What’s one thing broadcast journalists can never get enough of?
Time to add in that extra 15-second soundbite to the package, or that 45-second health explainer to the newscast.
But Stephanie Haney, digital anchor and legal analyst at the TEGNA-owned Cleveland station, WKYC, has all the time — and space — she needs.
“I think journalists around the world share the frustration: You just don’t have enough time to get all those details in,” said Haney. Thanks to a multi-platform approach, Haney offers a mix of reporting, analysis and personal revelations — creating a unique experience for WKYC viewers without the time constraints of a typical TV broadcast. “Doing it in this multi-platform way really enables the audience to get that information immediately.”
Every weekday at 4 p.m. you’ll find Haney online keeping Ohioans up-to-date with the top headlines in the digital show 3News Now with Stephanie Haney. Then she’s back at 5 p.m, this time on the air, to produce and host Clicking in Cleveland for the TV broadcast, a daily trending stories segment repackaged from 3News Now. Each week she takes a deeper dive into evergreen topics like “revenge sleep procrastination” with her award-winning weekly podcast 3 Things to Know with Stephanie Haney. (Don’t know what that is? I didn’t either. Click the link further down to find out.)
Watch Haney on 3News Now
For that much-needed midweek mood boost, Haney and the WKYC team launched a new digital show It’s All Good (News!) with Stephanie Haney in April, which features three uplifting stories (often viewer-submitted) to “make your heart melt.” Haney also breaks down complex legalese in her occasional legal analysis segment Legally Speaking with Stephanie Haney. (She’s also the station’s on-air legal analyst.)
Watch Haney on It’s All Good (News!)
Haney explains in Legally Speaking how viewers can get their money back when a business closes
Each show or segment Haney hosts (even the podcast) is video-centric, with eye-catching graphics or on-camera guests so that it can be adapted to fit a multitude of platforms. 3News Now, for example, streams every weekday on the WKYC Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and all podcast platforms with the repackaged segment, Clicking in Cleveland, airing on TV.
“I get to meet people where they are, whether it’s Facebook Live, Instagram, YouTube, or just sharing things on Twitter,” said Haney. “Really having conversations with people in our community where they are.”
It’s a community she knows well as a Northeast Ohio native. However, growing up, Haney never intended to become a journalist. Instead, she wanted to be a lawyer, and she is licensed to practice in both Ohio and California. After law school, Haney worked in the entertainment industry but felt she wasn’t making enough of an impact at the local community level. So, Haney went back to school for her master’s in journalism at the University of Southern California. Haney came to WKYC in 2019 after working at DailyMailTV in New York.
“It was an interesting feeling coming to a TV station to be the digital anchor,” said Haney. “Just knowing that the industry is really moving more toward a model where it’s content first, platform second.”
The platform may no longer matter to audiences, but Haney certainly notices a difference in the style of digital-first content compared to TV.
“I think the tone is different, just speaking more plainly and conversationally. I think people get a little bit caught up sometimes in the broadcast space of trying to be very serious all the time.” said Haney. “I don’t feel that pressure in the digital space.”
Haney’s style has resonated with audiences, her WKYC videos on YouTube alone reaching over 1 million views in the past year. She’s also amassed quite a large social following of more than 225,000 users combined on her personal Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. There, Haney makes a point to connect with viewers during Instagram live check-ins and share behind-the-scenes photos. Plus, she always keeps her DM’s open. “It can’t be a one-way street. If I’m asking people to share with me, I have to share with them too, and I think that encourages people to be a part of the conversation,” said Haney.
That unspoken rule she subscribes to — being open and vulnerable with her audience — is just as noticeable in the stories she covers. A few years ago, Haney decided to freeze her eggs and share her experience on her own social media pages. “I documented it in real-time when I was doing it about two years ago. I always had a plan to sort of put it together in a more cohesive way,” said Haney.
So when Haney read that fertility clinics were reporting a spike in egg freezing during COVID-19 rather than the expected baby boom, Haney pitched the idea to her digital director. They created a three-part series featured on her podcast 3 Things to Know (which was recently named the #1 podcast at the 2021 All Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards by the Press Club of Cleveland). During the month of May, Haney offered a first-hand account of what it is really like to go through the egg freezing process. The series blended in experts who could speak to testing, costs, and long-term health concerns.
“Sharing that story with people gave me something to focus on,” said Haney. “It gave me sort of a bigger goal that was beyond my own personal reasons for doing it because I wanted to have the best chance at having a family.”
Listen to the first episode in the three-part series on egg freezing
Whether you’re ready to share a personal story, connect on a deeper level with your audience, or launch a new show, Haney believes the digital space is the place to be. “With the constant change in this space, if you can be open to it, there are a lot of great possibilities to tell stories and really connect with people in a meaningful way.”
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