Itay Hod

How To Save TV News & Why It’s Essential

Posted January 10, 2024
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You may not be aware of it, but the Earth is actually flat.

No one ever landed on the moon. The whole moon landing was part of a massive hoax perpetrated by NASA.

Zionists apparently control the entire US government.

These are but a few of the things I learned by spending a few hours on TikTok. There is much worse, and lots of it. Almost all of it, however, is presented in slick, compelling and ‘well-researched and documented’ videos.

This might be amusing, (might be), but 50% of the US population and an astonishing 83% of those aged 16–30 use social media as their primary source of news and information. TikTok has 1.9 billion users. NBC Nightly News has 5 million viewers; that out of a nation of 340 million people. And, NBC Nightly News’ demographics tend to skew old while TikTok is the voice, or rather the educational source of the next generation.

The problem is not limited to TikTok, though that is bad enough. Other social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram’s newsfeeds are driven by algorithms that feed the viewer/user with ‘news’ that tends to reinforce their innate beliefs. Thus, the ‘news feed’ that you receive is vastly different from the newsfeed that I receive or that your neighbor receives, or that someone in Texas or California receives. Thus, their perception of the world and of world events; of the truth, is vastly different though eminently believable.

Social media is one of the primary reasons that the country is so badly divided. We may live in the same country but increasingly we are living on different planets.

There are, of course, a few very dependable news sources available — institutions with long and deep traditions of excellent and honest journalism. Good journalism takes work, it takes research, it takes finding and checking credible sources, it takes a commitment to accuracy.

But there is no point in making all the effort to craft truthful and honest reporting if no one was watching it. And this would, sadly, seem to be the case. Look at the numbers from NBC Nightly, for example. 5 million viewers, less than 2% of the country.

There is a solution, however, and the answer lies not in flashing more ‘BREAKING NEWS’ logos across the screen, nor in changing the set or the desk or in hiring younger anchors. The answer, actually, is right there on the same screens that deliver the news — the screens that everyone else is watching.

Netflix delivers.

While a meagre 5 million people are watching NBC Nightly News, 73 million people in the US are watching Netflix, and paying for it. What makes Netflix so compelling and NBC News not so compelling? It’s not the content — it’s the storytelling. That is, it is the way that the stories are structured. Netflix stories are told in classic Hollywood style- character, arc of story, resolution. This has been the foundation of compelling storytelling since the bible- just read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

But what happens when you marry those classic great storytelling concepts to actual hard journalism and real facts and research?

That is exactly what we have been doing with several news networks over the past few years — losing the traditional reporter stand-up, the ‘man on the street soundbite’, the b-roll and the interview and instead replacing it with actual people in real news situations, but crafted in a much more compelling package — News meets Netflix.

What happens is that audience engagement skyrockets and so do the ratings. It works.

There is no reason that TV news and journalism have be presented in the same way that they have been presented since 1958. A new kind of TV news for a new and far more sophisticated audience.

Here’s an example of a TV news story done in this way. This piece was reported, shot, scripted, edited and produced by Itay Hod, then a reporter for Spectrum News 1 in LA, and now a reporter for KPIX, the CBS station in San Francisco. It was all done on an iPhone, by the way. Take a look and tell me what you think.


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The old news mantra — if it bleeds, it leads has been replaced by if it’s gross, adios. The prospect of a news-free electorate is terrifying.

The news business is in trouble. In the past decade, more than 2400 local newspapers have closed. NBC Nightly News gets 5 million viewers per night, in a nation of 340 million people, so most people are not watching. What are they watching? Netflix.

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