Tag Archives: WXYZ

Regional Murrow Awards Wrap-Up, 9 Markets

I’ve created a monster. Namely, writing about TV stations that won the various regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

I have already shared dozens. But I can’t share all of them.

I do like to spotlight award-winning work, whether it’s news promotion or news coverage examples, as I believe looking at work deemed excellent by a jury of our peers helps everyone improve their craft.

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Unique Content Puts WJBK First On Facebook

This week’s Social Scorecard stops at the Motor City to explore how WJBK is able to hold off its competition on Facebook with local news content that is mostly exclusive to the station.

Fox’s Detroit O&O led in social media actions in the market over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.

But it’s a highly competitive race as only about 5,000 actions separate WJBK from the second-place station, WXYZ, the market’s ABC affiliate owned by Scripps.

WJBK has more than 4.6 million actions on social, 23% of the total engagement generated by the DMA (No. 14), with more than 19.8 million social actions.

WJBK also led in actions per post with 500.

WDIV, the NBC affiliate owned by Graham Media Group led the market on Instagram with more than 123,000 actions.

The Detroit Free Press, a daily newspaper owned by Digital First Media, dominated on Twitter with more than 232,000 actions.

Jay Dillon

Jay Dillon, WJBK’s senior web producer, says the station has a big newsroom staff that produces a large amount of news per day, but not all of it works on Facebook.

“We look for the local news that our audience is interested in. We are very in tune with what our audience is engaged with; what stories will drive traffic. We just push our local content first and foremost.”

Dillon admits that what’s successful on Facebook is different every day, every week, especially since the changes Facebook made recently in its algorithms which downplays posts by publishers to emphasize content by friends and family.

What’s he’s finding in the last month or so that works “is unique content that only we are creating.”

Like the story that came to the station through a tip from one of its Facebook followers.

“There was a story we did first about a family who had an elderly member of their family that had been abused in a nursing home. They had video, they brought it to us, because they wanted us to do a story about it. That was our most popular story on our website. It was also one of the most popular stories on our Facebook page that month. So that’s what we’re looking for. Not just what our competition is reporting, because we’re all going to have that. But the more successful stuff is that unique content.”

That focus on unique content exclusive to WJBK also extends to how the station uses Facebook Live.

Kellie Rowe

“We have a program that’s called Fox 2 News Now,” says Dillon, “and we have a special setup where one of our web producers will go online. We want to have a way for people to find more about the content that they’re going to ask questions about. We’ll prepare stories for our website because every Facebook post that we do, we want to have a link back to our website.”

Dillon says that the segment, hosted by reporter Kellie Rowe, doesn’t go on Facebook Live at a designated time, but rather as news breaks.

“When there’s something live, we’re going. We’re going to be on live, and Kellie will be there to kind of moderate things. We have a lot of success, especially in February, with our Larry Nassar coverage.”

Nassar was the USA Gymnastics team doctor and an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University who was convicted of being a serial child molester.

Dillon says court cases in general get high engagement, comments, and shares because people pass judgement one way or the other.

WJBK’s morning team does a Facebook Live segment called The Doctor’s In, where they take questions on Facebook Live and then answer them on TV.

“It’s kind of a little bit of synergy of bringing our TV back to Facebook and vice versa,” says Dillon.

Another feature of the morning news is a two-hour show called The 9, which incorporates user comments.

“It’s on from 9 a.m. to 11. It’s an engaging show. Our talent are on their social media pages. They interact with their audience, also with our station page as well.”

Overall, Dillon views Facebook as an experiment.

“Every post, every day, every week is just like: OK, what’s working, what’s not working? In the end, it’s the same thing I’ve been saying since I started here four years ago: local news works.

“People rely on us to be their source. When we have a major event, like we had a meteor crash here in January, and our Facebook numbers, our web numbers, were through the roof for the story, because people wanted to know what was going on. People weren’t going for a national source. They were coming to us because we have developed and earned their trust that what we’re going to post is what we know, and what we know to be accurate. So above everything else, we want to be accurate, we want to be trustworthy, and that’s where we stand.”

WXYZ’s Stephen Clark Retires To Pursue Country Music Career

Not many news anchors write and perform country music.

But WXYZ’s Stephen Clark does. And he’s following his passtion right to Nashville.

Now that he officially retired from his other passion yesterday, being a journalist.

Clark has done it all as an anchor, reporter and TV photographer.

But after 16 years as an anchor and and multi-platform journalist at WXYZ and WMYD, he’s handing in his press card in favor of his guitar and songwriting.

WXYZ and WMYD are Scripps’  ABC and MyNetworkTV affiliates in Detroit.

“I became a journalist more than 40 years ago to tell inspiring stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things,” said Clark.

“As I begin my retirement, I’m happy to report the story of Detroit’s comeback is perhaps my favorite story over these past 40 years. The reborn, revitalized and re-energized Detroit has inspired me to get involved in my own community and I can’t begin to describe how happy I am to have been even a small part of one of the greatest stories of all time.”

Clark started his career as a newspaper photographer in Colorado.

He worked as a TV photographer, reporter and anchor at stations across the country, including KCNC in Denver, KGTV in San Diego and WCBS in New York.

He ran a news bureau in Washington, D.C., covering political stories for viewers in his home market of Denver.

During his career, Clark reported on some of the biggest stories of our times, including the conflict in Bosnia, the Los Angeles riots, the California wildfires, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. (Clark was a correspondent for CBS News at the time of the attacks and reported from ground zero.)

Clark has also worked tirelessly with the nonprofit organization he co-founded, Scarlet’s Smile, that is committed to improving the lives of children afflicted with debilitating diseases. The foundation is named for his granddaughter Scarlet who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

The primary goal of the foundation is to build a million dollar playground in Oakland County where kids of all abilities can play together.

In addition to being able to spend more time with his family, Clark plans to pursue his passion for writing and performing country music. He’s an active member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

I’ve got a feeling we’ll be hearing more from Stephen Clark and his guitar.

WXYZ-WMYD Donates $10K To Literacy Campaign

WXYZ and WMYD Detroit, Scripps-owned ABC and MyNetworkTV affiliates, respectively, celebrated National Reading Day by delivering a check for $10,000 to the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center.

The money was donated by The Scripps Howard Foundation, as part of its national If You Give a Child a Book … literacy campaign.

Mike Murri, Diane Renaud, Exec. Director, St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center; Becky Brickner and Eli Scripps, Scripps Family members

The money will be used to purchase books for children at the Center, which provides educational programs for at-risk children through after school and summer programs.

The campaign is a partnership of the Foundation, the employees of the E.W. Scripps Co. and members of the Scripps family.

WXYZ anchor Carolyn Clifford at the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center

“If You Give a Child a Book …” has distributed more than 100,000 books to children across the country.

“We are thrilled to to be able to advance the great work that is being done at St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center through the generosity of the Scripps family,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ-WMYD’s general manager.

Employees of WXYZ and WMYD generously pledged money to purchase books for the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center as part of the campaign.

A member of the Scripps family matched the employee contributions and presented a donation of  $14,106 to the Center. In November, more than 5,600 books were purchased with those funds for children in the community.

WXYZ Promo Makes Free Holiday Gift List

This clever and well-executed promo for WXYZ’s new app is sure to get many downloads. Phil Wrobel, creative services director at the Scripps-owned Detroit ABC affiliate, sent me this note along with the spot.

“I thought this would be a fun promo to share with you. Our goal was to reinforce that our viewers and users can connect with us and get our content on any platform. With the holidays right around the corner, we thought it was a perfect opportunity promote our brand on all the OTT platforms since many of these devices will probably be on a lot of people’s list this year.”

“We had a little fun with the copy and the timing of the spot was perfect for the shopping season. I hope you enjoy!”

Tonight At 7, WXYZ Lights Up Detroit’s Holiday Season

The holiday season kicks off tonight at 7 in Detroit when the city’s Christmas tree lights up for the first time.

Scripps-owned ABC affiliate WXYZ will broadcast complete coverage of the event during a live special, Light Up the Season.

Light Up the Season will be streamed live on wxyz.com and on the WXYZ Facebook page.

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WXYZ Continues Town Hall Meetings Tonight

WXYZ, the Scripps ABC affiliate in Detroit, is hosting a town hall meeting tonight, its fifth in a series as part of its Detroit 2020 community initiative to project a vision for communities in the future.

Mike Murri

“Throughout this series of town hall meetings, we are going out to communities across Metro Detroit to simply listen,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ’s general manager.

“Understanding the issues and challenges people are facing helps us do a better job of serving our viewers. It also gives us the opportunity to address those concerns in stories on 7 Action News. Our goal is to have a positive impact in communities throughout our area.”

Stories on the Michigan auto insurance crisis and Detroit water bills came from concerns shared at WXYZ’s town hall meetings.

WXYZ – DETROIT 2020 TOWN HALL – OAKLAND COUNTY from WXYZ Creative on Vimeo.

Local TV’s Support For Flood Victims Growing

TV stations all across the country, either in conjunction with their broadcast group owners, or on their own, are conducting fundraisers to help victims in Texas and Louisiana deal with devastating flooding due to Hurricane Harvey.

At many of the Scripps-owned TV stations, some of which have already been mentioned in earlier columns, Scripps employees assembled phone banks at many stations while waters were still rising.

“As journalists, we often tell the stories of people involved in tragic events like this,” said Sean McLaughlin, Scripps vice president of news.

“Today, we have the opportunity to lead an effort to help those who have lost everything. We can use our company’s reach, spanning from coast to coast, to raise money to ease the burden on the storm’s victims. It is who we are at Scripps.”

KNXV in Phoenix raised $185,000 during its phone bank over two days. That included a $50,000 donation from the Healthy Sprouts Community Foundation.

WXYZ and WMYD in Detroit coordinated a two-day telethon and raised more than $138,000.

At WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla., the station raised more than $66,000 with its two-day phone bank.

WCPO in Cincinnati raised $100,000 over two days of afternoon-into-evening phone banks.

And in Tulsa, Okla., KJRH raised $16,000 with its Monday phone bank.

In Baltimore at Hearst’s NBC affiliate, WBAL, American Red Cross volunteers have been staffing the phone banks since Monday evening. Donations have eclipsed $260,000, as the phones continue to ring.

“There’s no shortage of adjectives to describe the pictures we’re seeing out of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” said Dan Joerres, WBAL’s general manager.

“As powerful as they are, those images don’t even begin to tell the story of the heartache felt by the tens of thousands of people who now have nowhere to live. The phones have been ringing off the hook, as the response from people throughout Maryland has been incredible.”

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, KCRG, Gray’s ABC affiliate, held a two-hour telethon with the Greater Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross, collecting $46,015. The total includes a $10,000 match from University of Iowa Community Credit Union.

“We went through our own devastating flood here in Eastern Iowa back in 2008,” said Thom Spritz, KCRG’s general manager. “Harvey hits home for so many people in our area.”

Another Gray station, NBC affiliate WEAU Eau Claire, Wis., created a PSA Toolkit that was sent to all the Gray stations so they can quickly get localized announcements on air.

In Boston, WCVB, Hearst’s ABC affiliate, raised more than $500,000, and counting with its RELIEF FUND 5: Help for Houston telethon during yesterday’s day-long fundraising event.

“When our community rallies to support a worthy cause, the results are always amazing,” said Bill Fine, WCVB’s general manager.

“And this time to raise more than a half million dollars in just hours to provide help for Houston is simply awe inspiring.”

In Corpus Christi, Texas, where Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Cordillera Communications’ KRIS, the NBC affiliate, announced a fundraising with the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group to leverage all donor contributions to benefit residents in the seven Texas counties surrounding Corpus Christi.

To speed donations and relief efforts, KRIS and Cordillera will match the first $50,000 donated.

Other Cordillera TV stations nationwide will assist in communicating and promoting this relief fund effort.

Detroit’s WXYZ & WMYD Helping Texas

This morning, from 6 to 8, volunteers from the Red Cross of Michigan will join employees of WXYZ and WMYD to staff a phone bank to take donations that will help victims of the flooding in Texas.

WXYZ and WMYD are the ABC and MyNetwork TV affiliates in Detorit owned by Scripps.

“We believe we can be a catalyst to encourage Metro Detroiters to donate in support of this important relief effort,” said Mike Murri, the stations’ general manager.

“We know the generous people of this community are committed to helping make a difference in the lives of the people in Texas.”

Anyone can donate by calling the Taking Action for Texas phone bank at 248-827-3362.

They can also go to wxyz.com or WXYZ’s Facebook page to donate or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

WXYZ Examines Detroit Riot 50 Years Ago

WXYZ, Detroit’s ABC affiliate owned by Scripps, will air a documentary about the 1967 Detroit riot this Sunday night at 7.

12th and Clairmount was produced by The Detroit Free Press in collaboration with WXYZ and Bridge Magazine, and highlights the racial and economic tensions that led to the most violent uprising in Detroit’s history.

The documentary, which will air commercial-free, features WXYZ archival film along with home movies from Detroiters who witnessed the five-day rebellion and shared their stories.

“It’s so important that we reflect on the past and learn from those experiences if we’re going to move our community forward,” said Mike Murri, WXYZ’s general manager.

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