A friend tipped me off to an article in this month's "Philadelphia Magazine" written by former CBS 3 anchor, Larry Mendte. For any of you who have tired of local news OR just plain don't watch anymore, Larry brings to light some interesting reasons why. He also provides some changes that could be made by station managers in bringing the local newscast BACK to being -- LOCAL.
How many times have we seen a newscast lead with a story not related to Philadelphia. I'm not speaking of a big national story like earthquakes or disasters but, for example, the Kate/John Gosselin saga. FOX 29 led a newscast one night with the Gosselin saga. Why? Because it was an easy celebrity driven story that the stations think brings viewers. As Mendte points out, local newscasts have forgotten that they can position themselves as being the authority on what happens HERE, in OUR town. The national news outlets have done a good job in providing national stories and the business news outlets handle covering the business scene well on a national level. Why can't local newscasts come out of the 80's (the pre internet, IPOD era) and realize that in order to bring back the viewer you have to give a reason to tune in? It's too easy, as Mendte pointed out, to air the L.A. car chase video clip doing a voiceover that we've seen on every national newscast already. It takes talent, drive and money to concentrate on focused reporting like what is happening at City Hall, or, a construction project in Montgomery county as Mendte explains.
The entire article is HERE and is definitely a must-read if you're like me in that you no longer watch local news on a consistent basis OR are tiring of the flashy graphics, the weather leads, the cheap and irrelevant "special report" stories...Definitely some very good and valid points made by Mendte. Unfortunately, I see nothing changing because local newscasts are all about "how to do it the cheapest for the biggest rating".