Women’s concerns are news, and KOKI Tulsa is leaning into that. “What matters to women belongs on local TV news” says Michelle Linn, KOKI anchor and reporter.
In September, Michelle Linn, the morning news anchor for KOKI, Imagicomm Communications Fox affiliate in Tulsa, Okla., began a weekly news series covering stories about issues that matter to women.
The suggestion came from KOKI’s news director, Rudy Murrieta.
Linn says the more she thought about it, the more excited she got. “I thought this really isn’t any different than what I am doing now because I was pitching stories that interested me as a mom,” Linn says.
She anchors KOKI’s morning news from 4 to 9 and has been at KOKI for nearly 13 years. Linn says she’s raised four kids in Tulsa and “feels invested in the community.”
She took a couple weeks to develop a list of story ideas, some based on what her friends were talking about, and emailed them to Murrieta.
Some of the story ideas she suggested was the gender wage gap in Oklahoma; why Oklahoma is ranked as one of the worst states for women; a profile of the first female president of a public university in Oklahoma; women’s sexual health; missing and murdered indigenous women (the murder rate for native women is three times higher than that of White women); a women’s tackle football team; and trends in birthing and maternal mortality.
Murrieta was on board and got the series started with a graphics package, email for viewers to share ideas and a dedicated page on the station’s website.
But the series needed a title.
Linn says she went back and forth with promotions about the title. She suggested “On Her Side,” because she wanted to show what women are advocating and bring those issues to the attention of viewers.
Afraid that title might sound too opinionated or divisive, promotions suggested, “On Her Mind.”
“I liked that because I really am covering issues that women are thinking about,” Linn says.
The first “On Her Mind” story was about the gender pay gap between men and women.
“It was funny because I got a huge response from men,” she says. “I am still getting feedback on that.”
Linn’s “On Her Mind” segments air once an hour on Wednesday’s morning news and during KOKI’s later newscasts between 9 to 10:30. Linn says KOKI is planning to air 30-minute specials to replace some newscasts over the holidays.
Linn says stories focused on what matters to women “belongs on local TV news because they are stories that my friends and I have been talking about, or subjects that have popped up on my Facebook feed.”
Her friends have told Linn they want to see more about women’s issues on local news.
“It is nice to hear that people still see the value in local news.” Linn says.
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