That would have been nice to know

As we’ve discussed already, it’s obvious there are other uses for citizen journalism outside of breaking news. The other way we often see user-generated content finding its way into TV newscasts quite often is during a “DIY” segment, or something similar.

I notice this especially when a new product has come out and its kind of taking over the market. Especially then, viewers often see a “Does it really work?” segment or something equal.

In my opinion, these add the most value outside of breaking news. Why? Because it adds a personal perspective. What’s better than seeing if a product works before you spend your money on it?


This is my brother and I, a few years ago on Christmas morning. I’m sure my dad would have loved to know if whatever toy he was about to spend countless hours putting together was actually going to work. Enter: “Does this really work?” segments! Photo credit: Sharon Buchman

These segments aren’t like the your typical “infomercial” that runs at obscure hours of the night on a non-stop rotation. I’m talking about the taped (or live) segments, that reporters go to homes of people to film. These segments are also often filmed at a mall, or another public location when many people are available for testing. There are several news stations that do this well.

One is 19 Action News, in Cleveland, Ohio. They have a consumer investigative reporter who tests different products to see if they hold up to their claims. What’s more, however, is that the news station specifically asks for viewers to write in and submit ideas for what products should be tested. This two-way communication and interaction is one of the biggest benefits of user-generated content. It gets people talking and sharing ideas.

Or consider this news station, which has an entire page dedicated to “Does it really work like that?” More and more, we see reporters who are designated specifically for this type of work. These reporters interact with the community, build the journalist/source relationship, and tell a story, all in a three-minute demonstration.


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