by Tom Rosenstiel, Marion Just, Todd Belt, Atiba Pertilla, Walter Dean, and Dante Chinni
We Interrupt This Newscast: How to Improve Local News and Win Ratings Too uses empirical evidence, social science analysis and actual ratings data to disprove much of the conventional wisdom about what works to win viewers in local TV news.
The work is based on five years of research of 154 stations in 50 markets – more than 33,000 stories, plus survey data of news professionals and workshop interviews with more than 2,000 TV journalists. The findings show that flashing lights, yellow police tape and “hook and hold” structure of most newscasts actually drive viewers away. So does the idea that only certain topics are interesting. Instead, the book shows that by telling stories better, with more balance, deeper sourcing, and more real information, newscasts have a undisputable record of winning in the marketplace. The problem is there just aren't enough of those kinds of stories.