Friday, 14 August 2009
There are more wannabes than ever, there are more episodes than ever and, if the papers are right, Madonna and Robbie Williams are involved this year.
What is it - well, it has to be X Factor.
It's back from 22 August and I'm delighted to be returning to the world of Entertainment Journalism to help bring unique coverage to Real Radio.
Simon's big brother, Tony Cowell is to be Real's X Factor correspondent for the show's run.
Who better to give the inside scoops than the man who knows the head judge better than anyone else on the planet?!
Tony will attend the live X Factor shows and report into the Real Breakfast Shows twice a week, on Fridays and Mondays.
The concept was put together by Tony, his radio agent Global Radio News and myself.
Its going to be quite a series of X Factor this year and I'm delighted we've been able to bring a Cowell to Real Radio!
Thursday, 13 August 2009
It's been another day of free tips on my Twitter site @newsleader
This time, I concentrated on advice to cover breaking news effectively.
Thanks to those twitterers who contributed their own tips. So..............
Balance the desire to break news quickly with the need for accuracy.
Use your listeners as reporters, appeal for anyone who's seen something to call or send pictures/videos WITHOUT endangering themselves.
BUT treat eyewitness calls with caution. You need to avoid misinformation and speculation.
RT @mightyscoop confirmation from more than one source goes a long way to helping provide an accurate account.
Deal with facts. What do you know for sure? Recap and update these facts on air regularly
RT @LouEaston team communication is key, every half hr check you r working together effectively, also helps to keep people calm!
A dramatic story shouldn't be sensationalised. You'll be thanked by the listener for a more reassuring approach.
RT @johnco the more local you are to the story, the less it should be sensationalised. Listeners will be intimately involved.
Assure listeners that they'll hear the latest on your station....give "stay tuned" messages.
Get basic facts and any helpline numbers on your website home page asap. Direct listeners here.
johnco@newsleader know how to put audio and video onto your station's site and make sure you do it when you're breaking news.
Your role is to make sense of a confused situation. Scripts need to be clear and straightforward.
A reporter's first job at the scene is to make contact with key players and make sense of what's happening.
Are your reporters Press Passes up to date? Check now.
Have a breaking news procedure, make sure everyone knows it and knows their role.
Print your procedure on mousemats or news room posters = visable reminders.
RT @ollybarratt at scene of bnews, actually ask Qs & dig around. too many radio journos think being there's enough so no new info
The station's PD, news ed and MD/Sales Director should meet regularly during breaking news. (In the case of a disaster ads may have to be dropped.)
RT @DavidGrundy Have a plan involving clearly defined roles for the whole station. Use non news staff to man phones etc.
Its sure to be a long, challenging day. Enlist a non-news worker to organise regular drinks and order finger food dinner eg pizza.
If you r continuing to play music, a producer should double check playlists to ensure inappropriate songs aren't being played.
In an emergency, some listeners will be v upset and will call just to talk. Its worth training a core team of staff to deal with this.
Is it something your local Samaritans branch could help with?
Yes you need to deal with the story for immediate broadcast but don't forget preparations for tomorrow breakfast.
Be sure of health and safety considerations for reporters. These should be your primary concern before dispatching to the scene.
RT @emmagilliam make sure someone is monitoring other outlets. Have ROTs over as much as poss. If comm, share material
Have u got your newsroom computer software in the on-air studio? It will enable a journalist/co-presenter to access scripts/wires.
Test the news and programming teams readiness with a simulation exercise. Someone like, er, @newsleader can help!
After an exceptional effort by the team, congratulate your colleagues on a job well done. Eds - say THANK YOU!
RT @emmagilliam news ed? Try to remember who went the extra mile and who showed previously undetected talent potential.
(Pic courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
There are too few heroes in commercial radio news. But, Brian Shallcross was one of them.
I received the sad, sad news of his death earlier this afternoon. He'd been suffering from cancer.
A political correspondent on TV and radio for more than thirty years you could tell how connected and how respected Brian was as you strolled the hallowed corridors of the Commons with him. MPs would greet him with a smile or a wink, “Hello Brian, I haven’t forgotten about our interview later” I’d hear them say.
My team of young journalists in the Capital Radio Group, later GCap Media, respected him too. Hugely. It might have been because of his knowledge and great sense for sniffing out stories. Or, perhaps it was his limitless energy and enthusiasm. Then again, maybe it was because despite his vast experience, he remained an approachable, good humoured and thoroughly lovely man.
One of my fondest memories of Brian was at the Capital Radio News Conferences about five years ago (there was a bit more money around then!) Surrounded by the journalists who loved him, he played an active part in sessions by day and acted as unofficial photographer by night. Brian sent me many pictures but only one of himself from the conferences and I’ve published it here. This is how I will remember Brian, as a happy man.
He was happy doing his job, all his colleagues knew that. But family was the other love of his life. As well as political correspondent, Brian was a husband, father and grandfather. During the Capital days we’d often discuss family over lunch and a bottle (or two) of wine. I remember asking him for advice when I became a dad. My heartfelt thoughts go out to Brian’s family at this time.
I’d encourage you to leave your own tributes below and if you were lucky enough to work with Brian, why not raise a glass of red to him tonight? Raise a glass and celebrate the life of one of commercial radio news’ few heroes and a true gentleman.
We'll miss you Brian.