Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday's story ideas

Possible changes in bankruptcy laws regarding foreclosures are being discussed in Congress. What could this mean to someone who has lost a home?

Fluorescent light bulbs are a tough sell. Many claim the light is "different." So what's the deal on the different kinds of light?

Study shows Americans are not getting enough sleep. One main cause... the Internet.

Google is working with medical officials to provide patients with their own medical history. (Reminds you of that Seinfeld episode in which Elaine tries to steal her chart.)

Habitat for Humanity is collecting aluminum cans around here. Are they doing it elsewhere, and how many cans does it take to build a house?

And it is leap day. Instead of the usual find-the-people-born-on-February-29th story, why not talk to an astronomer and get a real explanation of why this happens every four years.

Producers FYI: Since everyone now knows Obama's middle name, it might make for an interesting bumper graphic to reveal the middle names of the three other candidates. McCain's is "Sidney," Huckabee's is "Dale" and Clinton's is "Diane." (And yes, I had to look it up.)

Best line I've read today: "The cheapest energy is the energy you don't use."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday's story ideas

Snow removal costs. If you live where it snows, it is costing your municipality a lot more to remove it with diesel prices even higher than regular gas. How are officials dealing with it?

Cutting back on tipping. With people trimming their budget here and there, are waiters and waitresses feeling the pinch?

Weekend piece: Garage sales soar in popularity. Yet another bargain hunting aspect of a tight economy.

Computer energy savings. How much does it use in standby mode, sleep mode, etc. And should you simply unplug the thing at night?

Hearing problems in young people. Blasting tunes with your portable devices is sending kids to hearing specialists. How can you protect yourself while still enjoying music?

Bernanke talks about the economy today.

Heating oil prices have people considering wood burning stoves or heat generating fireplace inserts for next year.

Pomegranate juice is the hot new antioxidant.

Happy end of sweeps. So, is your stack of resume tapes ready to take to the post office tomorrow?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Dear Grapevine,

When an ad reads, "No Phone Calls" that really doesn't mean you shouldn't call, right? I would think News Directors would want reporters who are aggressive. So what's the 411?


Dear J.D.,

Yes, "no phone calls" is secret management code.

Seriously, no phone calls means don't call. Don't email, fax, text or communicate with anything other than your resume tape. Just imagine you're a News Director with 300 applicants... do you want every one to call you about the job? And would anything other than what's on the tape sway your opinion?

I have one ND friend who automatically disqualifies people who call when they're not supposed to. He says, "If people can't follow simple directions, I don't want them."

Send your tape and fuhgeddaboudit. If they want you, they'll call.

Dear Grapevine,

Do News Directors first look at the tapes that are sent via overnight delivery?


Dear Linda,

Nope. Half the time they're opened and stacked up by an assistant. And honestly, no ND cares how your tape arrived. Save your money.

But here's a trick. If you know someone at the station, send the tape to that person and have it hand delivered to the ND.

Hey Grapevine,

I sent a few hundred emails to News Directors and hardly any of them responded. What gives?


Dear Jack,

News Directors get hundreds of emails each day and simply don't have time. And with fear of computer viruses, many managers are not likely to open emails from people they don't know.

You've still gotta send the tape.

Dear Grapevine,

I'm a college student about to graduate and have no way to edit a decent tape. Our campus equipment is awful. Any ideas?

-Class of '08

Dear eighter,

This one's easy. Call the Chief Photographers at the local stations in your market and ask to hire a photog to help you put your tape together. It will look a lot better and not cost as much as you might think. Photogs are a very kind and helpful lot.

Got questions? We've got answers (or at least opinions.) Send 'em to

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tuesday's story ideas

Negative politics. McCain & Huckabee seem to get along while Hillary & Obama are firing sarcasm back and forth. How is this affecting voters?

Lowest-ever ratings for the Academy Awards. How's the movie business in your market?

This week's reason to quit smoking. The use of Vitamin E may cause tuberculosis in heavy smokers.

Daylight saving time starts in March. Yes, Congress moved it up (probably so they could play golf earlier) to save energy, and that resulted in a one percent hike in gasoline usage last year. The other big effect... teachers and students: how can people teach and learn when they're zombies? Since it isn't working, will Congress move it back to late April, the way it used to be?

Need a second mortgage or equity loan? Fuhgeddaboudit. Banks are cutting off lines of credit.

Government estimates health care will eat twenty percent of its budget in ten years. (A lot of people will be on Medicare as the boomers retire.)

Travel illness. With so many people getting sick on cruises and planes packed like sardines, how can you protect yourself?

Feature: Starbucks to close its stores at 5:30 this afternoon for three hours to refresh employees on the coffee making process and how to make the perfect cup of joe.

Feature: Massages for your pet. (I'm not making this up.)

And don't forget to contribute your own story ideas (after you've used them, of course...)

Monday's story ideas

Ralph Nader joins the presidential race as a third party candidate. Talk to whatever local third party members you can find. And how effective are their campaigns in your market?

And along those lines, it is generally accepted that this will hurt the Democrats. Get local reaction from the Dems.

Borrowing money becomes more expensive for municipalities. That could mean higher property taxes.

Newspaper endorsements. Has anyone ever explained why newspapers endorse politicians but television stations rarely do? And do voters follow endorsements, or just buy the paper that most mirrors their views?

Gas prices up 16 cents in two weeks, and spring break is upon us. Will this change travel plans?

FYI... Phoenix has the cheapest gas in the country.

Moving a parent into your home. At what point does mom or dad become a dependant?