I’ve been thinking a lot lately about information versus entertainment and this thought provoking post helped solidify a few things. The piece looks at the Brian Williams event. There is much more comment out there on news as opposed to weather and I get great value in substituting “weather” for “news” in my reading.
What Postman’s theory means for the modern anchor, of course, is that he can’t simply be a reader of headlines anymore, or even a witness to them. The anchor has to be a central character in the drama, so that all of us can feel invested in the story. He or she needs to star in the news.
I’ve written recently how fascinating it has been for me to start a new Facebook Page in the middle of this social media time, as opposed to having one evolve. Since this beginning of this blog we’ve talked about how easy it is for users to find, Partly Cloudy, 72. The entertainment/social content clearly wins.
So, is the entertainment value all we have left? Yes, I get the “we provide context” and “education” argument, and I agree, to a point. Honestly, I’ve avoided writing this for years, but, that fancy jet stream map you I showed on TV last night was forgotten five seconds after it left the screen, and it doesn’t work as a still image flying by on Twitter. It does, however, give your audience a sense of security that you know what you’re talking about and that is valuable.
James Spann has been talking about his 4:00pm news format recently on WeatherBrains. Pam Huff, his longtime friend and co-anchor, stands with James in front of the giant monitor and you will see a handful of social media pictures, a non-telegenic map from WeatherBell, or some “meteorology” source, and the 7-day forecast. James reports that the mid-age female demographic seems to like it, while the older audience hates it. An interesting problem in my market where the older audience is clearly dominant. The social media pictures are clearly the majority of the segment. Entertainment.
I’ve started using my own photographs as the full-screen backgrounds for my forecast boards (replacing the horribly generic and outdated graphics I inherited from the parent company) and this small change has generated quite a bit of comment from users. Entertainment.
Somewhere in the last few days I think it was “get naked at work” day? Some image of a weather guy in front of the 7-day wearing only a necktie crossed my field of view. I couldn’t bring myself to pay any closer attention but, I think, it was entertainment.
I recommend the piece mentioned above and suggest we think about where it leads. The New York Times has reported that Williams expressed interest in taking over The Tonight Show as NBC planned to replace Jay Leno a few years ago.
I’ll leave you with this…
It did really well on social media after a school talk. Let me…entertain you.