Morning viewers don’t want to go looking for international news on the networks and then come back to you for local news, weather and traffic. They want you to have ALL the news.
National and International news is extremely important in the morning. For one thing, viewers want to know what happened in the world overnight when they wake up. Research shows morning viewers have a high interest in national and international news. In addition, it’s the international and national news from which you will need to rely on to make sure your news content is fresh. In fact, as the show goes along, you want to start dumping as much news as you can and replacing it with fresh content. Lets face it, most of your local news stories are old, yesterday’s news. You want to replace those stories as fast as you can as the show goes along with a mix of local, national and international news.
Broaden your vision of where to look for the news. Think”Anywhere, Everywhere.” Use all your feed sources, wires, the internet, etc. It may be 5am your time, but it’s already middle of the day in other parts of the world. Somewhere something is happening. The Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed after taking off from Beirut is of interest whether you live in Fresno or Framingham. If the Berlin Opera House is going up in flames, take it live. If a school bus has overturned in Maryland, insert some live pictures. This isn’t to say you need to spend a lot of time on some of these stories. Let the cable news networks devote hours of time to them. A quick hit on a big national or international story serves your local viewers well.
What determines local news is not a matter of geography. In other words, just because it happens outside your market doesn’t mean it is not of interest to your local viewers. If the story is of interest to your viewers, no matter where it happens, then it’s a story of local interest.
If it is new, significant, and happening now, work hard to show your viewers that the news is changing and you are constantly updating your newscast.
West Coast stations really have it easy. At 5am on the West Coast it’s already 8am on the East Coast. A lot has happened by 8am. In fact, by 3am Pacific Time, new stories are probably already starting to roll into your newsroom. Those are the stories you want to concentrate on.
As these stories come in someone has to be responsible for finding them and getting them on the air. In fact, the anchors of the show should take considerable responsibility. Anchors should be constantly monitoring the news as the show progresses using computers on the set, their BlackBerry’s , iPhones, etc. For many of these updates, you don’t even need a script. Simply read it right off the computer. With budget cuts, there are fewer people in the newsroom during many morning newscasts, and in some cases there is no one left in the newsroom as the show hits air! That’s why the talent needs to step in and take charge, working with the producer to work in fresh content.
Remember, happening now almost always trumps a day old local story.
Doug Drew is a morning news specialist with 602 Communications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org