Thursday, October 23, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The RTNDA news staffing survey shows these changes since January 1st, 2008:
- 22.1 % of stations increased staff
- 28.6% of stations decreased staff
- 49.4% stayed the same
Researcher Bob Papper comments:
In an era of generally increasing TV news staff, those figures are comparatively depressing. Most years, the percentage of stations with increases would be 10 percent higher, and the percentage of stations with decreases would be at least 10 percent lower. This year, there were more layoffs than additions, far more people were cut than added, and some of those layoffs involved dozens of people at one time. In a number of cases, station cuts outside of news meant that the spared newspeople had to pick up the slack.
Stations that increased staff added an averageof 2.9 people (median 2); stations that cut dropped by an average 3.8 people (median 2). Subtracting gains from losses and projecting across all stations, local TV news, nationwide,has lost about 360 people since the first of the year.There are about 24,500 people who work full-time in local TV news.
Recession aside, news directors expect the remainder of the year to be far better.
Staff Changes Expected Over the Next Few Months
- Staff Increase 17.9%
- Staff Decrease 9.1%
- Same 72.7%
While nearly three-quarters of the news directors expect no change in staff size, almost twice as many expect to add people as cut them.The industry-wide projection would be a net increase in TV newspeople of 151 through the remainder of the year.
It should be noted that these projections came before the financial meltdown of the past couple of weeks.
The full study is here.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Doug Drew talks about the Morning Meeting in today's Shoptalk newsletter:
One of the most important parts of a successful newscast occurs hours before the show. Maybe as much as 8 hours before the show! It's the morning meeting. A good morning meeting usually leads to interesting, content rich newscasts later in the day.
What to bring to the morning meeting
Each station organizes and formats it's morning meeting differently, but there is one thing all have in common: EVERYONE who attends should bring AT LEAST one story idea with them. Two is better, three is the best. You get the idea! And these should not be "pie in the sky" ideas. These should be stories you could turn today, for tonight's newscasts. Realistic stories that can be produced with the staff you have that day.
This is NOT a meeting where you sit and listen and write down lists of stories that will be covered that day as announced by the assignment editor. The BEST morning meetings are brainstorming sessions. You can't have a brainstorming session unless each person in the meeting shares ideas.
And don't clam up in disgust if no one in the room likes your idea. News people are hard to please and are often quick to shut down others' ideas. I don't know why that is, but it's true. Even if they don't have their own ideas, many news people are quick to criticize others. News people are naturally skeptical. So, don't give up easily if you get shot down, and if you aren't successful that's why you need a few other ideas. Also, don't expect to be able to do your idea THAT DAY. It may be a great story, but if it doesn't fit the mix of what's needed that day, maybe it's a story for another day.
Come in a good mood
The morning meeting should be fun. In fact, the best meetings start off with a general discussion of the hot topics. If it's a Monday morning, talk about what movies you saw over the weekend and ask others what they saw. If there was a big sporting event or concert over the weekend, talk about that event and if there are any follow ups. These kinds of topics get everyone "talking,'" and often lead to great ideas. If there was a concert, and you saw ticket scalpers standing outside, maybe there's a story about scalpers.
If you come to the meeting grumpy or unhappy, it brings others down. Come in with ideas that you are passionate about and sell them.
Another key to a successful morning meeting is if everyone is open and willing to discuss the ideas at hand. A quiet room does not produce good ideas. Don't be afraid to speak up. Share your thoughts. The news management will appreciate this. Even if you are just an intern. Pipe up! You are part of the demographic that station is trying to reach. Your ideas are important! Your ideas represent a portion of the audience that the news department is trying to reach.
So, what's expected?
It's pretty simple. If you ask most news directors what they'd like out of the people in the morning meeting they'd probably say:
People in a good mood
People who bring in story ideas
People who participate in the discussion
That's it. That's all it takes. If you currently attend the morning meetings, ask yourself if you can answer YES to all of those. And for people who don't normally come into the meeting because they are intimidated or just don't think it's important for them to be there, realize that those three things are all that's needed. If you can do those three things, news management would love to have you attend and the newscasts that day will be better because you were there!
Doug Drew is a morning news specialist who does reporter and producer seminars for 602 Communications. If you have an idea, suggestion or question, you can send them to Doug at ddrew@602communications, or send them along to me at Tom@TVSPY.COM.