TV losing audience – another take…

I check out tvspy pretty much daily. Here’s a followup based on my post yesterday on dangers of non-TV types handling Internet sites…but with a twist. Thanks tvspy for the following:

From Louisville and Rick Redding at the LEO Weekly: On Media: A new formula for TV news – Here’s what Andrew Hayward, former president of CBS News, had to say about local TV news during a visit to Louisville. Local stations focus too much on crime and murder, but the reason is that it’s easier to do. It’s one sign of laziness in local newsrooms, he said, because reporters don’t need much local knowledge to show up at a crime scene and tell you what happened. One big reason viewership is shrinking, he said, is that these stories aren’t relevant to their audience. Stories should make people say, “I didn’t know that,” or “That was interesting,” and Hayward said that’s what is missing when local newscasts focus on crime.

Talk about disconnecting from your audience. If you have cloned reporters unfamiliar (or worse yet, who are “just passing through” the area) with the community whose only purpose is to get a story on every night, then you have a disconnected audience. The story could be happening anywhere. A connection MUST be made – crime is not just a statistic or a weeping relative. There is real impact beyond the event. There is the perception by those not in that community. There are the sideline victims – relatives of both the crime victim AND the perpetrator. There are issues which reach back into the past and which will impact the future.

When I worked for A Closer Look, the KQED new program in the 1970s, we did crime stories either as a quick reader or VO…or we did an indepth that went beyond the event. Usually the former. From a visual standpoint, crime and accidents are eye-candy…and frankly you do get an adrenalin rush shooting them. Unless that single crime reaches beyond the event, it is worth at most a mention.


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