Regular substance on local TV

I trash local TV news a lot, for obvious reasons, but I know you get good reporting there sometimes.

The trick for local TV is to find ways to deliver substantive information on a regular basis, not just dramatic substance, as in the investigative stuff they do, but the run-of-the-mill information that citizens need to function in a democracy.

That’s why I like regular features like Denver’s KCNC (Channel 4) “Good Question,” which I mentioned briefly in my last column.

Here’s more from KCNC anchor Alan Gionet (his response to my emailed questions) about the feature:

Hi Jason, 
    We do them as time allows.  Good Question is what we call a “franchise.”    It’s my full-time assignment when I’m not anchoring.  There are only a few exceptions when they need me to fill a regular reporting role. 
   Videographer Steve Fedoriska and I are a team.  He’s a very talented young gun and we try to figure out ways to impart information that is outside the box.  Sometimes we’ll just sit there and try to figure out how to creatively tell a story and say, “That just might work.”  I think viewers pretty much know the formula they often get with overly-consulted TV.  It can get like rote.  The advent of the internet requires us to change that.  
     I always assume the viewer is intelligent enough to know the basics, so we don’t waste their time.  My rule is, “Tell ’em something they don’t know.”   We try to answer the question we design – or that a viewer suggests, rather than leave it open ended.  I try to put myself in the place of the viewer and think what it is they really want to ask.  That’s not always the most delicate question.
   We meet some fantastically intelligent people and go to places like NCAR, NREL and the National Ice Core Lab.    It’s been a lot of fun refining the franchise as we go along and I really am appreciative to Tim Wieland for designing and supporting it and putting Steve and I together.   I’m one of the people in television news who truly loves his job.  After 20 years in the business, that’s a great thing to be able to say.
Let me know if I can be of any additional help. 

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