This is the final part of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 4 here.
Across the country, millions of people watch the entertainment programming TV stations provide during the day and at night. So it makes sense for stations to promote their newscasts topically within all that programming in the hopes viewers will stay and watch the next newscast.
For years, this was the only means stations had to recruit news viewers with the news of the day, unless stations bought time on other media, like radio, print or cable.
Then came Facebook.
Facebook provides stations with another — and much more mobile — screen to reach potential news viewers.
This is Part 2 of a five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 1 here.
Being a news topical writer/producer is one of the toughest jobs in local TV news marketing.
And to do that job well, the experts say, you need to have a passion for journalism, a thorough knowledge of what news is covering in the newscast, the ability to recognize what stories will resonate with viewers, and the confidence to promote those stories even if they’re not the news department’s top stories.
KVUE, Tegna’s ABC affiliate in Austin, Texas, brings Matt McAllister on board to lead the station’s marketing efforts.
McAllister is an experienced marketer and advertiser with a background in digital storytelling across multiple industries, according to the station.
“From the start, Matt impressed us with his passion and experience,” said Kristie Gonzales, KVUE’s general manager.
“He’s a rock star when it comes to branding and creating original, engaging content.”
McAllister background includes marketing for the health care, financial, real estate and hospitality industries.
You may notice that there is no mention of any local TV broadcasting experience in McAllister’s work history. Last year, WFMY, Tegna’s CBS affiliate in Winston-Salem, N.C., hired a first-time broadcaster, Bob Kim, to lead that station’s marketing.
In an article I wrote about Kim, he said: “I think that’s the reason I’m even here — the non-broadcast guy marketer who’s come to a broadcast place.”
I’ve been to both Austin, Texas, and West Palm Beach, Fla., and believe me, I can picture myself working in either place. Texas or Florida? No state income tax in either. Warm weather year-round in both.
Let’s start with the city just named the No. 1 city in which to live by U.S. News & World Report, Austin, Texas.
KVUE, Director of Marketing:
KVUE, Tegna’s ABC affiliate in Austin is looking for a director of marketing.
In addition to the city itself, there are at least two other compelling reasons to work at KVUE. One is the general manager and the other is Tegna’s marketing guru.
Kristie Gonzales is the GM, she was the promotion and digital brand manager at WABC in New York and has held creative services management positions at other ABC-owned stations like WTVD and KSFN.
Meredith Conte is Tegna’s VP of marketing, and oversees the branding and marketing of all the Tegna stations.
But in order to qualify for this position, you’d better have a track record of “leadership, creative, digital and strategic marketing skills to develop and execute brand-and-buzz-building, award-winning ideas across media (on-air, online, on social, tablet, mobile, experiential et al.) at a world-class level all in the interest of multiplatform audience and revenue growth.”
The Hearst ABC affiliate in West Palm is looking for a news brand manager.
This is a night-side position, needing topical writing and editing skills. You’ll also participate in social media marketing, station image and sweeps promotions. The ideal candidate is a skilled tease writer, photographer and editor.
Days lounging on world-class beaches; night’s writing world class topicals.
Students as young as 12 years old are writing, shooting, editing and starring in videos that have been shown in news programs on Univision-owned WXTV New York.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for kids to have a voice on social and community issues that impact them,” said Dominic Cipollone, principal at New Venture Community School in the Bronx.
The results are part of a project started by Hispanic-focused Univision Communications, to open media centers in schools across the U.S.
New Venture Community School in the Bronx was the first one opened earlier this year and more on the way in Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Oakland.
Randy Falco inaugurates the first Univision Media Center at the New Venture Middle School.
“This is the first of the Univision Media Centers we plan to create across the U.S. as part of our efforts to increase diversity in the media and technology sectors and our commitment to investing in the future generation of media professionals,” said Randy Falco, Univision’s president.
The media centers are equipped with five to eight production kits, which includes cameras, microphones, lights and other video production equipment.
Some of the centers also include editing computers as well as a mini control room complete with switchers, monitors and audio boards.
In addition to gaining experience with production and editing equipment, the students will receive training from media professionals at Univision.
“We had everyone from the highest level executives put in the time and elbow grease to set up the centers,” said Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, Univision’s government and corporate affairs EVP. “Then we’re helping with the curriculum development and also sending in professionals to go in and regularly work with the students.”
“It really is a way to give young people a voice,” said Cipollone. “In communities like ours, if we expect change to take place, it has to come from children who live in the community.”
Children like 12 year-old Heaven Castillo and Hailee Drew, students at the Bronx’s New Venture Community School, who learned right away the power of collaboration in storytelling.
“Hailee wanted to do a video on pollution,” said Castillo, “and I wanted to do something on animals. So we decided to combine it, and came up with how pollution affect animals.”
The students researched their subject and found useful images on Google. The pair discovered that each of them brought a unique strength to creating the video.
“Heaven is very good at talking,” said Drew, “she just knows what to say. I’m really good at the editing part, so it came together because of those two talents that we have.”
Although neither had any on-camera experience, both admitted feeling comfortable addressing the lens. “We weren’t freaking out about being on camera,” said Castillo.
Drew found her niche putting the story together, “editing was very fun.”
Although both embraced the technology and had fun doing it, Univision has a more profound reason for the media centers.
“We’re not giving them the tools and saying OK, make videos,” said Herrera-Flanigan. “It’s more like, you can make this a possible career track for yourself.”
While both do envision themselves as journalists someday, they already feel like TV stars after their video aired on WXTV.
Classmates come up to Castillo asking, “Weren’t you on television? My whole family saw it and they want to congratulate me.”
“Parents, classmates, were surprised,” said Drew, “because they had no idea we were working on it. They were asking us a whole bunch of questions, how did you do it, where did you get the material, how did you do the effects?”
“And that’s our vision,” said Cipollone, “to have kids become leaders, and understand the power of their voice, the power of media, and how it can influence ideas moving forward.
“When we give children that power, and that ability to be heard, you can move mountains.”
A video by Michael Perez.
To read more about Univision’s unveiling of the first media center at New Venture Middle School, click here.
To read more about the volunteer efforts of Univision employees at the school media centers, click here .
NOTE: In nearly every high school, (and many middle and elementary schools), there is a TV studio, studio cameras, switchers, digital field cameras, sophisticated non-linear edit systems, graphic animations software programs, etc. that rival and sometimes exceed what exists in many TV stations.
And every day, they’re putting together newscasts that are broadcast within the schools and sometimes on local community cable channels. In many of these newscasts are edited packages that cover every area of daily school life. And many of them are inventive, provocative, and creative. Many of them are well-written and crafted, covering issues like teen pregnancy, bullying, drinking and driving, drugs, relationships with parents, health, love and sex, and many other issues that are relevant to young adult life.
Of course, many are scholastic in nature — interpretations of short stories, music and song, original stories and fantasy.
Rich and varied content, from a perspective not seen in local TV news, is being created everyday. I contend that their voice might have a regular place in your local TV news.
Parents would want to see it. Teens, or course, would watch it. School board members would want their districts included. School principals would be proud to have their school represented. And the average viewer would marvel at what the oft-maligned teenager is capable of doing.
The content is there — all you have to do is tap into it, and put it on the air and promote it. And think of who would want to sponsor such a segment — computer companies, record companies, clothing stores, movie studios, etc.
As the nation continues to mourn the killing of five police officers in Dallas last week, and the killing of black men by white police officers, many area stations took to the airwaves to express support, and hope, to their fellow citizens.
We’d like to share what your station has done on-air, on Facebook, to draw attention to the events of the past few weeks.
Please send me your station’s examples, links/embed codes, Facebook postings, to [email protected] and you can always call me at 817-578-6324.
This Facebook video from KVUE, the Tegna ABC affiliate in Austin, has almost 2 million views.
While it used to be the sole domain of sales managers or possibly news directors, there is a trend for TV station general managers and upper TV broadcast group management to come from creative services.
In that article, I point out that Valari Dobson Staab, president of the NBC Owned TV stations, and Emily Barr, president of Graham Media, came from creative services. And that two of eight general managers at the ABC Owned group are former creative services directors.
What makes creative services directors ideal candidates to be general managers?
According to several current general managers interviewed for the article who were once creative services directors, it’s the fact that the creative services director touches all departments — sales, news, engineering, traffic, production, you name it — and that CSDs are consensus builders with the skill set to handle community relations, creativity, brand management, sales commercials, and negotiations.
And as further proof, I point to the announcement by KVUE, Tegna’s ABC affiliate in Austin, Texas, which named Kristie Gonzalez as that station’s new general manager.
Gonzalez was the promotion and digital brand manager at WABC in New York and has held creative services management positions at other ABC-owned stations like WTVD and KSFN.
“Kristie is a rising star in this industry and we are thrilled she is joining TEGNA and leading KVUE,” said David Lougee, Tegna’s president.
“Kristie is a forward-thinking leader with experience creating strategic campaigns to grow audiences across platforms, specifically in culturally diverse markets, which will be invaluable to KVUE, the Austin community and TEGNA Media.”
Gonzales will replace Patti Smith, who is retiring at the end of June.
Gonzales is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a board member of Vision for Equality, a nonprofit that advocates for people with disabilities. She was nominated in 2013 to represent ABC Owned Television Stations on a Disney ABC Television Group Hispanic Task Force. In May of this year, she was honored with the Latino Trendsetter Award.
Want to know more about Kristi Gonzales? Click here to read a Q&A with her from January of this year.