Why Your TV News Interview Never Aired

Sometimes stations butcher a news story.

In industry lingo, the news story was bumped, cut or killed.

Those are the terms that reporters (and Public Relations professionals) use to describe the assault on the fruits of their labors.

Typically, a television reporter visits an event, conducts an interview with the principal organizer of the program and talks with the engaged participants. She then gathers her notes and summarizes the activities on camera, weaving facts into the reason for the day’s event and the implications for the future.

Unless high priority or breaking news suddenly arises.

The evening news is like serving a pie to a large family; it has to be divided so that everyone gets a slice. With national, local and world news, plus sports, weather and scheduled features, some slices will be bigger than others.

Invariably, breaking news grabs the largest slice and the planned news stories are subject to:

  • Bump: the interview does not even take place;
  • Cut: the segment is abbreviated and relevant footage is not broadcast;
  • Kill: the story never gets aired.

War, fire, stock market gyration or a politician’s exploits may wreak havoc on the interview carefully planned by a Public Relations professional.

Recently, a report of an event was broadcast without an interview that had taken place on location with program staff of the New York Foundation for Eldercare. The segment was cut short by news coverage of an airplane crash.

When that happens to your interview or segment — and it will happen someday — make the most of the coverage that you did receive by sharing the news story wherever possible, including Twitter, your website and your newsletter.

Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s consider how to promote your TV news coverage, even if the interview was left on the cutting room floor.

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