How to be an active anchor in today’s local media landscape
In a recent article Magid published on maintaining a trusted brand in local media, we discussed the vital role an active anchor plays in building and maintaining trust with consumers. As a follow-up, let’s dive deeper and take a closer look at what it means to be an active anchor in today’s local media landscape.
Timely, accurate information
Viewers trust local news to give them the information they need, when they need it. Reliability should be the pulse of local news coverage, no matter the medium, and reinforced everywhere. In natural disasters like Hurricane Florence, broadcasters work through the storms and keep the locals aware of imminent danger. And in a time when we see more willingness from consumers to pay for premium content, local newspapers lowered paywalls to their sites, giving readers unrestricted access during the storm. These actions build trust with consumers. They know they’re getting accurate reporting from a reliable source when they need it the most.
On the flip side, when newscasters are seen as inauthentic or unreliable, viewers see that and call that out too. This was clearly demonstrated by the backlash that followed the viral video of a weatherman who appeared to be faking a battle with the wind during Hurricane Florence.
The key is helping viewers create a stronger connection to the information through someone they trust. News consumers can get timely information on social platforms like Twitter, but they opt for local news because the local perspective is brought to them by an anchor they know and like. That connection will likely strengthen if that anchor is taking ownership of the story by reporting in the field. Today’s active anchor must be willing to be incredibly involved in the newsgathering process and must be fully engaged when delivering the content.
Engaging storytelling, investigative reporting
We’ve established that based on recent Magid proprietary insights, local broadcasters are seen as the most accurate and trustworthy source for news. To continue to build credibility, broadcasters need to provide consistent content that consumers care about, and meet them where they’re at.
Active anchors start conversations and provide perspective. Often, anchors and reporters shy away from taking a stance on an issue for fear of being too subjective – having an opinion is taboo. But viewers are continuing to tell us they expect active, engaged anchors to stand up for them, to have their backs. Sometimes this requires anchors to take a side – the viewer’s side. Not every story requires this kind of action, but it’s important to seek out these opportunities and provide context, perspective, and relevance whenever possible.
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