Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday's story ideas

Trucker idling. Ever see a truck parked just idling away, burning fuel? Well, that's because truckers sleep in their cabs and need a/c or heat. Environmentalists would like to see truck stops equipped with a system that would allow truckers to "plug in" and therefore save billions in wasted fuel.

What's a caucus? We all know what a primary is, but how does a caucus differ?

Health care people are reporting that many women are fainting after getting a shot of Gardasil.

New study shows teenage smokers may be more susceptible to hearing loss. Also applies to children of women who smoked while pregnant.

End of the video store? Netflix will sell movies direct to your TV thru a high speed Internet connection.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thursday's story ideas

Oil hits $100 per barrel. How high can it go, and at what point will people cut back on driving? And who's buying gas guzzlers?

Study shows people who use cell phones while driving cause traffic delays. Not to mention it is dangerous.

Iowa primaries. How much interest in your market?

The Fed will consider further rate cuts.

It's really cold, and really expensive to heat your home. Check out how people who can't afford heat are hanging out at the mall.

And with cold hitting Florida, you might want to stock up on juices before the prices go higher.

Suspended licenses. Just read that Jim Leyritz (the former Yankee in the alleged DUI incident) had a suspended license in NY but was OK to drive in Florida since DMV computers of the two states hadn't exchanged the info. What takes so long (I know, it's the DMV) and why is anyone allowed to drive anywhere with a suspended license? What's the law in your market?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wednesday's story ideas

FCC changes rules regarding the switch to digital. Explain what this means to your viewers who probably think they'll need to buy a whole bunch of new TV sets.

What are some of the new laws that have taken effect in your market on January first?

Raw milk (milk that hasn't been pasteurized) might be the trendy food this year. (We got it from the milkman that way when I was a kid.) Is this healthy, or what?

Young people have a new hangout... the public library. Not just for Internet access, but for those neat things called books.

Political polls... how honest are people when they're called, and what's the math behind these things?

Cut your stress level by cleaning your house. Studies show that clutter causes stress, which can lead to all sorts of health problems.

Some troubled banks are hitting late credit card payers with interest rates of 3o percent. Tell viewers how they can avoid getting whacked.

New gym memberships. The most popular New Year's resolution can land you in a gym club contract that can be very expensive to break. Show viewers how to choose carefully.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Resolutions you might consider

Most people make pretty normal know, lose weight, quit smoking, send out ten resume tapes each month, etc. But if you're stuck for something meaningful you might give it a little more thought, and it might even help your career.

Considering the state of local news, the business in general, and the fact that viewers are leaving in droves you might think the biz has no future. Let's face it, it is not exactly a growth industry. But while TV News as we know it now may not exist in the near future, you can still make it better in the present. I'm always reminded of the great Carole Kneeland, the late News Director who worked in Texas and coined the phrase, "It is never the wrong time to do the right thing." Carole had a wonderful view of the news business, as she basically turned down the police scanner and did stories that actually affected people. She also believed in treating people well, something that is often lost in many newsrooms today. If you simply let her famous quote weave its way through your life and career, you might see things in a different light...and make this business a little better.

So, with that in mind, here are a few suggestions to "re-invent" yourself in 2008:

-Make a difference with a story. Once each month, make it a point to knock out a package that makes the world a better place.

-Don't "advance" a story for the sake of advancing. Too often this leads to speculation, rumors and misinformation. We're not in the rumor business. If you have nothing new in the way of hard facts, tell the public just that. Viewers would appreciate the honesty. The Duke lacrosse story and the Sean Taylor murder are perfect examples of stories that got out of hand.

-Praise a co-worker in front of someone else. Don't just tell the photog he shot some great video, make sure someone hears you say it.

-Welcome the new person at your station. Too often the new guy gets the cold shoulder because someone else wasn't promoted from within.

-Do stories that really affect the viewer. Don't just take a press release and pass it on. Find two sides of the story, then look for the third point of view... one that affects the average person.

-If you're an on-air person, be nice to the people who make you look good. Treat a photog to lunch, thank the truck op for pulling cables, buy a box of donuts for the morning meeting.

-Don't yell in the newsroom. Ever.

-Bury the ego.
-Spend time in someone else's shoes. If you're a reporter, don't criticize a producer if you've never spent a minute in the control room. If you're a producer, don't send field crews on assignments that can't be completed unless you've spent time in the field. Find out what everyone in the newsroom does and you might have a better appreciation of other points of view.

-Print out the phrase "It is never the wrong time to do the right thing" and stick it above your computer. It might help you make good decisions in the future.

Tuesday's story ideas

Health clubs are open as the most popular resolution takes hold.

How did your market do on New Year's Eve as far as safety went? Check with cops, cab companies, etc. to see if people celebrated sensibly.

Connecticut begins offering high school courses online. Will this be a trend, and how can this help students who might need extra help?

New study shows that deep sleep cuts our risk for type 2 diabetes.

Bush signs new law regarding government information. How does this change the Freedom of Information act, something we often depend on?

Monday, December 31, 2007

Monday's story ideas

I know this isn't an original idea, but it is very important that your station do something about the dangers of drinking and driving. Don't just talk to a police officer, show the effects of driving under the influence as it affects real people.

And while you're at it, how are people who sell liquor doing when it comes to preventing sales to minors? Are the laws and practices in your market effective?

Last day to donate to charity for a tax break.

New study shows yoga can be very helpful in preventing heart disease.

Canadian research shows that online dating can be just as disappointing as traditional dating. (Amazing that anyone spent money on such research, but might make for an interesting feature.) Considering this is a big date night, might make for a fun live shot to find people who met online.

The heck with New Year's resolutions, what's in your "bucket list?" (Things to do before you kick the bucket.) I think this will become a catch phrase for baby boomers.