What would you like to see on the news?

One of the favourite memes of modern times is that people hate to watch their local news for a myriad of reasons: too much sensation, too much fluff, etc…

As a news guy, I can understand that, since many stations do focus too much on the crime, gloom and doom. But since I am a news guy, I also want to do my part to make my local newscast better.

What stories would you like to see on your evening newscast that aren’t being covered? Or what have you seen that was done well?

To me, ideally, news coverage should help a community solve its problems, large and small. That includes taking a leadership role in identifying what the problems are.

Which means:

  1. To be be intelligent & meaningful, stories have to be much longer (~ 5 min.), which I know is unrealistic.
  2. Coverage must be sustained.
  3. Practically every story should end with “Here’s what you can do…”

As I understand it, a typical newsroom basically “starts over” every day with new reporters assigned to new stories, due that evening. That’s a big part of the problem.

News. In some reasonable depth. Give the cute crap a show of its own. And no more stories where the come-ons are longer than the story when they get to it.

Area Veterinarian Big Loto Winner!!!

More positive things. There are good things out there, but we’re fed a steady diet of doom, gloom, and danger.

So what do you want? More crime coverage (costs nothing, we don’t have to look for it)? More community events (oh look, another pie-eating contest)? In-depth reports on how road construction in one neighbourhood is going to screw up the water main?

Key Lime Guy
We do hit reset every day, but I always like to see more follow-ups. I want to send the same reporter who covered the nasty crime to follow the whole thing in court.

In general, I always try to encourage beat reporters, because I you want to know what’s going on, it’s best to have the same person covering the same beat every day.

My own preferences are: municipal/provincial/state politics; education; crime; town’s major industry. What am I missing?

Less Sports, Less weather, more news.

I’ll qualify - more effective news - one thing missing often is context for news.

“The rate of bicycle theft has gone up 50%”

Since when?
Did it go from 1000 to 1500 thefts or 2 to 3?
How can I reduce my changes of theft?

Statistics are often offered cut don’t give any context for processing.

If “twice as many people have caught Lyme’s disease” this year, is there any concern? Should I panic or is it just interesting?

Concerning sports and weather, I know it’s hard to sell a 3 minute weather report but it’s getting ridiculous. One local station is offering 9-day forecasts. That’s ludicrous given Colorado’s ever-changing weather and is probably no more accurate that using a Ouija board. I ignore every past 5 days and everything from 3-5 days is mentally tagged as “iffy”.

Sports coverage in Denver is out of control. If a nuclear war started right now, tonight’s lead story would be that it would delay training for the Broncos fall season.


I can accept the “this is the most important thing you’ll see” hyping of tonight’s top story, but it might be nice to put it in context.

Right now the local news stations are falling all over themselves about whether local police are or are not using impounded cars without authorization. A big scandal. But none of them seem to remember a couple of years ago, when local police were alleged to have used impounded evidence. Were the same officers involved? Were the promised reforms put in place? Is there any connection?

At least I can rely on my local weathercaster to tell me that, while it’s hot today, it’s nowhere near a record high temperature, and my local sportscaster to tell me that even with last night’s loss, the team is still in second place.

Something I’ve noticed more on my local news, when I have the misfortune of catching it, is that the newscasters comment on the stories too much. I mean, I know they’re not supposed to be un-feeling zombies but for some reason they lose all credibility with me when they say something like “Wow Jim, that sounds terrible. I hope that guy gets put away for a long time” or “That looks really neat. I think I would buy one!”

It’s not Regis & Kelly, folks. Just tell the news.

This is my main problem with ALL news programming, including CNN and the other news networks. Too much mindless chatter and fluff, and not enough real news. And the endless “teasers” for a 20-second story are really annoying.

While current is critical, a little follow-up every once in awhile is appreciated as well. Some of these stories really reach out and grab you, then you never learn what the eventual resolution is. Yeah, we get some but I’d enjoy a little more.

And keep local news local, within reason. Sure, you’re going to cover the big national stories, but do we really need the Video of the Day? Just because someone caught a carjacking on camera in Dubuque, that does not make it news in Albuquerque.

I would like to see at least one mundane story each day. A good teaser would be something like: No death in Iraq today, stay tuned for more.
Then come back with:** Hundreds of Iraqi school children walked to and from school today with no loss of life. Americans provided clean water and food to dozens of Iraqis today and no one fired a shot during the operation.

I know the gunbattles and the IED’s get ratings, but there is more going on than just people dying.

SSG Schwartz

This first is probably more of an issue with national news than with local, but you’ve hit on a pet peeve.

I would like to see less coverage of popularity and speculation, and more coverage of facts. During the first Republican debate of the primaries (held at the Reagan Library), several of the candidates cited Reagan’s tough stand in facing up to terrorism and getting the Iranian hostages released. The post-debate gumflappers droned on about whether this would attract moderates without alienating their core groups, and no one bothered to mention whether it was true. That sort of thing.

I don’t care how much money a movie made at the box office over the weekend (I have no investments in any movie companies). I don’t care that Barack Obama won the nomination by recognizing the importance of the caucus states (I do not run presidential election campaigns). I don’t care that Angelina Jolie gave birth to twins (I am not the father). Tell me something I can use.

I remember a newscast from when I lived in Seattle. The smiling co-anchors introduced a report about some science-related story (discovering evidence of a planet orbiting another star, maybe; scientific, but hardly impenetrable). They cut back to the studio, and one SC-A said “and I didn’t understand any of that.”

Now, I know he was just trying to be open, and approachable, and trustworthy; but the more I thought about it, I started to wonder when it became acceptable for someone in that position to brag about his own ignorance.

You’re the news. You’re supposed to be smart. Push yourself. Learn something.
More to come, if I think of anything.

No need to be so snippy, after all, you asked us.

More crime coverage? No, based on my reading of the threads, I don’t think anyone here is asking for more crime coverage, unless it’s in the context of a bigger story.

More community events? Is a pie-eating contest what you automatically think of as a “community event”? How about covering the graduation from an adult literacy class, or a blood drive or vaccination clinic. How about following a firefighter around on “change your smoke detector day” and chat about what kind of fire hazards they see.

In-depth reports on road construction wouldn’t be the worst story I’ve ever seen on local news. It might be nice to explain to the viewers what they’ve getting for their tax dollars and why they aren’t getting more (or less) of it.

What I don’t want in local news:

  1. National news. The local broadcast is followed by the national ones, who have the resources to do a more in-depth story.
  2. Celebrity gossip. For God’s sake, why does my local news anchor need to tell me about Christie Brinkley’s divorce? If I want that crap, I’ll watch Extra!
  3. Items about the latest beauty/cosmetic surgery treatment. Honest to Og, they did a story the other day on fish pedicures. Huh? Come again? Since when do fish have feet? No, silly, you put your feet in a tank of water and fish nibble the dead skin off. THIS IS NEWS?
  4. I dunno, it seems to me that every other story lately is about gloom and doom related to gas and food prices. Six-months to a year ago, every other story was about the real-estate bubble burst. Can we have some variety to the stories? Do we have to focus on the crisis du jour in EVERY story?

What I do want in local news:

  1. More local coverage of events, politics, etc. with some background and follow-up. They have a huge viewing area (the Tampa Bay Area! would extend way farther than geography would suggest). The only stuff that gets covered from areas other than Tampa/St. Pete are generally crimes. And they seldom follow up, or provide context, as said above.
  2. More stories about people making a difference, and how WE can make a difference. They do some of this, but I’d like to see more. More information on Green stuff. More volunteer opportunities announced. More stories about educational programs people can help with. It’s nice when they give grocery/gas-saving tips, but see number 4 above.

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to be snippy. It is an occupational hazard.

I like many of the suggestions here. Some of the issues are problems with how stories are written and researched (“The rate of bicycle theft has gone up 50%”, without further explanation, should never have made it to air).

Too much crime coverage. I don’t care if some low-rent two-bit criminal masterminded the daring robbery of a convenience store.

Try some positive things. I actually would watch a long segment on road construction, or tips from a firefighter, etc. These days I’d pay a monthly subscription to the local news for some mundane stories.

Shut that fucking weatherman up. 2-3 minutes and that would be enough for the weather, since gasp the news will be on tomorrow fucking night.

While UK troops stood by and did nothing apart from drinking tea :dubious:

In local news, more about planning and the choices we are making for the future. In Toronto, we are getting ready to spend tens of billions on rebuilding the public transport system, and there’s an elaborate planning exercise going on–with financial planning, even, which is a real breakthrough, trust me. It’s going to affect us all, and depending on what they do, it could be very good or a total WOMBAT (Waste Of Money, Brains And Time).

I hang out on several transit and architecture sites, and I’ve been following the subject a lot lately. But what’s the only thing I hear on the local news? “Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan Delayed Again.” Arrgghh.