Orlando TV news director tells staff to name newsroom ‘battery drainers’

Memo to WMKG (Orlando) news staff

I’m in the process of finalizing the plans for our “Newsroom Summit” and thought I’d give you a few details. First, our “off site” meeting is now “on site”. We will meet here at the station in Studio B. I think we have been able to schedule this as a work day for most of you, so you will still get two days off next week. I want to save a few things as surprises, but here are some basics you need to know:

THE GOAL: To enrich each employee with information and tools you need to succeed in this changing business

DATE: Saturday, April 17th

TIME: 9:00am – 4:00pm Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

DRESS: Very casual. Shorts and T-shirts are OK, but keep in mind we will be in the usually chilly Studio B for much of the day.

WHAT TO BRING: Paper and pen. You’ll definitely need to take notes. And fair warning: There will be a test!

One of the most important things you need to do is to show up on time. I know this is a tough turnaround for the night team. It is imperative that you are on time. We will be closing the doors and turning people away who show up late. You don’t want to be that person.

HOMEWORK: Yes, I need you to do some things in preparation for this meeting. The good news is that it’s fairly easy. I need you each to do three things:

1) WHAT MAKES BAD TV NEWS? E-mail me a list of things that make for bad TV news. Examples can be cliche’s used in writing, sensational writing, video not referenced, jump cuts, etc. What are some of the things you see all the time on our air or on someone else’s air that makes for poor stories and poor presentation. I would like at least 5 bullet points or more from each of you before Tuesday, April 13th. Everyone needs to do this.

2) VOTE FOR THE “BATTERY CHARGERS”. Who in the newsroom is a positive influence on what we do every day? Who has a strong work ethic? Who makes solid contributions to the newsroom and our news product. On a small piece of paper list out your top three “battery chargers” in the newsroom. Fold the paper and drop it into the “battery chargers” box in my office. Do not vote for yourself and do not vote for managers (no jokes please J). Your votes are anonymous. Everyone needs to do this. This is important: Only drop your choice in the box when Yolanda is present so she can mark you as “voted”.

3) VOTE FOR THE “BATTERY DRAINERS”. That’s right. Who in the newsroom is often a negative influence on what we do? Who has a poor work ethic? Who makes little positive contribution to the newsroom and our news product. Same drill. Write/type three names on a piece of paper and drop it into the “battery drainers” box in my office. Everyone must vote. Your votes are anonymous. I also need to ask that everyone use the honor system and put real names of real people in our newsroom. No “Porky Pig” or “Howard Stern”.

I think you’ll find what we do at the Summit to be interesting and educational. Many people in our newsroom are working hard to make this a worthwhile day for all of you. I hope you will bring a sense of passion for the business and a positive outlook.

Thanks, Steve

Steve Hyvonen
News Director
WKMG Orlando

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