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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Producers

Drawing in a Specific Audience

A newscast is only as good as its content. As lead producer, it's my job to highlight the biggest, most relevant stories in order to draw in ATVN's specific demographic, college students around the age of 20.

In Tuesday's newscast, I decided to kick off the show with Republican primary candidate Rick Santorum's announcement to suspend his campaign after the announcement was made in the middle of the day. Although this information was known several hours before our newscast at 6 p.m., many people were unaware of what his decision meant for the GOP elections.

I decided to dig deeper within the story and not only get the reactions of Santorum's competitors, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, but to interview a political campaign expert to put this decision into perspective for ATVN's viewers who may or may not be politically savvy.

Another element I knew would be of interest to ATVN's demographic was the Dodgers home opener, 50th anniversary of Dodger stadium, and the heightened security at the game based on last year's beating that left a Giants fan critically injured.

We were able to localize the story even further by talking to DPS Captain David Carlisle about the safety measures that are taken here at USC during events involving large crowds.

By localizing a story and getting either USC students or staff members involved in the newscast, it creates a larger interest in the show as a whole. Broadcast news viewers need to know, above all else, why they should care about a story.

Providing the facts alone isn't enough to keep the audience from changing the channel. As lead producer, I have to remember who the audience is and create a newscast that draws them in, and keeps them interested.

However, content alone won't keep the audience tuned in; when I was reading over the teases I wrote just before the show aired at 6, I realized the way I worded my last supertease turned me off as a viewer and I knew I needed to change it.

The beauty of broadcast journalism is that video, sound, writing, and overall content come together to draw in a specific demographic. It is a producer's job to utilize all of these elements, and their news judgment to decide what will be the most effective way to keep our demographic watching until the credits roll at 6:29:30 p.m.

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