WXYZ in Detroit has created unique and authentic promos approved by the anchors. “I was very, very pleased with the result,” one says.
“Real promos. Nothing scripted or staged.”
When Phil Wrobel used these words to describe examples of new spots from WXYZ Detroit, it got my attention. Wrobel is the creative services director for the E.W. Scripps ABC affiliate.
What are the elements needed to create “real” news promos, unique and authentic in a way that connects with viewers? And how did Wrobel pull off it off?
A sit down with your anchors for a conversation about their jobs is a good start, he says.
The promos are for WXYZ’s main anchors, Dave LewAllen and Carolyn Clifford.
LewAllen and Clifford are native Detroiters who grew up watching the news on WXYZ.
Both have a combined 55 years of experience at the station: LewAllen, 35 years, and Clifford, 20.
They know the city, have been on the streets reporting, plus they have a real commitment to community organizations. Surely, they have something to say. Let them say it from the heart.
Wrobel says the location to interview LewAllen “was probably the hardest place to shoot ever. His hometown diner around the corner from his house.”
And they shot it during lunch.
“Waiters and waitresses and everybody walking around, and he is just sitting there talking and it was phenomenal,” Wrobel says.
For Clifford’s interview, Wrobel chose a place he knew Clifford would be comfortable, Beyond Basics, a nonprofit where she mentors kids.
“She has helped this literacy program for years and years and she just loves that place,” Wrobel says.
Clifford says she wasn’t sure “what we were going to do there. But they asked about what I do in the community and why it is important for me. Asked us questions and let us speak from our heart. It was off -the-cuff. I like that.”
Wrobel thinks the anchor role is different at WXYZ with “our anchors going out turning stories week after week, which by the way is not that easy to pull off.” Especially when you anchor three newscasts a day.
“So, I went back and I looked at stories that they have done in the community,” Wrobel says. He says while looking at those stories, he got the idea to reach out to some of the people featured in them.
“I called them,” Wrobel says. “I said: ‘Listen, I am just a promotion manager here. I saw your story, would you be able to talk about your experience working with Caroline or Dave?’ I wanted this to be people helped or benefited from the stories that the anchors did.”
The promos star real people featured in actual news stories who can say in their own words what it means to see news anchors covering stories in the community. That’s another element to making a unique and authentic message about your station’s coverage.
And here’s another: If you want to make a real news promo, show actual footage of your people working a story.
“All that video is from stories we have done over the last couple of years,” LewAllen says.
Wrobel says they looked through LewAllen’s and Clifford’s reporting stories, “for over a year, week in, week out. We save all that video. Any of the B-roll, we will save it.”
This is time consuming stuff, wading through hours of footage to find just the right shots.
Wrobel took all the elements he had — anchor interviews, testimonials from real people and actual clips of LewAllen and Clifford out in the community — and weaved them together carefully to tell a story in 60 seconds.
“When I saw it, I was very pleased with the look, with the feel, what Phil and his team was able to put together,” LewAllen says.
“I really liked it because I thought it was genuine,” Clifford says. “I have never seen promos like that before. To make it from the heart. I like things from the heart, genuine, and I felt it was both of those things.”
New Jobs Posted To TVNewsCheck
CLICK HERE to see new jobs posted to TVNewsCheck’s Media Job Center including openings for an engineering director, a sales director, two local sales managers, an executive producer, a morning anchor and an anchor/reporter.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.