I called WSPA-TV (Spartanburg, SC) this afternoon to confirm an Onion-like story about the station using a cardboard cutout named “Michelle” to remind reporters that she’s their target audience.
The newsroom employee who picked up the phone told me that staffers were instructed not to discuss Michelle – only the bosses at the Media General-owned station could talk about her – so I left a message for news director Karen Kelly. (One question I have: Is this something that TV news consultants are recommending to clients around the country?)
Here’s Kelly’s memo to her reporters and producers (via ftvlive.com):
Subject: MEET Michelle
Michelle is who you want watching your newscasts, your stories.
She will be in every editorial meeting with us and in the newsroom during the day. She will likely make occasional trips to Greenville and Anderson.
When you pitch, pitch to her. When you write, write to her.
This is who we need watching in February.
Women 25-54 is her demo.
She has children and she cares about:
Recalls that have impact on her family
Even if you think a story doesn’t directly impact Michelle find a way to write it to her.
Give her additional information that is relevant to her.
Post stories and send alerts on stories she cares about.