Friday, February 11, 2011

It's the content, stupid

Bill Clinton won the Presidency in 1992 with his in-house campaign slogan of, "It's the economy, stupid." Which meant, of course, that the one thing voters cared most about was the economy.

So I have to laugh when I see stations continually tinker with everything but the one thing that brings viewers back night after night.


Every market seems to have one or even two of these stations. Every two years or so they change slogans, sets, graphics, the name of the newscast. They go through anchors like Kleenex. They try high story counts, driving viewers to the Internet, social networking, giveaways during the newscast in sweeps.

And most of the time, those stations never move in the ratings. Because they don't give the viewers what they want most.


In this economy, in this time in history, people have no more tolerance for BS. You either give them something worth their time, or they'll change the channel. They don't want to be teased, prodded, sent to their computer to search for more information, or given the weather forecast five times in thirty minutes. The job market is horrible, money is beyond tight, world economies are collapsing, the Middle East is on the brink...

And local stations give viewers a YouTube video of a convenience store robbery.

These days, more than ever, you must make your stories relevant. If you're a reporter, find stories that really affect the viewer. If you're a producer, stop filling your newscast with garbage. If you're a News Director, consider your title... and start demanding that your staff gather actual news.

You want better ratings? It's the content, stupid.

You want a better resume tape? Fill it with meaningful content.


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