A note from Andrew Heyward, Knight Senior Researcher in TV News Innovation:
Newsrooms never really get to go off duty, but I hope many of you are preparing to enjoy the Independence Day weekend with family and friends. Our team at the Knight-Cronkite News Lab is grateful for your participation, interest and feedback. We’ll be back next week with a new story from Professor of Practice Frank Mungeam on what local TV newsrooms can learn from the big platform companies. In the meantime, for your amusement while the charcoal grill is heating up, we decided to share some of your favorites. Our colleague Alicia Barrón will take it from here.
Have a great Fourth!
Since launching last fall, we at the Knight-Cronkite News Lab have been reporting for local TV news professionals on interesting newsroom initiatives and experiments around the country.
We’ve featured trend pieces and case studies on the move to OTT, creative collaborations, tech partnerships, and other new ways to foster innovation and attract younger audiences. We’ve introduced you to a teacher turned game show host; a meteorologist who does a uniquely personal weather forecast from the roof; a reporter who turned his obsession with a cold case into a hit podcast; a California luffa farmer who became a social-media sensation; and a host of other memorable characters.
Here are five of the most popular stories to date.
Denver anchor Kyle Clark’s ratings plummeted in the first sweeps period after his unusual single-anchor show premiered in 2016, but his bosses stuck with the experiment, and today Clark’s mix of irreverence, unorthodox story selection, and audience involvement has put him at the top of the heap.
In this widely shared essay by our very own Knight Professor of Practice Frank Mungeam, he talks about the need to stop doing things automatically that are no longer relevant or productive in your newsroom in order to make room for newer and better practices. Frank’s first step: Create a “Stop Doing” list.
Is he a general manager? Is he a podcast host? He’s both! Patrick Paolini, FOX 5 boss in Washington D.C., is no one’s idea of a typical GM, and you may find him a bit much, but the “Paolini perspective” on driving change, distinctiveness, productivity and success is provocative and well worth hearing.
Professor of Practice Frank Mungeam discusses why, in the age of “fake news” accusations, eroding trust, and collapsing business models, local TV newsrooms have the power to revive journalism. And he’s got the data to back up his argument. “These local TV stations are poised to win,” he says. But first, TV news has to “shed its clichéd coverage of the past.”
The journalist who kicked off our Social Media Spotlight franchise still holds the record for most views. She’s WBTV Charlotte feature reporter and social media sensation Kristen Hampton. Hampton first went viral after trying on a pair of rubber lips on her Facebook Live feed while casually sitting in her car, racking up millions (yes, millions) of views. Thus was born Product Testing Tuesdays. The rest, as they say, is history.
We welcome ideas and pitches about newsrooms experimenting with innovative ways to cover the news, tell stories, and engage audiences. Please send along any suggestions you’d like us to consider at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you at the Lab!
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