Cardboard Cutouts of ‘Viewers’ to Focus News Decisions Nothing New

By Kevin Eck 

FTVLive wrote about Media General’s WSPA in Spartanburg, S.C. using a cardboard cut out of a woman the station has named Michelle to focus the newsroom’s efforts.

Staffers were told, “Michelle is who you want watching your newscasts, your stories. She will be in every editorial meeting with us and in the newsroom during the day. She will likely make occasional trips to Greenville and Anderson. When you pitch, pitch to her. When you write, write to her.”

Jim Romenesko followed it up with someone who says they’ve seen it before and sees a consulting firm’s fingerprints all over it.

“[Consulting firm] Magid had our station call our target ‘Lisa DeVries’ in the fall of 2012,” said the anonymous tipster. “I don’t know if the photos are from Facebook or if they are stock photos, but seeing this Media General story makes me think that Magid’s hands are a part of this creation.”

TVSpy asked Media General to confirm the cutout was being used. We will update if we hear back.