Boston News Boss Demands Reporters Walk and Talk

When a Reporter just stands there and talks, it does nothing for ratings. But, when the Reporter walks and talks at the same time.....well the...... ratings go through the roof. 

Ok....maybe that's not the case, but WCVB's (Boston) new News Director is demanding that Reporters walk and talk in their stand ups. 

The Boston Herald writes that Paige Harrison, who took over as WCVB-TV’s news director in January, has laid down a harsh edict demanding reporters get expressive during every TV live shot and stand-up.

Harrison told the on-air team in emails that walking and talking isn’t “brain surgery” and if all else fails “walk from nowhere to nowhere.”

The call for mobile reports — as well as the tone of the newcomer’s emails — hasn’t exactly gone over well in the Needham newsroom.

“WARNING — This will not be a ground-breaking email — I’m sure you’ve all heard it a million times before. That said, we need to start walking and talking in our live shots and standups. Right now — we are doing it about 10 percent of the time. That’s not nearly enough,” Paige wrote in a missive to the on-air team last month.

“It’s funny, I must have looked at thousands of reporter/anchor reels over the years, and in most of them the reporters are walking and talking, likely because somebody told them that (news directors) like me want to see that. Trouble is, once they get hired those ‘walk and talks’ disappear for some reason, something I have yet to really figure out. It’s not brain surgery — and really it just adds energy and engagement to your presentation.”

And she signs off with this gem: “In the meantime — to quote a once popular song ‘I like to move it move it, I like to move it move it.’ ”

In another email, Harrison wrote:

“I want to be super clear here — STATIC LIVE SHOTS ARE NOT OK. If you want some suggestions your management team is available with some ideas. I am not unrealistic — I understand that there will be occasions when you can’t move — but those should be excepts (sic),” Harrison wrote.

But some apparently continued to ignore her request, prompting the frustrated news director to fire off another directive telling reporters to “walk from nowhere to nowhere.”

In an email to Harrison, one WCVB staffer agreed that active live shots make for great TV but “walking to nowhere” doesn’t add any content or credibility to stories. The staffer wrote that they weren’t comfortable with a flat mandate and that it undermines the experience of the station’s veteran staff.

WCVB spokeswoman Ro Dooley Webster said the station doesn’t comment on internal communications.

Supposedly we was walking when he said that.