Your innovation station

The local TV news formula changes very little.  Since the 1970s, it’s largely gone like this:AnchormanPoster

  • Male and female co-anchors
  • Weather forecaster
  • Slightly crazy sports guy
  • Happy chatter amongst them
  • Reporter packages with voice track, sound, voice track and outcue
  • Live “doughnuts” with package wedged between live open and close
  • “Coming up!” teases
  • “Exclusives”
  • Show-closing kickers

Innovation is tough to find, as three of the four Atlanta local TV news directors made clear during last week’s Atlanta Press Club forum.

One could argue that innovation is essential as audiences, ad dollars and budgets continually shrink. Yet WSB’s news director said her station’s greatest innovation may be enterprising reporting.  WAGA’s news director talked about his thirty-year-old investigative unit.  Their remarks were numbingly unimaginative.

(Curiously, WGCL’s news director failed to mention his station’s new I-phone application that rolled out later that same week.)

WXIA is a proud, old Atlanta TV station with a distressingly small audience.  Its news director rattled off a list of recent innovations.  With little to lose, it makes sense that WXIA has embraced innovation.  What’s unclear at this point is whether any of its 21st century innovations can help WXIA draw an audience.

Click below to hear their answers to the innovation question, in the final installment of this tedious LAF series.  Talk about numbingly unimaginative…

This entry was posted in WAGA, WGCL, WSB, WXIA on by .

About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

11 thoughts on “Your innovation station

  1. steve schwaid

    Full Disclosure

    I didn’t mention the iPhone app because I wasn’t sure we would be ready to launch on Tuesday. It wasn’t ready until I got back to the office that I got confirmation our new innovation was done.

    We also launched our new mobile website that is already due to be upgraded.

    And today we’re putting the finishing touches on a new mobile innovation users will have access to shortly.

    Honestly, is all of this innovation or is it just what we have to do as part of the shifting universe. This is how we’re supposed to do business. Our goal is to be first in “innovations” from skype, to wireless, to iphone and to the basics of journalizm and in the fourth estate – holding our public officials accountable and asking the tough questions and getting action.

    I’m sure there will be some opposing opinions. 🙂

    steve schwaid
    Director of News and Digital Content
    CBS Atlanta

  2. formernewsaddict

    Doug, this series hasn’t been “tedious” at all. I, for one, appreciate the excerpts from the news directors forums … since not all of us could get there.

  3. Jim

    One thing that WXIA seems to have lost sight of is the fact that they’re still the NEWS department. My wife, who has been a staunch supporter of the way they’ve been doing things just watched the noon news on 2, 5 and 11, and her only comment on 11’s opening story was “what were they thinking?”
    2 and 5 both started with live shots from the Georgia Theater, while 11 was on their food for the hungry drive.

    Given the number of people in this state with a connection to Athens (can you spell UGA) I have no doubt that this would be my lead story. Feel good is nice, but sometimes real news should take precedence.

    And thanks to Steve for commenting-it’s nice to see him being involved like this.

    1. Jim

      I figured they did, but I was engrossed in the other two…for some reason GCL was not in my favorite list in the remote, and I didn’t get there. I honestly don’t know how you could not lead with that one.

      It’s one thing to say it needs to be different, but big news still comes first, and that was huge news.

  4. steve schwaid



    I have no issues with engaging in a great discussion. Though, some of the stuff on other BBs gets a little childish.

    I do apologize if I may be a little shy with some of my thoughts. My staff often takes me to task because I fail to share my true feelings.

  5. jamesr1991

    Does any of this explain the out of focus stand ups and interviews on WAGA tonight? Two stories in a row (Athens Theater Fire and Local Iranian Protest) the reporter’s standup and interviews consisted of out of focus foreground subject and in focus background.

  6. Jack Buzz

    I don’t see how having online chats and devoting a lot of time to one subject makes a statement about being inovative. It was not too many years ago that news stations were doing 3-6 minute feature and investigative pieces and those went bye-bye becauase research said no one had the time to watch such long pieces. It is also not inovative if no one is watching….


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