Feeding Viewer’s Appetite for New Information

By Doug Drew 

  • Find out what’s new and put it at the top.
  • Viewers want to know what’s happening right now.

Whether you are writing a story or producing a newscast, one of the keys to success is to make sure that you are immediately getting to the most up to date information. What’s new and whats fresh must come first. Viewers today are more informed than ever, and the first whiff that they get of old news, they are gone.

Priority on new developments
Veteran News Director Keith Connors is a master at getting reporters and producers to get right to the new developments. “Tell people what’s new and push the story forward,” says Connors. “People want to know what’s happening right now. Find out whats new and put it at the top of the show,” he says.

We are in the update business
“We live in a very immediate age. Information is readily available,” says Scott Tallal of Insite Media Research, “Viewers now live in a constant stream of news and information. There are so many sources and so many delivery platforms that we are literally immersed in it,” he adds.
Tallal says “the-newscast-of-record model has long since been broken by the combination of real-time delivery systems. As a result, most viewers now want their local TV stations to be in the reaction and update business.”
“With the exception of news which is truly breaking at the time it’s being reported, most viewers want coverage which brings them the very latest on the stories they’ve been following all day (if not longer). The last thing they want is yet another rehash of what they’ve already seen and heard countless times before,” says Tallal.


Happening Now
Significant stories that are breaking or “happening now,” no matter where they are occurring, almost always trump a less immediate local story. That doesn’t mean you need to devote significant amounts of time to these stories, but viewers expect to see them right off the top, or to break in with them. When viewers tune in, they want to know what is going on right now as compared to what happened earlier in the day.

Tell viewers it’s new
Don’t be shy in telling viewers you have new information. Viewers aren’t paying nearly the attention we think they are. You have to tell viewers that you have something new or some interesting new video. You have to work hard to get the viewers attention.

Bottom line
Start with what’s new. Don’t back into a story. Begin with the latest and make sure your viewers know it’s the freshest information available.

Doug Drew is a morning news specialist with 602 Communications. He can be reached at ddrew@602communications.com. Follow Doug on facebook http://www.facebook.com/dougdrew and on twitter at http://twitter.com/dougdrew