Deliver News with Your Point of View

 In Blog

It was April 1956 at WBT Charlotte. Robert D. Raiford reported that racists attacked singer Nat King Cole in Birmingham. Raiford added his opinion to the story, strongly condemning hate crime.

WBT fired Raiford for his point of view. He went on to gain respect as a journalist at places like CBS News and WTOP Washington, D.C.

Years later, someone at The Jon Boy and Billy Big Show suggested that instead of a straight news host, they cast cantankerous old-school Raiford on their laugh-a-minute morning show.

“That idea is just crazy enough to work,” said Jon Boy. It did. The character contrast and Raiford’s colorful remarks made him a popular member of the show for 30 years.

Journalism is important. But unless you are an all-news station, your newscast has bigger ratings potential if opinion, emotion, inner thoughts and personal stories are included.

Today’s listeners under age 49 are more likely to get news online.  In the US, they are less interested and less trusting of news.

Don’t do straight news. Trying to appear impartial can work against you. Listeners are smart enough to know that a newscaster is a real person with a point of view, and today’s audiences gravitate to news that doesn’t pretend to be fair and balanced. So be yourself.

Popular NPR journalist Scott Simon regularly reveals his point of view on-air and through social media.

Rock CHEZ-FM’s Randall Moore often sets the phone lines ablaze in Ottawa with “Randall’ Rant,” but the drama is why people listen.

Like Randall, you will get complaints and differing points of view. You may even lose a sponsor or two. But news presented by an authentic person wins in the long run.

Consider how news with point of view works in TV ratings. Fox News, which includes opinionated, outspoken commentators like Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly, ranked #1 of all cable networks on the week of December 18.

That week, CNN ranked 18th and MSNBC ranked 20th. In fact, if you combine the viewers for CNN and MSNBC, they would not equal the total audience of Fox News.

There’s no cookie cutter news formula that is right for every show and every format in every market. Do a competitive review to see what the other shows are doing, and if you can, do research.

Along with your own opinions, related personal stories, and inner thoughts and emotions, be sure to present both sides of the story, and when you can, introduce conflicting views to make news more dramatic. Above all, be truthful, check sources and take measures to not report fake news.

Then make sure to read next week’s Content Ideas newsletter titled “Seven Rules For Newscasts That Win” for more sure-fire tips that will spike PPM at news time.

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