stuff.) Anyway, how easy/hard is it to get steroids in your market? Or via the Internet? And what's the penalty?

Deadly colds. New virus this season can actually kill you.

Why are people still writing checks? Today in the grocery store I feel like I'm in a Visa commercial as I'm stuck behind a woman writing a check for two bucks. (Then she can't find her ID.) Anyway, explore the consumer advantages of a credit/debit card. In my case, I enjoy hoarding frequent flier miles, hotel points, or rebates on gasoline.

Gas legislation. Democrats are trying to push for tougher mileage regulations. What are the members of Congress in your market saying?

Nursing home legislation. Congress seeking tougher regs for the local Shady Rest.

Midwest story. Middle American governors band together with an agreement to reduce pollution.

Air space "express lane" to aid holiday travel. How does this actually work, and will it really make a difference if bad weather hits?

And along those lines.... share some strategies for those who get bumped off flights. What are their rights, and how much can you really get in compensation from an airline?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thursday's story ideas

It's Great American Smokeout Day. Don't smoke 'em if you got 'em. Find creative ways people are trying to quit.

Airport security. Lots of bad things were smuggled past screeners by those testing the system. How extensive is the training for TSA employees in your market?

Shortened sentences for crack cocaine related offenses. This would be retroactive if passed and could set twenty thousand people free. What's the reaction in your market?

Virginia Tech is testing a new emergency system. What are the schools in your market doing?

Market basket. Price of a Thanksgiving dinner this year is up. Go shopping for a bird and all the trimmings.

Fight colds & flu without a trip to the drug stores. Can enough fruits, veggies, chicken soup and green tea have the same effect as an over the counter drug?

The vanishing stock broker. Has online trading made these guys obsolete?

Poker craze. What makes young people so addicted to online poker, and why are people watching it so much on TV?

And finally... not a story but a reminder to watch your headlines and supers. One such headline today read, "US shares intelligence with Turkey." The mental images can be quite amusing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wednesday's story ideas

Green story. Go unplugged. Even things that aren't in use, like cell phone chargers and some appliances draw power. Cut your energy bill and do your part to save the planet.

Extended warranties. In this season of appliances and electronics, are these things worth it? (Would companies want to sell them so badly if they were?)

Knockoff Christmas tree lights. Some companies are producing cheap and sometimes dangerous lights and simply copying the underwriters laboratory logo. UL is a non-profit organization that certifies products are safe. So how do you know what's safe?

Travel story. With airlines flights & hotel rooms so expensive, do you have frequent filer miles or points ready to expire? Miles are notoriously hard to redeem, so ask a travel agent for some tricks. And if you can't use them, did you know you can get things like magazine subscriptions for miles?

Criminals love foreclosures. Abandoned homes attract copper thieves, drug dealers, and other ne'er do wells.

Year end tax strategies. Charitable donations, buying energy saving products with tax breaks, etc.

Health story. FDA decision on Avandia is near. What does this mean to people with diabetes?

Another health story, but one with little video. STD's reach record high. You'll have to get creative with this one.

Local sports... going, going, gone?

One of the more disturbing trends of late is the cutting down or even elimination of sports segments in local newscasts. Some consultants seem to feel that the average viewer doesn't care about sports, and those who do will automatically turn to ESPN.

They couldn't be more wrong on both counts.

There are two things to consider regarding sports these days. Personally, I shudder to think how much of my life I've spent watching the Mets and the football Giants over the years. And how much I've spent on satellite TV and the NFL Sunday Ticket. But to simply assume I'll turn on ESPN every day to get my sports fix is a very wrong assumption. There are a few shows I'll watch on that channel, but to be honest, Sportscenter skews pretty young. If you're, uh, middle aged like me, the Sportscenter schtick can get a little annoying at times. A funny comment once in awhile is fine, but one on every single play of every single highlight just gets tired. It's for that same reason I cannot listen to Jim Rome. It's just a generational thing, I'm sure, but the point is there are still plenty of sports fans out there who will watch local sports.

The other thing to consider is our child-obsessed society. Growing up I spent every day of every summer playing baseball, and I don't believe my parents ever saw me play. As a kid, I didn't want them there anyway. But these days, parents have to attend every single game to watch their children. Don't you think those parents want to see their kids on TV as part of a local sportscast?

The perfect local sportscast provides a blend of both. Give me the highlights of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, and give families a look at their kids on the soccer field. The one thing consultants fail to address is the fact that unless you live in a major market, you can't watch local sports on ESPN.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tuesday's story ideas

China policy. Forget the toy problem, have you tried to buy anything made in this country? Or something not made in China? Find out if there's a manufacturer in your market that isn't outsourcing.

College smoke-out. Sixty campuses in the US have gone smoke free. (So much for the pipe smoking professor.) Is there one in your market? And if not, are your local colleges considering it?

Global warming diet. It promotes fruits and veggies and less red meat, since apparantly it takes a lot of enegry to process meat. And there's the energy to produce cattle feed. And of course, there's the methane from cows, but let's leave that bit of nat sound out of our packages.

Holiday gift cards. These wonderul presents are perfect for people who hate to shop, but they sometimes come with expiration dates. And a survey showed that more than a quarter of them are never used. (Pretty good profit for the stores.)

Hybrid cars are flying off the lots, but hybrid trucks are not. Are they not macho enough? Why aren't these catching on?

It takes 100 million trees to produce one year's worth of all the junk mail in this country. How can you prevent your mailbox from overflowing with this stuff? (Hint... the words "opt out" are key to this story.)

Text messaging. Incredibly hot with kids who don't speak anymore, but has resulted in "TMI" or "text messaging injuries" which includes carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. (I'm not making this up.) An entire generation of teenagers that can't hold a pen is on the horizon.

Virginia feature story. One in ten vanity plates are in your state. Must be all those members of Congress who don't live in DC.

Monday's story ideas

Veterans Day. Along with the traditional Vet's Day piece, send out a photog to do a nat sound show closer, or a musical tribute to end your newscast.

And while on the subject of veterans, you might explore the Vet's spending bill now working its way through congress. What will this mean to the average vet? Supposedly it would speed up their benefits process and take better care of those soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Which new hybrids get the best mileage? And which standard cars get better mileage than hybrids? And how well do hybruds hold their value?

Kiss off. Someone actually did a study that found some red lipsticks contain lead. Estee Lauder is now going green, using organic products in its cosmetics.

Home heating. How energy efficient are the latest Energy Stars? Is it worth it to replace your old system in light of what will surely be a very expensive winter? Do the math for your viewers.

Tax relief bill for middle class just passed. Explain it.

Congress wants a 61 cent increase in taxes on a pack of cigarettes. How much would it take for a smoker to quit?

-Share your story ideas! We'll post the good ones.