By: Mandy Mitchell
I am sure many of you have seen the video of the KRON sportscast floating around the internet the last few days. Even people who are not in the TV news business seem to be sharing it because it’s pretty much like watching a car wreck. (KRON has taken it down, but here is the story)
Let me first share my opinion of what happened here between the sports anchor and the news anchor on live television. This was ridiculous. Yeah- The sports guy said he was “playing,” but I am not sure what the viewer gets out of this. Keep the “jokes” for the newsroom or the commercial breaks. I actually found what he said pretty amusing, but it wasn’t the place for sure!
That opinion aside, I think there is really something we can learn from this incident. I got a tweet from my friend, and fabulous Phoenix producer, Kianey Carter. (Kianey also happens to be a contributor to this blog. You can read one of her great posts here). She asked “when is a sports story a news story and vice versa?”
I’ve actually spent a great deal of time thinking about this question and working with producers and management at my station to solve this issue.
I’ve seen far too many sports people who only focus on their 3 minutes in the D-Block. There is an attitude, and I’ve heard many a sports anchor say this, of being “out of sight, our of mind” as far as the newsroom goes. There is a tendency to hide out in the sports office and appear only when it’s time to anchor that 3 minutes. It’s like that chunk of the newscast is its own newscast. I wrote more about this in another blog post.
We need to do a better job of making the sportcast feel like more of a part of the newscast. That goes for sports anchors and news producers.
Sports people: Look at the rundown when you get to work. Is there something in there you were planning to run? Is there something that is NOT in there that you think should be a part of the newscast that the producer may have missed? Any new concussion news or domestic violence charge can be this kind of story.
Producers: If you are going to run a story that is about sports, just shoot the sports anchor a note. Our producers do this all the time now. For example, we all had a discussion about the two horses that died in races last week. That ended up running in news while sports focused strictly on the Preakness itself.
I think the problem comes up a lot in the late newscast. If a story airs at 5pm and in the sportscast at 6, a producer may just drag it over from 5 like any other story. Try to think more about this and if the sports anchor may have an interest in airing the story.
If a story is big enough to be a “news story” there are likely enough elements to share. Let’s say a local college quarterback is arrested for DUI and he is suspended from the team.
News can air the details of the arrest and the DUI and tease ahead to the sports person who can then talk about what the suspension means to the team. Is this the kid’s first time in trouble? Is he in trouble a lot? Can you list the times? Will he be benched?
This is how news and sports can cover the same story without repeating information.
Bottom line—We are all on the same team and should NEVER act like we are competing for information when we are on the air, even if it is a “joke.”