COPY POINT: Nasty Overuse of the word “Nasty”

One of the goals of COPY POINT is to dispose of overused words and hyperbole.  I’ve just uncovered another one spreading faster than a pandemic. The word is nasty.  These are some of the many ways we have used it in the past 30 days:

Nasty storms
Nasty Flash Flooding
Nasty consequences (Debt Ceiling)
Nasty Spill (on shirt)
Nasty Surprise (lottery ticket)
Nasty Sore Throat
Nasty Spring(the entire season)
Nasty Road conditions
Nasty Start (holiday accidents)
Nasty Gashes

A good half of these don’t fit any dictionary definition of the word,


1. physically filthy; disgustingly unclean: a nasty pigsty of a room.
2. offensive to taste or smell; nauseating.
3. offensive; objectionable: a nasty habit.

OTNB IDEA: How about “storms packing 69 mph winds, a sore raspy sour throat, icy road conditions, unwelcome surprise..”.   

 Adjectives can add to understanding in a story, or clutter our copy. Let’s re-commit to precision of language and temporarily put “nasty” on hold.

Find your focus, already!

Have you ever watched a television news story or read something in print or online and wondered afterwards what on earth it was about? It happens all too often when stories have no focus. Reporters who spend much of their day collecting information, pictures and sound seem to feel obliged to cram as much as they possibly can into their minute-thirty or less. The end result can be fuzzy at best, and at worst, almost incomprehensible.

Try these suggestions from NewsLab for finding a focus for your stories as you’re reporting, and before you start to write. If they help, please let us know.

Ruler In The Snow – Hi-tech Twist to Old Schtick

Sometimes, the best new ideas are innovative approaches to old ones.  Case in point, WITI-TV in Milwaukee has a hit on their hands with their SNOWSTICK.   Yup! That old schtick where the reporter sticks the ruler in the snow to “prove” the snow depth – it’s now a major online feature for the station.

HOW THEY MAKE IT WORK AND MY THOUGHTS ON NEXT PAGE: Continue reading “Ruler In The Snow – Hi-tech Twist to Old Schtick”

OTNB IDEA: News directors invite viewers to virtual story discussions

Last week, I alerted you to some of the uses for the new “YouTube Direct”. (Is YouTube Direct Right for your News Organization) Here’s another great idea to engage your customers in a powerful, new, way.

Stations’ Story Meetings Offer ‘Public Option’ By Michael Malone — Broadcasting & Cable, 11/30/2009 2:00:00 AM

While the typical station story meeting has six or eight people present to pitch ideas, WITI Milwaukee might have 60 or 80 at its daily 1:45 confab. That’s because WITI opens up the editorial meeting to the public through live blogging and a live video stream, along with a Web program that allows users to toss in story ideas while commenting on others.

Is YouTube Direct Right for Your News Organization?

Expect to hear a lot of buzz about YouTube Direct.  And, for good reason.  It may be the solution for you to get user-generated video and viewer comments on your site, or on-air, without costing you anything.  

Except, this model has no revenue component, a fact established solutions like  YouNews, USTREAM KickApps , will surely point out.  Oh, and you are helping YouTube build out it’s news presence online.

YouTube Direct allows you to embed the upload functionality of YouTube directly into your own site, enabling your organization to request, review, and re-broadcast user-submitted videos with ease. News organizations can ask for citizen reporting; nonprofits can call-out for support videos around social campaigns; businesses can ask users to submit promotional videos about your brand. With YouTube Direct, the opportunities to connect directly with the YouTube community are endless.

Key features of YouTube Direct include:

  • Built on the YouTube API, this 100% open-source solution provides you with an easily-integrated audience engagement platform for your website
  • The customizable interface allows you to tailor the look and feel of the tool precisely to your audience
  • Visitors can answer your call for content by uploading their videos to YouTube via your site without leaving the page
  • A moderation panel enables your editors to review and approve/reject all submitted videos, deciding which ones meet your organization’s editorial criteria
  • All videos approved by your editors include a link back to your site when viewed on YouTube


WHDH, Boston

          San Francisco Chronicle

          Here’s how to sign up and start uploading.

4 Ways News Organizations are Using Twitter Lists

outside the boxThough Twitter Lists are new to most users, some news organizations are trying to stay ahead of the curve by taking advantage of the new feature and implementing it quickly. Whether by creating staff directories to make their journalists easier to find, or recommending tweeps to follow on specific subjects, Twitter lists are giving news sites the ability to curate news and further open up to Twitter users that can help them to gather news.

via 4 Ways News Organizations are Using Twitter Lists.

Site of the Day – Obama Weather

What’s the weather, what to wear? Obama helps you everywhere!

How does it work?

The site gets a detailed weather report from a service, analyses a relation of temperature, humidity, strength of wind and some other characteristics and, finally visualizes the most comfortable set of clothes to wear this day. Of course, our commander-in-chief models the clothes you should be wearing.

Why do you need it?

The site sez: You don’t have to check your thermometer anytime you go out in order to decide what clothes to wear. No more ‘let’s look out of the window to see what people wear today’ or go out to the balcony to feel if the clothes you’ve chosen is ok not to get freezed or hot. All you need is to check what Obama or his friends wear.

Moreover, can become your major adviser while planning a business trip or a vacation journey. You’ll always know for sure what type of clothes you should take with you.

How to use it

Maybe a fun feature for the end of the weather segment or at the end of the newscast.

The Social Media Marketing Test

Ouch! Graeme Newell has again delivered a much-needed jab to the midsection.  If you contribute to your station’s social media efforts, at any level, you need to read Graeme’s new blog post The Social Media Marketing Test.  He points out what I’ve been telling partners and clients for months: Social Media is not a new promotion or ad platform. It is a relationship and all the rules of relationships apply.  Give freely, don’t dominate the conversation, Listen to what is being said back,  don’t rush the conversation.

outside the boxNewell writes: I often think that social media marketing has become an oxymoron.  Why?  Because so many companies try to gain entry into this new medium using the outdated tactics of traditional marketing.  Do you have a measurable goal for social media that goes beyond the mass-marketing mindset of “get more followers and make more sales?”

I have seen so many social media campaigns go wildly off course when they are executed using this Madison Avenue mindset.  Social media is not just another form of advertising.  We treat it like a monologue, when it is actually a dialogue.  Social media really is a new form of communication, not just another medium to be included in a traditional marketing plan.

For those of us who grew up in the traditional advertising world, we just can’t help ourselves.   We know that social media is two-way personal interaction, but we still tend to fall back to practiced one-way communication.  In the old ad world, copy space was scarce, and messages were short with succinct calls to action.  It was a world guided by the need to quickly bang the drum and get attention.

The true power of social media is its ability to persuade by socializing, not advertising.  It has a longer selling cycle. This more leisurely pace often chafes the hurried corporate agenda.  Impatience is its most beguiling temptation and most ruinous attribute.  Social media does not tolerate commercial exploitation and over-the-top selling. Yet, a casual read through many company social media pages quickly reveals a disingenuous, transparent selling agenda.  No one wants to be friends with a salesman working a crowd.

Successful social media campaigns have a deeper purpose and are all about human interaction.  Zappos uses it to showcase great customer service.  Ford & Molson use it put a human face on an impersonal company brand.  Dell uses it to battle a perception of bad customers service.

Put your social media posts to the test.  Evaluate your fan page.  These telltale signs show customers they are a sales mark to be harvested, not a friend to be wooed.

Take the Social Media Marketing Test