As we have already discussed, user generated content plays a major role when in comes to news and weather. However, there are other ways that citizen journalism is finding its way into a newscast. Think about the last time you watched an investigative piece on the evening news. How did the reporter uncover the story? Who led them to their contacts and sources? How did they dig up the information? Well, it turns out that investigative reporters often times rely heavily on viewer tips and content.
I have noticed especially during undercover and investigative reports, the story ideas are often generated from concerned viewers that want an issue further looked into.
In my opinion, these add even more value than breaking news. From exposing deceptive practices, to uncovering the latest scam, or to simply warn consumers about rip-offs, all of these are matters that most of us care about.
Whether it be a taped or live segment, more reporters are going into peoples houses and are hitting the streets to dive deep into these issues. Most of the time, the filming takes place at a public area where a lot of people are available for interviews.
Jeff Rossen of NBC News is a reporter who does this very well. His segment, ‘Rossen Reports’, uncovers everything from hidden camera investigations, mislead advertising, identify theft, web hackers, and much more. What’s more, however, is that he asks for viewers to write in and submit their ideas of what they would like to see investigated for future segments. And trust me, he actually finds most of his stories through viewer feedback. In fact, several years ago, I got scammed by buying some computer software over the Internet, so I wrote in to Jeff about the idea. Before I knew it, Jeff, along with his crew, were standing at my door and the story ended up being aired on the Today Show.
More and more, reporters are being designated specifically for this type of work. In fact, larger news organizations have entire departments dedicated to this. All in all, these journalists build a deep trust and sense of connectivity with the community, all while telling a worthwhile story in a matter of minutes.