Listicle:10 Dirty Secrets of Local News

Updated: Jan 29

People often think local news is totally philanthropic, non-bias, and agenda free. It's just a smoke screen to something more sinister.....


10. THERE'S ALWAYS AN AGENDA

According to Webster's Dictionary an agenda is "A list or outline of things to be considered or done" or "an underlying often ideological plan or program". In the case of local news reporting it's both. When it comes to reporting an event certain criteria has to be met; Who is involved? Who does it affect? Will the most people find it interesting? Is it worth the time to report on? Will it serve the public good? In our second episode of the Community Focus Update we recorded our program in the back of a fire truck and spoke with firefighters about a fundraiser that pays for education material for area schools that teach students about fire safety. Advocating for citizens to donate to this cause is definitely dripping with an agenda. Sure we could have easily gave the story 30 seconds and a graphic but how interesting or fun is that?


9. WE PREFER TO INTERVIEW CERTAIN PEOPLE OVER OTHERS

Another news criteria is prominence. Who would give a better interview, Suzy Homemaker or a mayor? The mayor would because he gets to the point and will likely be able to answer all our questions. Suzy Homemaker may be a nice lady but she will likely not know exact numbers or other information our viewers may need.


8. WE DON'T ASK TWICE

Imagine spending the money and time on running for office or being vocal about a problem that needs to be fixed in the community and learn nobody cares. This is what happens when local media reaches out to you and you don't give an interview. If you are an underdog, it's in your best interest to return our calls and give us 5 minutes of your time. Failure to do so may result in us never seeking you out for a follow-up. We too are busy.


7. OUR REPORTING CAN BE SUBTLE

As the old adage says, "A picture is worth a thousand words". When given a chance our camera sees things that may be contrary to what's being said in an interview. While an event organizer will say, "We put CDC procedures in place to ensure safety during this pandemic." Our video of the event said otherwise.


6. WE LIKE DIVERSITY

If you follow any news outlet for an extend period you will see the same folks and organizations being interviewed over and over. Frankly news gatherers hate it more than the audience. When an opportunity to report on something or interview someone who is outside the everyday we're gleeful. This is especially true about stories where people of color are featured. Often times news outlets are accused of not caring about minority communities. This is furthest from the truth.

5. ONCE YOU GIVE US AN INTERVIEW YOU WILL ALWAYS BE ON THE RADAR

Often we find a few individuals who wear many hats in the community. On a slow news week these folks are our go-to sources for ongoing stories or upcoming events. The friendships we developed over the years are priceless.


4. WE DESPISE VERTICAL VIDEO

It may feel natural to film something vertically with your smartphone but it's a waste of space on our screen. If two different people send us video of the same event the one shot horizontally will be used.


3. WE'LL USE A VIDEO NEWS RELEASE (IF WE HAVE TO)

VNRs or Video News Releases are videos produced for news outlets by organizations like nonprofits, government organizations, or businesses. While these are often promotional they do provide information we otherwise may not be able to get. When it comes to content like this we prefer it over a press release with a photo.


2. ANY NEWS FROM SMALLER COMMUNITIES WILL BE REPORTED

One of the biggest challenges of reporting Ottawa county news is finding stories from smaller communities like Afton or Peoria. When we hear of any event in these communities we'll report on it. 1. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS

If someone came to you and asked for 12+ hours of your time, to include driving around the county on a tank of gas paid for from your own pocket, you would flat out say "no". That's why everything news outlets do comes down to money. Since the first news story published to the internet folks have come to the expectation all news should be free. This isn't reality. Quality news requires funding, be it from subscribers or sponsors. Since Woodruff Media Management is a marketing company whose ultimate goal is to make a profit we opt to have sponsors/advertisers. If you value great local news coverage please visit the folks below and buy something or at least thank them. Ron Enderland Art Unity of Joplin

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