March 30, 2010
Local News Comparison
It was very interesting to watch all the sports sections within local news programs. While there was unavoidable repetition, there was still room for stations to differentiate themselves. Sports play a big role in our society and have an effect on people throughout the country. As a local news station, you are in direct competition with other local stations. On any weeknight, a consumer can easily find at least three options to get their local news or sports. This only puts a more importance on the presentation of these local programs. In order to gain viewers, local stations must separate themselves from the competition and Local 7 does this. While all three programs had the same news to report, only local 7 covered more than just Michigan State basketball. Local 2 and 4 did have an hour-long sports program immediately following, but that should have only allowed them to cover more stories outside of MSU. They then could have used their hour slot to go in further depth about the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. I think this approach makes more sense because at the end of the day, viewers who are MSU fans are more likely to stay tuned in to enjoy this accomplishment. Channel 7 on the other hand was able to cover more sports in the same amount of time. Not only did they cover the important aspects of the MSU game, they broke stories about UofM hockey and basketball player Manny Harris.
Local news programs must carefully manage their air time and are forced to cover a lot of material in a very short period. Not only do they cover national news, they have to local stories to report as well. In terms of sports, I believe local 7’s ability to cover more than one sport story separated them form the other stations. However, it is worth discussing that the local 7 program I watched occurred during the week, while local 4 and local 2 were watched during the weekend. This is important because it might be an explanation of why some stories were covered, and some were not.
Overall I think Local 7’s Katrina Hancock’s ability to connect with the viewer was far superior than her rival colleagues and ultimately put local 7’s sports coverage at the top of my rankings. By taking responsibility for all of the interviews and not having to bring in an additional reporter, Katrina was able to gain credibility with the viewer and therefore made me value her opinion far greater. When watching national programming, it is easy to loose one’s local perspective on current issues and events. While I am not about to watch all three programs each day, I will say that everyone should brush off their antenna controller and tune into local 7 news at 5pm each and every weekday for the best sports coverage and reporting.
Local 7 (ABC) 3/29/10, 5:00pm
When watching Local 7’s news coverage I noticed a lot of similarities with the other two programs. During the sports section with Katrina Hancock, she started out with the same CBS provided game footage. After reviewing the highlights, Katrina led into interviews with players and coaches. What was unique was the fact that Katrina was the interviewer. With the other two stations, a separate news reporter was used to cover the game. By having Katrina at the game doing interviews, she was able to gain credibility with her viewers. I was more likely to listen to her comments and take her seriously. It is also worth mentioning that Katrina was the only woman covering sports for the local stations. While this could be a deterrent for some, because of her coverage, she was actually the best reporter I had seen on local news. After the typical MSU highlights and interviews Katrina did go on to report other sports stories. These included both Manny Harris’ decision to leave college and turn pro as well as UofM’s hockey game against Miami OH. In general it was a relief to see that other sports stories do exist beside MSU basketball, but if I had to only watch MSU highlights for the rest of my life, I would watch them on channel 7.
Local 4 (NBC) 3/28/10, 11:00pm
When watching Local 4’s news coverage and programming it was tough to avoid the feeling of déjà vu. Fresh off of watching Local 2’s coverage, I couldn’t help but think I was actually watching the same program. The show opened up similarly with coverage regarding Michigan State’s basketball win that afternoon. Host Steve Garagiola introduced Frank Holland to report live from East Lansing. Holland went on to give insight as to how fans and players reacted when they returned back to campus from St. Louis. This segment included video clips from the pep rally and interviews from the players. Interestingly enough, there were no highlights from the actual game that took place that afternoon. The focus and priority had shifted to the reaction of fans and players after the win instead of highlights from the afternoon. After Holland’s report Garagiola did, in fact, show highlights from the actual game using CBS footage. He then showed the upcoming schedule for the team and previewed their game on Saturday against Butler. While the overall coverage was fairly short and limited to MSU basketball, it is worth mentioning that an hour-long “Final-Edition” program immediately followed the news coverage. I did see the weather on three different occasions throughout the program so while I know it will be 79 this weekend, I am not sure what sporting events I should attend.
Local 2 (FOX) 3/28/10, 10:00pm
Local media and news coverage seems to be losing its popularity for today’s youth. Similar to the fate of local newspapers, national media outlets are expanding their coverage, ultimately pushing out local television. This Sunday I got reacquainted with local news by watching channel 2, Fox Detroit. While my interest was solely focused on their sports coverage, it was impossible to overlook the overall presentation. While I often think companies like ESPN go overboard on their use of technology, it was clear that local programming presentation lagged behind. Local 2 at 11pm opened with anchor Dan Miller reporting on the Michigan State basketball game. MSU had just earned a trip to the final four, a tremendous accomplishment with national implications. This initial coverage included highlights from the game and interviews from various players. Miller also introduced Jennifer Hammond, a reporter who covered the game in St. Louis. Hammond provided some analysis and expanded on some of the player’s interviews. Overall the presentation was fairly basic with highlights and interviews strung together. What was interesting is that the program failed to cover any other sporting event. The entire sports section focused solely on MSU basketball and only alluded to other stories as a promotion for their hour-long sports show that immediately follows the news.
March 18, 2010
Tiger Plays it Safe
If one thing was made clear in 2010, it was that Tiger Woods is not only the most powerful athlete of all time, but one of the biggest celebrities as well. No other athlete would be able to get away with what he has done in the past year. Lets first look at the scandal itself. From the accident was called into the police, media coverage has yet to stop. From a small traffic violation, to mistresses and affairs the media brought out all of their ammunition. To put things in perspective, Tiger showed up on the front page of the New York times more than anything relating to 9/11. What is also interesting was that fact that he was able to quite honestly disappears from the face of the earth. Tiger took time off after the accident and actually out maneuvered media coverage. I don't know how many celebrities can pull that one off. Then at the end of it all, Tiger finally decides to break his silence and give a press conference. However this wouldn't be with traditional media, no instead it would be more of a speech in front of family and associates. The good news is this entire circus ride is about to come to a close. However the lights of the camera and sound of reporters will only pick up. This years masters will be overran with media and all eyes will be on the worlds number 1. Everyone talks about Tigers intimidation factor, well the media only adds another distraction.... for the rest of the field. Expect Tiger to win this first major and give his classic white smile on the 18th green. He'll avoid questions about his past and will focus only on golf. Tiger needs Steve to caddy, but when it comes to the media, Tiger calls all of the shots.