Tuesday, August 05, 2008

13-Point News Checklist

My friend and fellow consultant Mike McVay shares his suggestions for news. Use this checklist to critique your news department.

1. The call letters or station slogan should be showcased at the front of the news and mentioned again at the end of the news.

2. Timechecks should appear at the beginning of the news, at the spot breaks, and prior to the final outro of the cast.

3. You should promote upcoming news items the same way the you promote ahead with upcoming music; i.e., “traffic and weather are next,” etc. Give the audience a reason to continue listening.

4. Keep the story count HIGH.

5. Use audio ONLY where it makes sense.

6. Do not use the network’s outro on wired actualities

7. Does the content of the news pass the “Who Cares” test?

8. Are stories written in the language of the audience?

9. Does the content include stories from the following interest categories?
  • Heart
  • Purse
  • Health
  • Relaxation
  • Local
  • National
10. The delivery of the newscaster should be natural and believable.

11. Weather forecasts should be prepromoted. Are the forecasts compact and easy to deliver? Do not give more information than the audience cares to know regarding weather; i.e., Monday through Thursday mornings tell today’s weather. Monday through Thursday afternoon, give tonight’s and tomorrow’s weather, Friday and Saturday should contain the forecast for the complete weekend. Sunday should be today, tonight and tomorrow.

12. Does the newscast include current temperatures?

13. Does the position of the news within the format hour compete with your primary rival or is the news hidden?

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