The lesson of the Inauguration for local news

Obama Pennsylvania Ave.We don’t have numbers yet, but predictions are that Obama’s inauguration will be the largest television event in history. Here are my Outside The News Box thoughts on this historic occasion.

Our future is in television events
From covering big events like Super Bowls and Inaugurations, to our approach to Breaking News, we have got to elevate our presentation to produce a steady stream of “events that viewers will find engaging, exciting, and wonderfully unpredictable. We must be “live” on all our platforms. Our future is about “currency” and “urgency”

Social Networking is still more about engaging than numbers
Alot of people are engaging us in new and exciting ways, but their numbers are still dwarfed by television viewing. Facebook and CNN provided a great service today, allowing me to watch and network at the same time. Twitter had its biggest day ever. But I saw as many “crash and burns” as I saw success stories. I really just wanted to sit and soak up the history. That said, the marketing of social engagement tools says a lot about your organization and servicing this audience is IMPORTANT brand management.

We have got to hire smart people
Today, it was Charles Gibson on ABC who never seemed to be at loss for words. As importantly, he knew when to stop talking. I was in a small golf community last week during the Emergency landing in the Hudson River. The young talent blathered on, repeating themselves, and offered little insight.
We have got to identify new talent, mentor them, give them opportunities to exercise their skills. Insist they know the news of the day, every day! They need that knowledge to ask relevant questions and fill in the gaps as the story plays out.

It takes a plan
We can’t rely on good people to just wing it. When we are executing our latest event we need to planning the next one. Plan, De-brief, then Repeat. Planning helps eliminate repetition, encourages confidence, and identifies where we need to improve.

Your thoughts?

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One thought on “The lesson of the Inauguration for local news

  1. Great post, could not agree more with your points, but there’s one more thing to add. I spotted it while comparing the “look” between ABC and NBC. ABC had the good sense to bring the event background sound audio up. The coverage seemed more engaging on ABC because I could hear more of the crowd. For whatever reason, NBC decided to soften that and in favor of its anchors/reporters. Too bad, since the crowd was a mjor part of the story. This also implies that watching coverage of an event like this on TV would be better than watching it on a computer screen. Quality is better and the experience become more engaging.

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