A news producer at WKMG Orlando, Fla., gets involved to help a homeless teen receive a full scholarship. “I will do it again tomorrow for somebody and nobody might ever know about it. It’s just what we do here. We do little things to try to help somebody all the time. That’s just what we do. I love working here. It was an exceptional day.”
A teenager who was homeless for much of his senior year in high school, and often had to walk 20 miles just to get to school, received a full scholarship to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, in part because of a story by Graham Media’s WKMG, the CBS affiliate in Orlando, Fla.
I was alerted to this story by Kym Peoples, WKMG’s marketing director, after she had read a Market Share post.
“I read your article on a Powerful Case for The Positive Power of TV News,” wrote Peoples, “and knew you would love the story I have to show you. My team put this mini-doc together and I think it will give you an amazing look at what an incredible story this is and the positive power of TV News.”
We’ll get to that video in a minute, but first, a little back story.
Tara Evans produces WKMG’s new morning news program, News 6 at Nine, which launched in June. She heard about a young man, Savohn Thomas, a homeless teen, who got an initial scholarship to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, a school that, coincidentally, she herself had attended.
“I was immediately intrigued. I insisted on setting up a story for my feature reporter for my show and so we met and we interviewed Savohn.”
But that wasn’t enough for Evans. She wanted to do more for Thomas so she reached out to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
“So I did some digging because I graduated there in 2007. Obviously, it’s been a little while and I realized one of the girls I graduated with works there so I reached out to her.”
Evans forwarded Thomas’ story to the right people at the school, imploring them to help Thomas.
And the school did, giving Thomas a four-year scholarship worth $140,000.
And the school told Evans that she deserved much of the credit.
They told her “when you did his story and forwarded it to us, we knew we needed to do more. So it was pretty much because of you and I was like, that’s pretty cool yeah. And so that was it. You know, news isn’t always rewarding, but this was a really great, really great day.”
Here is the video that Kym Peoples first sent to me.
Tara Evans wants to stress that the video was intended to be internal to WKMG, and that she’s not seeking the limelight. The story was just an example of how the station gets results.
“I will do it again tomorrow for somebody and nobody might ever know about it. It’s just what we do here. We do little things to try to help somebody all the time. That’s just what we do. I love working here. It was an exceptional day.”
NOTE: Helping people. What if local TV news organizations made that the focus of one newscast or a part of their regular newscasts.
Positive “feel good” stories of people who need and get help. Viewers complain all the time that there’s too much bad news. TV stations have tremendous power and reach to help individual people.
And TV stations already post positive, inspirational stories all the time to Facebook, why not make it a regular feature of their news?
I searched through every Market Share column I’ve written, almost 2,000 of them, and found dozens that focused on upbeat news stories.
Here are just a few videos from those upbeat stories.
"Halloween is just a day when we can just stop looking at the actual wheelchair and look at the boy in the costume."
Posted by ABC 7 Chicago on Thursday, October 27, 2016
If I owned a car dealership in town, I would ask every TV station to find me someone who needs and deserves a nice used car. What better way to advertise your business than to help someone in the community?
Here are a few instances: