Presidential primaries are a lot like television shows.
You roll out your pilots, and the ones that rate get commissioned. The ones that don’t rate die.
The Chris Dodd Show, for example, does not rate.
Neither does The Joe Biden Show.
So they’re off the air.
But The Obama Hour and now The Hillary Comeback are rating pretty well.
And they’re rating in that all important demographic 18-24.
Local news does not rate well. And it does terribly in the young demo. In fact, most young people don’t give a rat’s ass about local news. That’s not because local news is not important. It’s because we have not made the effort to make local news relevant to young viewers.
We don’t care.
We have a certain arrogance about attracting younger viewers. We have a kind of ‘take it or leave it’ attitude to young viewers, or for that matter, viewers who don’t want to watch us. ‘If you don’t want to watch what we are offering, then don’t’.
With that kind of attitude you end up rating like Tom Tancredo.
In elections we understand the ‘get out the vote’ approach. And we understand shifting the message to attract a new and younger demo. It seems to have worked for Obama in Iowa and it worked so well that Hillary jumped on the ‘Change’ bandwagon in New Hampshire to catch some of the fire. She is no dope.
Ratings and elections are cut from the same cloth. Its a vote. And in local news, there is a whole massive body of non-voters, ie, people who just don’t watch local news, no matter which station. They are the majority. In fact, in some markets, they represent close to 90 percent of the total population.
What kind of candidate ignores 90 percent of the voters and wins?
Obama enraptured new and young voters. He did it by offering something new. Hillary captured the women’s vote in New Hampshire by ‘being human’, or at least appearing to be so.
Can we do the same in local news. Can we reinvent ourselves to be more ‘real’?
Isn’t it time for a change in the news business?
Can we Obamaize our news to attract an army of young followers?
Lose the ties and have anchors read with open necked shirts.
Lose the forced and over-written scripts and let the reporters be more natural and relaxed?
Move from ‘confrontational’ news (fire, theft, murder) to news that is more community and inclusive and hopeful? (Call it the Facebooking of news- its about the Community).