May 14, 2009
/ by Rebecca Bredholt
Do weather and traffic people ever cover stories?
The on-air time of TV weather and traffic talent is so tightly structured that they seem unapproachable, unlikely to ever consider story ideas.
Not so. As with everything in TV broadcast journalism, it’s all about the presentation.
Weather Anchors Many meteorologists or “weather personalities” (as anchors are called if they do not have a meteorological degree) welcome the chance to leave the station and go out into the field. To get their attention, they need to be handed a straightforward angle for a story involving space, science or the weather. Appropriate story pitches might include open houses at science museums, hurricane preparedness and new weather-related technology.
Offering the possibility of a live shot makes the story even more enticing. Just remember to be flexible. During their newscasts, the station will want to broadcast live on their own schedule. Before pitching the idea of a live shot, consider whether there will be other activity occurring during the live report.
Do not try pitching news stories to weather anchors. They will not be interested.
Traffic Reporters A few traffic reporters venture outside of the studio after they finish sharing the daily rundown of local traffic jams. The ones that aren’t seen doing this beg the question: If they presented their bosses with a simple, but well thought out, story concept would they be allowed to cover it?
Story ideas should be about transportation issues in the reporter’s local area. Examples include new traffic laws, road construction projects, and traffic and pedestrian safety campaigns.
And remember, always think visual. As with all broadcasters, dig deep to give these TV journalists something that they can show on the air, not merely explain.
–Julie Holley, managing editor of the Vocus Television Team, was previously a local broadcast TV news producer.
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