It would be naive to think that 13-19 year olds watch the news at ten; hard and analytical news consumption is not to their taste. In a report published by investment bank Morgan Stanley, and written by a 15-year old intern, it was pointed out that most teenagers do not regularly read a newspaper, and that TV consumption is down due to online services such as the BBC iPlayer. Moreover, the report notes that teenagers are interested in sport and TV shows, not the news.
The idea of The Lowdown is simple. We will drop complicated analyses of complex situations, and bring teenagers the news and issues that matter to them, nationally and internationally, on TV and online. News shouldn’t just be informative, it should also be entertaining and engaging. Essentially, we will give teenagers the lowdown in terms of the day’s most important news that relates to them, not too dissimilar from BBC Three’s late night news bulletin, but lasting longer than their broadcast time of one minute. The Lowdown will also add social media to its portfolio, taking advantage of websites such as Facebook and Twitter to both promote our shows, and interact with our audience. There is little doubt these websites are popular with teenagers, and they will ultimately increase traffic to our website and heighten our audience for broadcast. Moreover though, they will allow our users to interact with us, voting on polls, commenting on output, suggesting ideas and uploading their own content.
The Lowdown will cover stories that matter to teenagers. As such, our portfolio will include the latest sports news along with entertainment and teen issues such as health (look at the recent measles outbreak coverage, for example). Hard news such as war, terrorism and murder will also be covered, though complex stories will be presented with a simplistic approach and some basic context, similar to the way that BBC’s Newsbeat or Newsround are produced. Finally, we will have an emphasis on our “and finally…” story, with a particular interest in funny news and animal news, which may not need to be original and could even be gathered from social media platforms such as YouTube.
Our show will broadcast on weekdays at 5pm, a time when most teenagers will have already returned home from school and seen some of their favourite TV shows. Content will be swiftly added to our website after broadcast.
The Lowdown will employ 10 multimedia journalists, all with knowledge of convergence journalism and cross platform environments. Here are the positions The Lowdown’s newsroom will employ:-
Editor-in-Chief: Working with the show’s News Editor, the Editor-in-chief will set the news agenda of the show, and manage their team from sub-editing to social media, overseeing everyone’s performance and resources.
News Editor: The News Editor will lead editorial meetings and set the day’s news agenda, before listening to ideas from other members of the team. Using their excellent knowledge of news values, they will monitor stories throughout the day and keep in touch with the reporters and sub editors, as well as the presenter and social media manager. They will choose what stories get broadcast and uploaded to the website, and what gets dropped.
Sub Editor x2: Two sub editors will read through online copy before it is published. Sub editors are responsible not only for checking grammar and spelling, but also cross-checking facts presented in copy, and making sure it is organised to an excellent standard. Sub editors must also possess a legal and ethical awareness in journalism, and keep their eyes open for any photography used and potential copyright infringement or defamation. Furthermore, as we are broadcasting to children as young as 13, we must be careful not to show disturbing images or use disturbing language.
Social Media Manager: The Social Media Manager will be in charge of all our social media output. When a new story is added to our website, they will promote it on Facebook and Twitter, or when an interesting video package has been broadcast or uploaded to our website, it will be added to our Facebook and Twitter channels. They will maintain a healthy and active relationship with our audience online, adding polls to our content and moderating comments.
Reporter x3: Three reporters will be used as our team on the ground. They will be responsible for gathering content, whether quotes gained over the telephone to be used in online stories, or out with video equipment getting footage and reporting on the scene. They will also be responsible for writing up stories and editing video footage, as well as sourcing agency material for international coverage.
Presenter: The presenter will be the friendly face of our news show, reading the news and introducing TV packages. The presenter will be young and dressed casually, which is more appropriate for a teenage show, introducing a conversational and chatty approach to our output. The presenter will also help with the writing of our broadcast news.
We look forward to you joining us for our show!
Main image from: jone.nyborg