Tuesday, July 23, 2002

The previous post came about after (yet again) a news anchor totally changed my news tease copy. Obviously, part of my job is to produce the news tease you (Houstonians, anyway) see during your favorite WB shows.

To do this, I go over the newscast and kind of single out a few stories that are probably the most interesting to our audience. Does this story have any viewer appeal ("viewer benefit" is the buzz word)? Is this a story people will stick around until 9pm to see? What makes it interesting to our target audience? Then, I write the copy in a way that will hopefully reel in the viewer. Have to make it compelling enough to draw the viewer in, yet not give away the entire story. Why should they tune in if you give it all away in the tease?

After the writing and approval process, we tape the teases with the anchor. Now, I generally don't mind when an anchor changes the copy somewhat. My writing style is a bit out there and ultimately it's the anchor's name and face on that promo. So, I understand re-writing it or a little ad-libbing to fit their style. That's absolutely understandable.

You can probably guess, if you read the previous post, which copy I wrote. If you chose Number 1, give yourself a lolly. Number 2 is what the anchor changed the copy to. In effect, he took a tease and turned it into a news story. If you saw the second tease, you already have all you need to know from the story and have no reason to tune in.

Well, I'll admit that I took too light of a tone for this particular story. I mean, two people did die. Perhaps, if they were only slightly injuried, then my approach would have probably been ok.

On the other hand, what's the point of me doing my job if the anchor can totally screw up the script? I really does no good to argue the point out. If the anchor doesn't want to read it, they ain't gonna read it. So, I just remember that ultimately it's the anchor's name and face on that promo. If they change it so drastically and we don't get viewers, well, hey boss, here's what I wrote. Not my fault.

On a side note, that night we had a pretty good night. We did an above average (for us) 3.0 in the ratings. But, we lost viewers from our 3.8 primetime lead-in. After all, there was no reason for them to watch the news. They got a 10 second glimpse of it at 8:30pm and decided we didn't have much else to offer.

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