Jenn Bates has been the morning anchor at KWCH since November 2014 and was a sports anchor/reporter for 8.5 years in Wichita and Tri-Cities, WA before that. Jenn studied telecommunications-news at the University of Florida from 2002-2006.
Our station got into a bad habit a long time ago. In the 6pm show the producer would regularly drop the sports tease. So I stopped writing one. Eventually, it was just commonplace for weather to toss to the break and come back with our generic sports open without any mention of sports throughout the show.
Please, tease your stuff!
I talk now from the news side of things where teases are CRUCIAL to shows. How many times have you caught yourself either watching or show because the tease was so good, or in some cases, so outlandish that you just HAD to watch for the story. Inside Edition and any show on the E! Network always make me laugh or cringe with how sensational their teases are. But, I remember them AND they tend to get me to stick around at least for a little while.
I’m not saying you need to tease death, sex and destruction (ok, maybe sometimes) but you DO need to put effort into teases because they matter.
Here are some quick and dirty tips from one of my favorite Ep’s, Christina Taylor (she now works in Denver as a prof, her husband is an Emmy winning photog in the Denver area):
1) Don’t start with ‘coming up.’ That gives people a cue that they can walk away or turn the channel.
2) If it happened in a small town or a small college DON’T say the location. If people think it doesn’t affect them, they won’t watch.
3) Don’t be a MORE-ON. Moron teases are so common and they happen in intro’s a lot too. Don’t tell me ‘so and so with have more on this,’ because that does nothing for me. It’s a cop out, it’s lazy. Don’t be lazy.
4) Show me your BEST VIDEO and use your BEST SOUND. If you have video that makes everyone in the newsroom crowd around your desk, USE IT. And use it A LOT. If it makes people in your newsroom freak out, gag, laugh, cry, say ohhhhhhh, then yeah it’ll make your audience do the same and will make them want to watch again. Same goes for sound. Reporters, when you’re in the field, if you hear a soundbite/nat sound pop that is fantastic, TELL YOUR PRODUCER! Producers and anchors, if you find a soundbite inside a package from your video service, clip it, edit it and use it off the top.
5) Let’s say you’ve found that UNBELIEVABLE video that you’re going to use in the tease and in a story later. You should write your tease for it IMMEDIATELY. If you know right away, yes that’s my open tease, write the tease so it’s fresh in your mind. Also write the story so you can (and this is insanely important) WRITE TO THE VIDEO. Tell me what I’m seeing and why it’s important.
6) Don’t give me a statement. I see this one a lot. If you write a tease and it tells me everything I need to know then why would I watch?
7) Safety and security. At our station this is one of our TOP reasons for running a story. However, and this is very important, do not scare your viewers. Don’t write a tease to freak people out. In other words…I guess don’t be TMZ.