Dayside and Nightside Teams were created. News Director Bob Franklin split the
newsroom into two shifts, 12 hours on, and 12 hours off. The shifts were divided into
two teams: one team produced cut-ins, the other team handled newscasts. A third,
much smaller team, could produce instant specials.
"At the same time, we began construction of a 'War Desk' --- a separate set in the
newsroom with a computer station, detailed, three-dimensional maps of the Middle
East, and models of ships, troops and planes," explained Franklin.
They reported from the position each day. Newscasts and cut- ins were anchored from
the traditional news desk, and they pitched to the newsroom position for supplemental
material with experts.
"It has been enormously successful because we are able to dramatically depict the
movements of the troops," he said.
Set your coverage apart
"It is important to carve out your niche by devising one or two things you can do
which set you apart from all the other coverage that is going to be on the air,"
said Carol Rueppel, News Director of WDIV-TV, Detroit.
"I believe if there is any way to reach your viewers, you should do that, too," she
added. This was clearly a case where the viewers were striving for a voice and for
The WDIV managers set up a hotline that people could call and leave taped
messages about questions they would like to have answered.
"They can leave questions about anything --- the war or draft, or anything else. Each
newscast we have been pulling questions to answer," said Rueppel. Sometimes the
answer was given on camera, sometimes they did a package, and sometimes they
invited a live guest to discuss the topic.
"It has allowed us to tap into some of the public anxieties," she said. The draft was top
of mind, as well as a rumor circulated about the contamination of the city's water
A news show was added at 4 p.m.
They established a roundtable of experts --- a retired colonel to address the military
angle; a professor whose expertise was national security and diplomacy; an editor of a
local Arab newspaper; and a reporter who spent two years covering Vietnam.
"As part of the 4 p.m. newscast, we allow these gentlemen to engage in a little friendly
debate," said Rueppel. It also helped to answer some of the questions viewers have.