Shayne Wells, features reporter for the FOX 9 Morning News, is answering questions for today’s #TVTuesday about her schedule, tips on how to pitch her feature story ideas and much more.
1.Tell about your role at FOX 9 Morning News in Minneapolis-St. Paul and how long you’ve been with the station.
I started at FOX 9 as a producer on the evening news five years ago – so I’ve seen both sides of the broadcast, but my heart has always been with the morning side. I went to the morning side of things fulltime about four years ago, when I was producing the Jason Show, as well as being the traffic reporter for the FOX 9 Morning News. I moved into the FOX 9 features reporter role several months ago.
2. I realize that there are no “typical” days when you’re in the news business, but can you tell us about what one of your recent days looked like (including what time you get up)?
The time I get up in the morning depends on where our live shot that day is. Generally, I get up around 4:30 am and coffee is a must! My photographer and I get to our live shot location by 6 am and are there until around 9:30 am. After the live shots, I usually go back to the station to write the next day’s introductions, book future live shots and answer emails. In addition, I am called on to sub on the Jason Show when Kendall Mark is on vacation and to be a sub anchor on the FOX 9 Morning News.
3. You’re in a unique situation as a journalist who is providing feature content on the hour from 6:30 am – 10 am. You book your own live shots for your Monday through Friday program. When you receive pitches from people for live shots, what do you look for to make sure that it will be a good live shot – or rather, a series of live shots? What components have to be part of the pitch for you to consider it?
Visuals. Visuals. Visuals.
I often get a story idea that might be great as a print story but won’t cut it as a TV story because there aren’t great visuals. It has to be a unique story with great visuals.
There are a select group of public relations professionals and agencies that I trust and they know what I do, know what I need in order to make good TV and deliver what they promise. I tend to re-book with them over and over.
I can also share with you what I don’tlike in an email pitch:
–emails from NYC agency. They generally don’t know what I do.
–when someone hasn’t taken the time to figure out what I do.
–too commercial of a pitch.
–if they’ve burned a bridge with me or the station in the past by not living up to what they promised.
4. How far in advance to people need to pitch a story idea to you for live shots for the FOX 9 Morning News?
I like for someone to pitch me about four to six weeks prior to when they want to be on the air.
I’ll sometimes get an email from someone with a pitch for something that is going in two days and it’s just not possible for me to cover it because I’ve been booked for weeks. Plan ahead!
5. What’s one of the best list shots for the FOX 9 Morning News or the Jason Show that you’ve covered and why?
I had the pleasure of taping an interview with Tom Hanks and he was such a gentleman. He shook my hand, he walked me out of the room, he was a great interview, he was engaging and very genuine.
6. Has a guest ever not shown up at 6:30 am? If so, how have you covered?
Yes, I’ve had guests who were scheduled to appear during the 6:30 am time slot not show up! I end up shortening that live shot, which is usually 2.5 – 3 minutes, and making it only a minute or so.
I’ve also had guests who show up five minutes prior to when they’re going on air and they’re not prepared and/or have no visuals when they arrive. That doesn’t work either because we don’t want to jeopardize the integrity of the news. I’ll either not go on air or the segments will be really short because we’re here to serve our viewers.
7. What would you like public relations people to know or do to make your job more turn-key?
My best recommendation is to do your research and know what kind of live shots and segments I do before you pitch me . Watch my online clips. The more visuals you can provide for the segments the better. Explain to me what kind of visuals you have for each of my four live shots.
8. You’ve sometimes featured your daughter in live shots or on the Jason Show. Does she have aspirations to follow in mom’s footsteps?
My daughter thinks it’s fun! I really don’t want her to because it’s a demanding career. The realities of the art of a career in broadcasting are tough – starting in a small market and moving around.
9. Anything else to add?
I love my job because it’s all about bringing fun to the viewer and letting them in on that journey. A lot of what we’re watching, listening and reading in the news right now isn’t about fun right now, so I hope that I’m brightening people’s days.
Follow Shayne Welles on Instagram @shaynewells.