Leading with a “happening now” story almost always trumps a lesser important geographically local story.
If the story is of interest to your viewers, no matter where it occurred, it’s a story of local interest.
When I woke up Wednesday morning, there were only two stories that caught my eye. One was the baby stroller recall and the other was the news that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been hospitalized overnight.
Why did those two stories grab my attention? I noticed them because I saw them as being “significant” and because they were new.
Morning viewers are reconnecting
Viewers wake up in the morning wanting to know what’s happening right now, what significant stories happened over night, and what’s going to be the big “talkers” later in the day.
About the only time viewers are out of touch with the news these days is when they are sleeping. When they turn on the morning news, they are wanting to reconnect with the world.
The lead stories you select are incredibly important. Yesterday’s news, even if written with a “forward slant,” probably doesn’t make for a very good lead story. Too many producers get hung up thinking “hyper local.” A vacant house fire that happened geographically within your region is not a better lead story than the baby stroller recall. The recall is new, affects more people, and your local viewers are interested in that, so it actually is a local story.
An issue of interest
It’s not an issue of geography, it’s an issue of interest. If the story is of interest to your local viewers, no matter where it actually occurred, then it’s a story of local interest.
The news also broke Wednesday morning that two Americans had been selected by the Pope as Cardinals. That’s a story of significant interest to the Catholics in your viewership, and it’s new. That should have been considered a significant story Wednesday morning by any local morning news show.
Don’t just dump national and international stories into those “around the nation” or “around the world” segments. Sometimes the most significant stories are pushed into the back of a show, simply because they are from somewhere else.
Remember, it’s not what happened within your region, it is what is of interest within your region.
Doug Drew is a morning news specialist with 602 Communications. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Doug on facebook http://www.facebook.com/dougdrew and on twitter at http://twitter.com/dougdrew