Saturday, March 8, 2008

Easy weekend MOS

If you're in need of irate taxpayers on camera, hit the man in the street with this...

The IRS will send out letters to taxpayers telling them a check is coming in a few months. The cost: 42 million dollars.

Why they couldn't put the letter in with the check is beyond me, but if you're stuck with time to fill this weekend this might get some spirited responses.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday's story ideas

What does "off the record" really mean, and what are the rules? In light of the Obama adviser's "monster" comment about Hillary, explain to the viewers your newsroom's policy of "off the record."

"Lung age." Well, smokers can now find out the virtual "age" of their lungs, which improves the chances that they'll quit.

Pentagon says some google satellite maps pose security risk. Might be interesting to see what you can and cannot dial up.

Hearing impaired phones. Many government agencies provide special amplified phones for the hard of hearing free of charge.

Soldiers who endure multiple tours in Iraq are susceptible to mental health problems.

British study shows happiness can be genetic. (The gene is predominantly recessive in News Directors, however.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wednesday's story ideas

Primary recap. Check with the local delegations. What will the Republicans do now? And how will the Democrats "lobby" their superdelegates?

And what is a George Bush endorsement going to do for McCain in your market?

Health story. Hormone therapy may increase breast cancer risks.

Radios & flashlights that use cranks rather than batteries. These are really becoming popular when severe weather hits. (In fact, I've got a flashlight with an attachment that will charge my cell phone.)

Farmers markets. They use local produce, so don't have the transit costs that supermarkets do. Better prices & fresher stuff.

Time change coming in a few days. Now's the time to talk to teachers & students about going to school in a zombie state next week.

Wedding planners. They're getting busy with June brides gearing up.

Why no women in the IT field? (I know, guys have the geek market cornered.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Hey grapevine,

I sent out a bunch of tapes for openings I saw a few weeks ago and have heard nothing. No calls, no emails, nada. Not even a rejection. What gives?



Patience, Grasshopper. First, you sent tapes out during sweeps, which probably means the ND is just getting around to looking at them. And try to keep in mind that a ND doesn't come to work and spend every waking minute trying to fill an opening. If they want you, they'll call. Send your tapes & fuhgeddaboudit.

Dear Grapevine,

My News Director is just mean to everyone. Is this typical?


Dear Lisa,

Your news director is a cylon. They have a plan. There are many copies.


How much "wiggle room" is there when negotiating a contract? When a News Director says "that's what's in the budget" does that mean the offer is written in stone?

-B. L.

Dear B.L.,

Ah, you should have spent some time with my dad in a car dealership. The man knew how to haggle.

Seriously, the first offer is rarely the best one, but don't push too hard if you're young and don't have any other offers. News Directors can be creative with accounting and find a few dollars here and a few perks there. Just remember that when you ask for more, ask politely.


How do I get someone to go on camera who probably doesn't want to go on camera?


Dear Laurie,

Well, if this is one of those knock-on-the-door-to-get-a-soundbite type stories, it is best to show up without a photog first and just talk. Ambush journalism generally gets you nowhere. People are likely to be more relaxed if they open the door and just see a reporter standing there, rather than a camera, microphone and blazing lights.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday's story ideas

Super Tuesday, part deux. If Hillary loses tomorrow, should she drop out? And for those of you in primary states, check out last minute grass roots efforts.

Survey says one third of workers have fallen asleep on the job. Why are people not getting enough sleep? (Get this... the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has video of security guards sleeping on the job. And you thought Homer Simpson was a fictional character.)

Bicycle sales for kids. With parents acting as chauffeurs, you don't see kids on bikes much anymore. What is this doing to the two wheeler industry and the local bike shop?

Study shows teenagers who eat breakfast are less likely to have weight problems. Might check with a high school that has a breakfast program.

Since home building is way down, what is this doing to places like Home Depot & Lowes?

Time change is coming. This will be the earliest date ever to set the clocks forward. Those who thought it would save energy found out that it actually created a one percent increase. So will Congress move it back to late April? Why not abolish Daylight Saving Time altogether?

Jack Nicholson's commercial for Hillary Clinton. While this is the most enjoyable commercial I've seen all year, it begs the question: do celebrity endorsements carry any weight?

Planning to move this summer? Get ready for much higher prices due to fuel costs.