When I was in elementary school, I spent a lot of time watching infomercials. This wasn’t by choice; my family had yet to subscribe to cable, and Saturday morning cartoons always came on after infomercials.
So I’ve been well-schooled in the nature of the TV pitch: the Total Gym, the Ronco Rotisserie, the Unbreakable Auto-Lock. All of them were variations on a single theme: whatever it is we’re selling, you need.
Why can’t news organizations buy into this type of pitch?
I’m tired of ads that dance around the point. The sell for news organizations is simple: There are just some things you can’t live without. News is one of them.
You cannot live without water, or light bulbs, or a decent roll of toilet paper. These are the essentials. And a newspaper, a radio station, a TV news show: these are just as essential.
Or: a free press is an essential part of a healthy democracy. Believe in the democratic process? Then you have to watch/listen/read.
Here’s a personal favorite, from London’s The Sun:
News isn’t a product that sells itself. Good stories require time and thought to digest, and consumers don’t give those things up easily. It’s up to news organizations to launch campaigns to remind consumers why news is essential.