Frost Advisory #447 – The Problem With Breaking News

All media is in the business of getting people’s attention. Yes, even your radio station. Tune-ins. Clicks. Time spent listening.

One way is to SHOCK people. This is now the norm with the BREAKING NEWS graphics on our 2-hour news channels.

The other way is to take the time to build trust.

The problem with “shocking” is that it eventually loses its impact. And shocking eventually loses trust.

“69% of U.S. adults… say their trust in the news media has decreased in the past decade.”

The Gallup organization

“If a newspaper came out once every 50 years, it would not report half a century of celebrity gossip and political scandals. It would report momentous global changes such as the increase in life expectancy. Plane crashes always make the news, but car crashes, which kill far more people, almost never do. Not surprisingly, many people have a fear of flying, but almost no one has a fear of driving.”

Stephen Pinker, “The Guardian”

I wonder what your listeners are saying.

"I don't want my day to start out so negative, but there is a lot of good that happens every day."

"Life can be very negative.  Instead of dwelling on the negative it's nice to be encouraged."

Our stations have the opportunity to tell a better story, one not designed to shock people into paying attention, but designed to fill hearts with hope and to build trust.

We can tell the story that there are good things happening in the world and that people do care about each other. Those are things you’ll never hear on a Breaking News alert, but they are true, and they last beyond the current news cycle.

John Frost

About John Frost

John has been a successful major market DJ and PD for such companies as CBS, Gannett, Cap Cities, Westinghouse, Multimedia, and Sandusky and publishes the Frost Advisory.

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