Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: "How do I get my story on TV News?"

  1. #1
    A friend called me yesterday to ask "how do I get my story on TV news?" My friend works for a medical practice and wanted to get some publicity for their doctors and their medical treatment. I listened to my friend's problem. "I called the assignment desk and they put me through to the medical reporter at XXXX station and she didn't return my call," my friend said. "What's going on?"

    Of course, I couldn't answer. But my years in the TV news business told me that there are various issues at work.

    The most obvious reason for no "call back" was that they didn't care about the story. Lots of medical doctors have treatments for this and that and if it's not the flavor of the month no one will care.

    Then, the medical reporter might be a "reporter" but may not have the ability to actually decide what goes on in their "medical segment." There are more likely producers and managers who decide.

    What the public might not understand is that the news business has its own intricacies and politics and reasoning for what gets on the news and what doesn't. Sometimes that news "process" is good and sometimes it leaves you scratching your head in wonder.

    On another news discussion forum there was a discussion about having "beat reporters" or specialists to help bring new and interesting stories to newscasts. But you have to wonder if "specialists" would be deciding or if the managers and producers behind the scenes with their own agendas would really be pulling the strings without the knowledge that a "beat reporter" or specialist has?

    During my 32 years as a "business reporter" and producer, I worked at shops (TV and radio stations) where I had to deal with show producers and managers to get my stories on the air. And rarely was I able to put a story on the air without prior approval of other producers and other managers.

    Bloggers have the freedom to do what they like, and that's why there are so many diverse opinions on the Internet. But in something like TV or radio or newspapers, where air time and space is limited, there is usually a chain of command and what is called an "editorial process" before stories get published or broadcast.

    Yes, those specialty reporters and beat reporters might be smiling to you on the screen, and they might tell you to call them or email them with your story ideas, but in the end they might not be deciding anything about what gets on TV or radio or in the paper.

    It's a complex business. But there are some of us who wonder if more specialists such as those for "medical news" and "money news" and "education news" and "environmental news" and "energy news" might bring "better news" to TV and radio than what we are getting now?

    Frankly, I think more medical stories, more financial stories, more education stories, more environmental stories and more energy stories would be better than what I am seeing now on my local TV news.

  2. #2
    I agree with you wholeheartedly in that we need more "news you can use" and less ambulance chasing, political mudslinging and stories on so-called famous people committing adultery.

  3. #3
    I absolutely agree with you on that. But we who work in the business know what the problem is -- and the general public doesn't. The problem is that "news you can use" takes time and money to produce and to get on the air. It is not fast and cheap news to produce. Covering fires is cheap and easy and fast. So is police news. And covering politicians? That's the easiest thing in the world -- you just show up at a news conference and set up a microphone and camera and let the politician do all the work for you. I bet the public doesn't know that many stations cover politicians and government by sending a cameraman only -- and no reporter? Then, back at the TV station a "producer" looks at a wire service report on the event, or looks at a press release sent over by the "official" and picks a piece of the tape (what is called a "sound bite") to put on TV. Sometimes TV stations will share the same tape from one reporter.

    What caused that was the drop in budgets, and the desire to save money. Who gets shortchanged? The public does, of course. Instead of a free and open press the public now watches the same news coverage on multiple TV stations. That is not the way to keep the free press operating.

    And the problem gets even more serious when it comes to having "news you can use." If a station can't invest in its own reporter and crew covering government and politics, how can you expect a station to invest in a reporter to investigate new health issues, or education issues, or the best form of solar power for your home?

  4. #4
    All very good points and unfortunately the horse is out of the barn. Corporate America has taken over many TV stations as an investment that they can move at a whim for a better profit. TV has gone less true broadcaster and journalist and more corporate and bean counter. General managers for the most part have become less into true broadcasting and more into profit and loss. And fewer and fewer news directors are true broadcasters (though some claim to be) and have a paper pusher mentality that's merely an extension of the paper pushing general manager. It frustrates me when there's stories within our own market we as true journalists need to cover and the bosses don't want to spend the money to get them done. It's one of several reasons why I'm not working now...the situation just doesn't meet my standards and I'm looking for better which I still believe is out there though running in short supply. Are there any true broadcasting companies left? Yes, though ones that don't have the bigger broadcasting properties. But I'll gladly take that over selling out to the Walmart news mentality anyday.

  5. #5
    The Internet is replacing traditional TV as the number one news source, and now Internet TV is growing rapidly. This will eventually capture more eyeballs from traditional TV. Look at how the AP is now into video, and how many newspapers now have video on their websites and are giving reporters video cameras to use on their stories. The Review Journal in Vegas is a prime example of what is going on but they are not alone.

    As Ive been saying for years, eventually all media will converge on one giant screen in your home and then Internet TV will be on a level playing field with broadcast and cable and satellite TV and then the viewers will freely be able to shun broadcast for other, better media.

    The way things are going, traditional broadcast TV news will be dead within five years. That's my expectation.

  6. #6
    I think you're right.. broadcast TV will be dead within five years. But it's not just the Internet that will kill it. What's stopping the networks from creating cable channels called NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox? They will get revenue at both ends-- from the cable companies and the advertisers. Then they won't need the stations around the country with sticks up in the air to carry their signals. And the expense of buying programming with an ever-diminishing advertiser base will kill broadcast TV.

  7. #7
    Didn't Ted Turner do that with a TV station in Atlanta? He sold the license and the transmitter and turned the "channel" into "cable only" ? Was it the original TNT that he did it with?? I think you're right that the other major networks can do the same thing. With much of America now wired with Cable, or getting Satellite, and now with Internet TV via phone lines and even via cell phones, why not sell off the license and the transmitter and program "direct to home" via "wire" or whatever you want to call it. The number one advantage is that you immediately shed a lot of government red tape and the license stranglehold. I'm not sure but perhaps being an "Internet TV network" could you skirt past regulations about accepting ads for cigarettes, liquor and online gambling?

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts