Abrams: Enough With The Exclamation Points!

Tribune Co. Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams continues on his jihad against "fake and jive" in local TV news. He says he talked to a "voice guy" Tribune stations were using and was given the lowdown.

       

Thumbnail image for leeabrams1.jpg
"The copy he receives is often horrible," Abrams writes. "He sent me a few samples and it was, well, horrible. WAY too much copy and everything has a "!". Imagine if there was an exclamation point next to every newspaper story. that would look kind of ridiculous. well, it SOUNDS ridiculous when we hype everything."

He also wants to eradicate "cheesy TV-ims."

we kill ourselves with cheesy TV-isms in promos. Lines like;
Right around the corner! (What corner?)
Hope you're enjoying the show (sure you do)
Don't forget to tune in Friday! (yeah---I'll send an Outlook invite)
We'll be right back (Duh)
Hey! Hope you're "digging" the show (Hey, look we're using street lingo)
Etc...
Are best left to Onion TV. So, so insincere , fake and jive. They just need to tell it like it is without those silly tvisms that only contribute to insincere plastic tv. There are other less blatant BS ways to say things!

It's hard to disagree with Lee on these things. It also appears that Abrams started using a spell check, as he seems to have cleaned up the errors. Unfortunately, he failed to check the subject line on the email he sent out companywide -- and he misspelled insincerity as "insincerety." Ah, you can't win them all.

The entire piece follows (it jumps):

------------------------------------------

February 25, 2009

THINK PIECE: INSINCERITY IN TV..AND PROGRESS AROUND TRIBUNE

THINK PIECE: INSINCERITY IN TV..AND PROGRESS AROUND TRIBUNE

Check these out. They reflect exactly the kind of POWER that subtle and cerebral can deliver. Sure, it's a memorial thing, but the simplicity...the music and the overall attitude is intelligent, powerful and commanding. I really think these pieces represent the soul that TV CAN have, if we think this way. It oozes timeless, all demographic QUALITY.


http://www.wgnamerica.com/pages/paul_harvey

Tim Dukes shared a discussion he had with a voice guy we had been using. I also spoke with him about a week ago. He's a nice guy and understands that we need to move on and reinvent TV, but three things came up:

*A big difference in copy he receives from our stations and say an HBO is that we try to jam 40 seconds of copy into a 30 and HBO has 5 seconds of copy in a 30 allowing them more 'space' for sound, audio signature etc...

*One of the reasons he doesn't well work for us is that we want to 'sound' like our cities and he has the classic anywhere USA voice. He doesn't sound like NYC, or Texas or New Orleans. BIG missed opportunity for ourselves if we take localism seriously. I recall as a kid driving from Chicago to Florida, you'd drive through Indy, Louisville, Nashville, Atlanta and Jacksonville--and every one of those cities had TV and radio that sounded LIKE the city...You make that same trip today and everything is generic anywhere USA. same "slogans"...same look...same V/O. And we wonder why media is so vanilla? It's completely self inflicted...and unless WE/YOU do something about it, we'll generic ourselves to irrelevancy. YOU have one big thing going--YOU SERVE A CITY. Time we sounded andlooked like that

city.

*The copy he receives is often horrible. He sent me a few samples and it was, well, horrible. WAY too much copy and everything has a "!". Imagine if there was an exclamation point next to every newspaper story. that would look kind of ridiculous. well, it SOUNDS ridiculous when we hype everything. All you need is a strong message presented with an interesting voice and sonic treatment.

We gotta continue to really press these issues and I wanted to share them because while pretty basic, they're widespread and hold us back from creating a strong local sonic identity that's MODERN and further differentiates us from the pack.

Then, another thing:

Wording: pull out the tv cliche detector. we kill ourselves with cheesy TV-isms in promos. Lines like;
Right around the corner ! (What corner?)
Hope you're enjoying the show (sure you do)
Don't forget to tune in Friday! (yeah---I'll send an Outlook invite)
We'll be right back (Duh)
Hey! Hope you're "digging" the show (Hey, look we're using street lingo)
Etc...
Are best left to Onion TV. So, so insincere , fake and jive. They just need to tell it like it is without those silly tvisms that only contribute to insincere plastic tv. There are other less blatant BS ways to say things!

And we don't have "sell" everything. In the case of many TV personalities ...they got enough going for themselves without having to hype everything--that just fakes them up. Real is good! Just tell it like it is. Local TV stations will drown in its own BS if we don't fix this.

OK...from around the Tribune Nation:

CRIME PAYS IN ALLENTOWN:

The Morning call is doing an EXCEPTIONAL job at reporting crime. Compartmentalized...consistent...interactive. And, I still am not sure why we don't pay more attention to this in print and on screen. It's real...We need dedicated Ctrime Bureaus in our newscasts...tought crime reporters...and BE the centerpoint for crime reporting instead of assuming people know you are.

Take a look: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/police/
FROM KDAF TV : .

The idea is to take local icons (Ball players, chefs, politicos, etc...) as well as National stars in town and give them 33 seconds (they're channel 33).

The upside is:

They DID it! It will become a trademark for them and improve their Metroplex cred if they keep doing them (one offs dont create trademarks)

The only downside is that the voice style is a bit too in your face and detracts from the "answers" but they are aware of that.

The bottom line is that they EXECUTED on an idea, and as they move forward with it, it'll pay off!

Bob Dickenson from KDAF sent along this brief overview:

"33 Seconds With..." is a short interview with either local and national celebrities, or basically anyone you might think is interesting. Now before you get out your stop watch and actually TIME these, be aware that they don't necessarily run exactly thirty-three seconds. In fact, most aren't even close. We just thought it would be a really cool title for interviews you won't see everywhere else.

Here's how it works: We dream up about 15 unusual and not too insulting questions, then pitch them rapid-fire to our guest celeb. They are not allowed to elaborate, as we don't want them to drone on and on. In most cases, they respond with a simple two or three word answer...think word association. Adding to the fun is the fact that they are not allowed to see the questions upfront, and there are no "do-overs".

The celebrity is allowed to say "Pass" if they'd prefer not to answer. But we WILL use the fact that they said "Pass" in their Q & A, so that YOU can give them grief about it, should you run into them at the grocery store.

FROM TONY HUNTER AT THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Taking reinvention seriously

It is my pleasure to inform you the Chicago Tribune Reinvention Team has been named our 2008 Publisher's Award winner. This prestigious award is given to recognize their innovative approach to achieving several business objectives. While their accomplishments are clearly noteworthy, I also want to acknowledge the behavioral aspects of this team:
• outside in perspective
• intelligent risk taking
• collaboration
• action orientated
These behaviors are consistent with the cultural changes we need to make to win in this challenging environment.

We established several objectives:
• push the limits on innovation
• position Chicago Tribune to sustain its viability as the trusted source for readers and advertisers
• address changing consumer needs
• save millions of dollars, retain avid readers, and acquire new readers

This team accomplished the unthinkable by:
• creating solutions within a 60-day timeframe
• reinventing almost every page
• convincing readers to remain with us and maintain their readership habit
• generating trial from new readers and continuously improving the product every day
For all this, please join me in congratulating our colleagues listed below for their award winning performance.

Your partner in change,

Tony

FROM THE LATIMES WEBSITE :

L.A. Now, our local breaking news blog, relaunched earlier this week with a new design and a new homepage widget that scrolls through the top 5 posts. You'll see a bolder look and feel, more prominent video placement featuring great stuff from KTLA, aggregated headline feeds from other sites, daily traffic and weather posts from KTLA, new "morning scoop" posts and continuous coverage from our fabulous metro staff. This blog drew 1.6 million page views last month - these improvements should make it even more of a must read:

http://www.latimes.com/lanow

You saw the note from Russ about the Mapping L.A. project - about 24 hours later, there are more than 850 comments from readers, many of them drawing their own maps and having smart, often heated debates about the boundaries of our city's neighborhoods. Check out this piece from KTLA about the project, featuring David Lauter. Here's an excerpt from one comment from a reader who sees where it's all going:

"Giving the readers a place to share their views of the communities like this, to me is fantastic! And if you read more into what this "map" is, you will see that it will be a hell of a lot more than drawing out neighborhood boundary lines. As this "map" develops, it looks to me that it will be place for people to get stories and information about their own neighborhood, their own back yard if you will.... crime reports, schools, city services etc.

Movie reviews got the video treatment this week from our expert voices:
- Betsy Sharkey reviews "Medicine for Melancholy"
- Kenneth Turan on "Moscow, Belgium"

And this audio slide show was embedded on the homepage last night (meaning readers could play it on the homepage), accompanying Scott Gold's most recent Out There piece.


FROM MONTY COOK AT THE BALTIMORE SUN:

I was visiting The Washington Post last week and snapped this image of the entrance way to their lobby (not the greatest photo in the world, mind you).

The point is that it reminded me of your Superbrand push from last spring/summer. That's exactly what The Post has done (it's been on their website that way for awhile), and they're making it part of their public branding strategy. This was being installed last Thursday in their lobby. Each publication of WaPo gets its own signage under a chrome logo "The Washington Post Company," and the hi-res screens will scroll through the company's various websites with realtime looks at what is currently online.

Especially as we push toward the digital world and expanding onto multiple platforms, it's important that we publicly brand ourselves that way; that our audience knows we can reach them on their time and on their medium of choice.

FROM WPIX: (This was ALMOST called "Action Team 11" but we saved it to XIP which graphically with PIX will make sense and be a bit more original)

STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM PARTNERS WITH PIX 11 ON XIP NEWS,
PIX'S FLIP ULTRA VIDEO CAMERA NEWS COLLECTION PROGRAM

PIX's 'XIP News' is 'Flipping It Around' and putting news in the hands of viewers

NEW YORK, N.Y. & STONY BROOK, N.Y., February 23, 2009 - This month, PIX 11, Tribune Broadcasting's New York CW affiliate, introduced XIP NEWS, a student journalism program, with Stony Brook University School of Journalism signing on as the station's first program participant.

Using Flip Ultra video cameras provided by PIX, fourteen broadcast journalism students from Stony Brook University have the opportunity to submit news footage and packages to PIX. Students have been asked to submit breaking news, events, feature packages, community news, college or high school sports (local star athletes) local reaction to events, stories exclusive to the college/campus, or an assigned topic.

"PIX is pleased to offer students the opportunity to participate in the station's XIP News program. By providing Flip video cameras, we are making journalism more accessible and helping broadcast students gain hands-on experience in the industry," said Karen Scott, WPIX News Director.

"Our students are very excited to be part of this program," said Marcy McGinnis, Associate Dean, School of Journalism at Stony Brook University. "This will allow our students to put their newsgathering and producing skills to the test and give them the opportunity to see their work on a professional television broadcast or Web site."

"I think this is a great idea. Journalism is everywhere and you never know when you might bump into something newsworthy," said journalism student, Jessica A. Laforest. "Having these cameras with us 24/7 allows us to function as reporters anytime, anywhere."

Students will receive an audio or visual attribution at the time the footage is published and all participating students will have the opportunity to visit PIX's news studio at the end of the semester and have the opportunity to apply for PIX's station internships.

And from LEXUS:

As most of us are re-inventing ourselves, below is an interesting way Lexus is presenting reinvention. I thought it was strikingly modern, intelligent and hype free to the point where it's more engaging than the typical hard core "sell" thing. And it's a CAR company. Take a look. I believe this is a sort of vibe that's going to resonate more and more in terms of visual/video presentation this century. No exclamation points, no hype...just a direct message

Lee


My Voice Nation Help
0 comments

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...