The Importance of ‘Talkers’ in Morning Newscasts

By Doug Drew 

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One of the reasons viewers tune into a morning newscast is to find out what people are going to be talking about that day. Viewers want to be prepared when they get to school, work, or wherever they are going. They don’t want to be left out of the conversation. People want to appear smart and up-to-date. When they have time to chat at work, they want to be the one who says, “Hey, did you hear about…?”

Radio talk shows in the morning have been masters at this for years. They take the big “talker” story and chat about it all morning long. The get their phone lines lighting up from viewers who want to weigh in on the issue.

Stories that get people talking
They key is identifying which stories are going to catch the attention of viewers.
Few people are going to talk about the meth bust overnight or the two-alarm house fire. Those are routine news stories. Unless there is something really different about them, most people will see them as typical new stories. Certainly newsworthy, but not something they will take away with them after watching your show.

Anchors, often it is up to you
In my morning news workshops, I often put the burden of finding these stories on the anchors of the shows. The producers will get in all the important stories of the day, but the anchors are usually the best ones to take a step back from the must-do stories and find the talkers.

So, what types of stories am I talking about? Here are some “talkers” I found just yesterday, and it only took me about 15 minutes of searching:

Police car in Biden motorcade gets into an accident en route to “The Daily Show.”
California will cite skinny-dippers
Sucking up to the boss, does brown-nosing work?
Comedy films, even lousy ones, are doing great at the box office.
Costco won’t sell Coke products
3,000 year old mummy had heart disease
Nicolas Cages broke, but had 14 homes, 4 yachts, an island, and a private jet.
More airlines raising prices to travel over the holidays

Many resources
Use the internet to dig up interesting nuggets about the story. Ask viewers to weigh in on the issue using facebook, Twitter, email or voicemail. Look at newspaper front pages from around the world to see how they are handling the story. A great place to find those newspaper front pages is at the Newseum website.

Memorable stories
Remember, these are the stories that viewers will remember. When they get to work and chat with someone, you want them saying “…did you see that story this morning on Channel 2?” Viewers will want to tune into your show each morning to discover what everyone is talking about if they know that your show is on top of the “hot talkers” of the day.

Doug Drew is a morning news specialist with 602 Communications. You can reach him at ddrew@602communications.com.

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