Viewers are not paying nearly the attention we think they are. They are usually doing something else while watching the news and that means we have to work extremely hard to capture their attention. You need a “magic moment” within the first :20 seconds.
Compelling video and sound
If you have great video, don’t back into it. Get right to it. Often reporters will go into the field and get some great sound or picture, and then try and save it for their story. But if it’s that good, you want viewers to see it right off the top of the show. If you are a reporter with great stuff, you want to share that material with promotions, the producers, etc. The more viewers know the station has great content, the more likely they are to watch your story.
Start the show and the story with the great material. It’s okay to repeat it. Used in the lead-in, it’s just a set up for the story; it’s the magic moment that grabs the viewers. It’s then up to the reporter to put it all into context.
Don’t let your viewer tune out
So whether you are a producer putting a newscast together, a reporter writing a package, a writer scripting a vo, or a segment producer putting together a guest segment, make sure you have a magic moment right off the top. And if you have something special, make sure you alert the producers so they can use promote it, use it in the show open and as part of the lead-in to your story.
If you don’t grab viewers within the first 20 seconds, you are going to lose them.
Doug Drew is a morning news specialist with 602 Communications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Doug on facebook http://www.facebook.com/dougdrew and on twitter at http://twitter.com/dougdrew