Re-thinking News Promos

Here is the next installment in my series of essays, TV News in a Postmodern World. This examines the industry’s obsession with topical promotions, and especially the techniques used to manipulate viewers into watching. This practice runs up against the now widely recognized beliefs that mass-marketing is on the way out and consumers are increasingly in charge. I believe we need to re-think the entire “branding” thing to see what aspects of it are actually hurting us in the long run, and this essay is a part of that.

Re-thinking News Promos


  1. Let the people say “Amen.”

    I’ve seen otherwise sane, rational managers go nuts when it came to topical promotions. I’ve even been called on the carpet because my own teases didn’t scare people. They didn’t phrase it that way, but that’s what they meant.

    My fellow producers and I actually had a joke about the “perfect” tease. “Watch Channel xx News at 5, or you’ll die.”

    And on more than one occasion, I’ve gone to a new station where it appeared they tried to be above that sort of promotion. Instead, it turned out they were just behind the curve.

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