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4 Tips on How to Cover the Current Financial Crisis

Well, it doesn’t look like America’s (and the world’s) financial woes will stop being front page news anytime soon. So we emailed a handful of local TV newsers, asking them for advice on how to cover the current financial crisis. Here’s a quick list of tips based on their responses…

Keep It Simple

“I think keeping it simple and understandable is job one,” says WOIO anchor-reporter Paul Joncich. “Most folks who have stock portfolios have access to much more information than we can provide in a minute and a half of TV time. So I always try to get my financial expert to talk about what this means to Joe Citizen who may not have stocks.”

“I try to cut through the numbers,” says WLS reporter Jason Knowles, adding that he asks the experts, “What is the bottom line for someone like me who has a 401 K and other investments and isn’t savvy on trading?”

Focus on People

“I just did something very simple the other day,” recounts KOB reporter Joe Vigil. “With talk of another recession, and lost jobs, I talked to two people who are out of work. I’m sure others out of work could relate to what those two said… I didn’t get into a lot of details about why the market went down, just let the people speak about the struggles they’re facing now, as the chance that a lot more people could be out of work looms.”

Show the Impact

“The big word is impact,” says WXIN news director Lee Rosenthal. “Try and show local viewers why they should care, what the impact could be in our own backyard.”

“I recently did a piece on a family of 7 that is ‘eating their cupboard,’ WOIO’s Joncich recalls, meaning that the family spent a week or two eating nothing but the food they already had in their house. Joncich says that other such impact stories could include “Coupon clippers; Families doubling up; Adults in their 20s and 30s moving back in with mom and dad.”

Localize the News

“What’s the economic and employment impact here?” is the question that WXIN’s Rosenthal says local stations should answer.

“We are lucky to have the [derivatives marketplace] CME group here in Chicago which makes it easy to localize,” says WLS’s Knowles. “Another TV market may want to visit a local investment firm.”

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