The Internet guts the power of the TV news tease

The Internet guts the power of the TV news tease.
This comes from John Corcoran, former entertainment reporter, critic and feature reporter for TV stations in Washington, D.C., Boston and L.A. but best known as ShopTalk’s “Pesky Gadabout.” ShopTalk is a daily newsletter serving the television news industry, and Corcoran is a fixture in the Letters To The Editor section. In today’s edition, he writes:

Throughout the evening, news teases ask us “Will it rain tomorrow?” “Did a famous actor run afoul of the law again?” and “Marines killed in Iraq-how many? We’ll tell you at 11.” Last night, for instance, viewers in LA were asked, “The votes are all counted, will Wal-Mart be coming to Inglewood?”

While news coverage itself degrades, the art and science of teasing is sent into battle to save the day. Just as generals tend to fight the last war, infatuation with “great teases” instead of improving newscasts may well ignore the reality of the Internet and fuel the long-term diminishment of local news viewership.

Last night, for instance, I fired up the ol’ computer and quickly learned the results of the Wal-Mart vote, then watched a rerun of “Friends” at eleven. Once teasing newscasters could lasso viewers and tie them to the set because the only alternative was waiting until the morning paper hit the stoop. Now, news viewers no longer have to wait.

John is an astute (and humorous) observer of life in front of and behind the cameras. This brilliant observation is yet another illustration of why broadcasting simply MUST move to a multimedia business model. John’s commentary is widely read and considered credible. Let’s hope those in power are paying attention.

(NOTE: ShopTalk is an important house organ for the industry, but it is way behind the times, because it doesn’t provide permanent linking mechanisms. This is the bane of older model newsletters.)

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