Saturday, July 01, 2006

Some folks just don't get it

I received a press release the other day from a candidate who was making an important announcement on a Saturday night at 8 p.m.

I called his campaign guy and explained I would be happy to write about it but I couldn't attend. In fact, probably no one from the local press would attend.

I don't know if he appreciated my advice when I explained there weren't many reporters working on a Saturday night and that at 8 p.m. he would have missed the deadline for the daily anyway.

Here's a golden rule in dealing with local press: do your research and give them an event they want when they want it.

There is some news that can't be scheduled, but this story wasn't one of them. In a market such as this one, no one can afford to have a reporting crew just sitting around 24/7 waiting to be sent on an assignment. Those days have long passed.

One TV stations out of the three commercial stations in our market has an overnight videographer who dutifully provides us with shots of overnight traffic accidents, police incidents or fires. But that's it.

Television, though, hates local politics because of the subject's lack of strong visual images. In fact to listen to news directors (and I have) say what people are really interested in is an eyeopener: they want stories about what affects their finances and their safety. Oh, yes, and the frickin' weather forecast repeated in various ways throughout the day.

More on covering local campaigns tomorrow.

© 2006 by Gordon Michael Dobbs. These words are mine alone.


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