Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dialing for News: My Take

Have you ever gone out to dinner, and realized you filled up on bread long before your meal came out? That feeling sums up my first impression of Dialing for News - or more formally, WYOU's "interactive" newscasts.

Where's the news?

The 11 p.m. show only had six news stories in the first block. Here's some voice overs, a soundbite, and a package about local students reacting to Katie Couric. Honestly, I felt cheated. Were those the only stories WYOU covered, or rewrote from WBRE's rundowns? Come on!


Gone are the days where you had to wait until the end of the block for your weather...WYOU is throwing it at you STRAIGHT FROM THE GET-GO! And it's a good idea. Many studies will tell you that weather is the number one reason why people watch local news. Of course, if half of Scranton suddenly catches fire, I would hope WYOU lets "No Wait Weather" wait for a few minutes.

Having viewers e-mail their weather-related pictures is also a good idea. Plenty of stations do this already, and it brings in more viewers, espcially those hoping to see the picture of the basketball-sized hail impacted in their Corvette's hood.


The interview segments about Katie Couric were too long, and too boring. I realize Eric Scheiner isn't grilling a politician here, but "What did you think?" is as exciting a question as "White or wheat bread with your sandwich?" Rather than a glorified man-on-the-street interview, I'd rather see WYOU bring in local newsmakers and grill them on particular subjects.

How about relevant people to speak with? The communications professor was a decent stab, but the other two - whom I believe were business owners - had nothing to say other than "Katie Couric is a woman making strides." I'll tell you who WYOU should have brought in on the panel: Debbie Dunleavy.

The callers were somewhat predictable: "I like Katie," "Go Katie," "Whee Katie!" No duh. The highlights were Scheiner cutting off the talkative "Rose," and the self-described octogenarian who likely grew up watching Tom Powell and the Million Dollar Movie.


I realize this is only the first day of Dialing for can only work with what you have, and it takes a while for new things to get running. But after watching tonight, I'm just not impressed. The local news content was thin, and the roundtable discussion made lumpy oatmeal seem appealing. Remember, if you take the news out of a newscast, you've got nothing to offer.

But to be fair, it's too early to not give Dialing for News a chance.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This show concept has potential, but it's certainly not for anyone looking for news of the day. A few short news stories doesn't do it.

The interview/phone call segments could work, but WYOU should realize by now you don't need more than one guest if the segement is going to be as short as those tonight. My advice, lose the extra guests or add some minutes in the rundown.

The biggest mistake is making viewers wait for the heavily promoted "No Wait Weather." We found out tonight that weather could start as late as four minutes into the show. That's not "No Wait."

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have watched the 11pm newscast. To me the set seems like its way too distracting, especially, the glass table with the metal bars. They also have way too much light in the studio which makes it an eyesore to watch at times. The full screens and graphics are way too wordy, and the audio seemed to be a bit scratchy for some reason.

The format seems to skip around. It starts out with a split screen and goes right to the weather and then to the news block which *IS* just five minutes. After the first break comes, the Roundtable Discussion (WYOU Interactive) begins. Basically they just keep looping video endlessly while the Anchors seem to be struggling to keep up as if they infinitely had only 10 seconds to go! After the second break its weather for the entire block. Instead of the sports block comes a second Roundtable Discussion where they are still discussion the SAME topic as they were doing earlier in the program. Its like walking down the street only to be suddenly catapulted back up the street again.

Oh, the rumor that they were doing away with the sports segment on weekdays is apparently true. It was nowhere to be found during tonight's program. If something is going to kill WYOU's ratings, it will be the lack of a sports block. They should just dim the eye burning lights down a bit and replace the 2nd Roundtable segment with a sports block and then things will hopefully work out. I am wondering how the idea of ditching sports went with the focus group.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

howie baby,
WYOU didn't have anything to offer to begin with.
Ya know, for me, the thing just doesn't work unless they go more interactive. Internet-based. Their web could enhance what they're trying to do...but no. And shiner, the guy's "fairly new" i'll take it easy on him. but grossklaus could solo like couric and i wouldn't complain.
go back to NH

1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I, the viewer, only care about the weather, then WYOU gives me no reason to stay tuned past the first few minutes. Otherwise, I believe the show has potential, but I think the problem is that they are trying to cram too many different things into a half an hour and not doing justice to any of them.

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the 5, 6, and 6:30 shows. Yes, shows because that's what I felt they were.

If it's all about YOU then why not deal with issues having to do with ME. Not specificially I know but come on. I know the number to call. It's on the screen stationary and scrolling. You're announcing it every minute. Stick to some topics.

Katie started strong. The Lara Logan piece was good. The rest, well, lets say the Lara Logan piece was good.

Overall, day 1 first impressions.
A disappointment. YOU won't hook the viewers if they don't show news. If they're going to spend so long chatting they need another show for the news.

Less than 2 weeks until 28 makes changes as well. Can't wait to see stories about Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre only.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give it time kiddies.

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Ollie said...

Howard - good point on the older guy from Exeter I believe...when that older man came on I said to myself "oh no, here we go" and then he made me laugh when he said "I don't really like this new format". I openly chuckled and said aloud "Get some call screeners dammit!" That killed the show in my opinion. I chuckled again, and turned over and shut my TV off.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A tremendous interactive effort... It's Wednesday morning and the last news story on the web site is from Friday.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles Osgood had it right:

"Powerful are those who choose
The items that make up the news.
And yet, in spite of all that power,
It's much like singing in the shower.
For it is clear from card and letter
That you all think you could do it better."

At least WYOU is putting time, effort and a little money into trying to be better.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We watched the new YOU format... It looks like "Meet the Press" married the Weather Channel. REALLY PRETTY AWFUL. The folks at WNEP must be loving this one.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched WYOU at 11 and hated it. Is this why Nexstar thinned out an entire news team, fired Vince and Jason and forced Sid to quit? It makes my stomach thump violently.

A top-down look... headlines are fine, but it's only after you watch the interactive portions that you realize more headlines are needed to cover the lack of interesting cross-fire between anchor and guest.

I didn't get any good vibe from weather; just that it was overplayed.

I couldn't stand how the show seemed to come undone at the seams when they continued to rerack the same Couric video over and over... that's a clear lack of planning. Did someone forget to tell the editor we'd be talking about Katie for six minutes... get enough of the stuff to at least roll :30 before having to rerack.

The entire experience left a sour taste in my mouth only because I know how they justified paying for this shit.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why but the show looked like something WVIA would have produced...

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The panel and call-in segment is a train wreck. They spend way too much time on it. People want to hear the news. Why spend 10 minutes talking about real estate? Whoever decided to use this format is completely clueless.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why but the show looked like something WVIA would have produced...

That bad, eh?

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a thought: maybe at the end of every newswcast Candice can subtly tug on an earlobe as a way of saying "Hi" to John Dittmeier.

"I'm so glad we had this time together..."

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diane Lee did the smart thing by leaving WYOU. The new format is a disaster. Do they actually think that they will get more viewers? What a mess.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know ratings aren't measured week to week and WYOU really isn't even being rated, but... I think they drew in more viewers these past few days than in years. Hey, I guess its a success for today... how about tomorrow?

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Phil Rizzuto...

If you want to see a topic covered, why don't you call or email them ? Instead of whining about it on an irrlevant INTERACTIVE website. It's not like the phone number isn't shown all the time.

Anyone else see the irony in people bashing the new (and interesting) format based on viewer interaction on an INTERACTIVE website ? Hypocrites.

Calling the format a "disaster" sounds like something a former WYOU weekend anchor would say. But he (or she) is just plain bitter and has nothing better to do with time other than consider bealesbites as the know-all, end-all of area media.

Speaking of, why not just re-name this blog "wyoubites" ? The station that no one allegedly watches dominates the blogs and reactions here. Again, hypocrites showing thier colors.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

Speaking of, why not just re-name this blog "wyoubites" ? The station that no one allegedly watches dominates the blogs and reactions here.

As of late, WYOU has been making news among media watchers in this market...

1. The station lost its primary anchorwoman.
2. The sports director jumped ship.
3. The station totally revamped its newscast with a new format.
4. The GM/VP was canned or quit.

That's all in the span of less than a month. It's got people talking, and it's worth noting. Besides, if I didn't mention any of this, I'm sure the folks on Montage Mountain would brand me a Nexstar shill. Maybe I should just focus on WNEP until the folks on South Franklin Street call me a WNEP shill, so things even out?

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4. The GM/VP was canned or quit.

WHOA! Dittmeier was fired, FIRED. In fact, he got the full humiliation treatment - corporate, AKA Tim Busch, stood over him while he cleaned out his desk, he was then escorted out of the building. And Sid's jumping ship may not be the most accurate way of putting it.

Sid was essentially told he was going back to weekends(and maybe part-time), so it's more of a "forced-out" situation. Lee's hand was also forced, because their crap contract offer made it clear they didn't care whether she walked or not. Whoever has a contract due any time soon should be peeing their pants, the end may be near.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did Eric get those ear lobes? OMG! And I thought Mike L. had elf ears. Doesn't anyone watch the resume air checks?

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:32 PM

Why so upset? I just gave my opinion. You do not have to be so bitter. (Perhaps you were fired or did not get a job at WYOU?)

I am trying to give WYOU a chance but to spend 10 minutes talking about 1 topic, for me, is a waste of time. I would rather stories from throughout the region.

If WYOU wants an interative format maybe they should also be on at 5:30 to allow more discussion.

WYOU's new format is the news of the day. What else do you want to talk about? WNEP's new personalities? Political races? Why don't you tell us what we should be talking about?

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they could start doing "exclusive" interviews of the day's top newsmakers, sort of like Katie's "exclusive" interview of the prez the other day? Or maybe get an "exclusive" comment or two from Lynn Swann or the Penn State football coach, what's his name?

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and the free advertising a certain law firm gets is truly appealing.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For this to be truly interactive, WYOU needs to step up its online site. The current site doesn't come close to cutting it. We need to see message boards (a la Talkback 16 Online), live chat, more sophisticated polling and links to related Web sites and more details about the stories.

I'm not quite sure how you can claim to be "interactive" when you're only posting new items a day (half obviously copied from the rundown AND TYPED IN ALL CAPS).

10:21 PM  

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