By Trevor Pettiford
A news director once told me, “In news, we give people what they want and occasionally, we give them what they need”. That axiom seemed to be in play Wednesday night during WXIA-TV’s 11:00 newscast. After the obligatory murder, crash and “you’re gonna die” stories of the night, the folks at 11Alive turned their attentions and 20 minutes of semi-commercial free time over to “Ways to Save”, a special how-to series of reports and interviews to help us all make the most with less.
I have to say though, I had to chuckle at the special’s opening shot of 11Alive’s anchorless HD desk, hearing Brenda Wood and Ted Hall exclaim it was empty because there was “work to be done”. (Hmm… what’s being done when they are sitting at that desk?) But regardless of where they sat, stood or aimlessly walked, I have to tip my press hat to their work in putting together 20 minutes of true news you could use. From making your bills lower to being a smarter shopper, there were so many tips and ideas, Clark Howard had to be taking a few notes.
Valerie Hoff, a.k.a. “The Coupon Queen” should’ve been carrying a pair of scissors instead of a mic with the way she was cutting through the details of being a coupon clipper. Bill Liss offered up some bargain vacation ideas and Sports Director Fred Kalil had a few “stay-cation” tips (vacations you take at home) for cheaper tickets to local sporting events. And while we’re on the subject of new econo-phrases, Doug Richards coined a new one… Chic-skate. Cheap is the new chic, he explained in his story about how you can raid the Last Chance Thrift Store for designer clothes for the price of a latte. (note to Doug: reporter involvement is great, but you don’t have to actually wear clothes on-air that you purchased from those places) 😉
In all, if you were keeping score… and I was… there were 51 tips and 27 websites offered up to viewers in 20 minutes. I didn’t included among those sites the 15 times “11alive.com” was mentioned or plastered in Hi Def on my screen… shameless, but expected.
So much important and useful information, in such a short period of time, didn’t newscasts used to be like that? If news gave people more of what they need, maybe they would no longer want what they’ve been getting.
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