We have a daily meeting to review last night's Channel One show and discuss what went well and what tested well with our teen audience. Channel One is a news program broadcast in junior highs and high schools.
Then we review Web content and discuss and pitch topics for the next show. We bring ideas and discuss a teen spin. My background is at teen magazines. I was at Sassy, then Teen, then I freelanced for Cosmogirl. So my new responsibility is to take our daily news show and make it apply to teens' lives as best it can and use research on a daily basis to help shape our content.
Then I meet with the online team, to put together Web components to go with the next show. They pitch what they're going to do, and then we move forward on certain pieces that complement the show well. What we usually do is move into brainstorming meetings throughout the day. For example, we have celebrity guest anchors like George Clooney, so we'll talk about whom we'd like to pursue. We had an anchor covering the Olympics in Turin, so we were pursuing "Flying Tomato" Shaun White to guest anchor. We also had producers and anchors get together to discuss format changes to add more fun on a regular basis. For example, an on-air riddle, like a knock-off of the Today Show's "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" but for teens. We also have themed music days, like for Valentine's Day we put love songs behind the pieces we aired on the show. We try to find ways to make news topics more appealing to teens.
On Thursdays, we have research meetings and ask viewers what they think of every story we run, and we take a half hour meeting to look over that so we know going into the next week what worked well and what didn't.
We're always looking for teen trends; for example we did a series on "Myspace" that turned out great. It was about the dangers of putting up personal information online. It was one of those great stories, where we picked a topic that's huge for teens and packaged it in a way that throws off the rhythm of the show and it came off really well. We got tons and tons of letters from teachers and students, both positive and negative.
We know the audience is the same audience through junior high and high school, so it's a matter of how to keep the same viewing over the course of seven years. I pay attention to that, as there are more and more cable stations out there, students have more options for custom content and we want to make sure we're keeping up. We have to find the right news headlines or else they tune out.
I go home about 6:30 and usually do e-mails and work at home for a bit, just because during the day is it's pretty fast-paced and frantic. If I need to do something that takes an hour, I will do it uninterrupted at home.
I am originally from Philadelphia and I have family on the East Coast, so I do a lot of travel back and forth. And as crazy as the workload is, it's fun when get to work on stories about Myspace and body image and eating disorders. I feel like I'm lucky to have such a fun job, and to work with creative, young people with great ideas and a fun atmosphere. "
As told to Bonnie Lee
* Beth Mayall
Senior Vice President,
Teaches spinning classes at 6:30 a.m. twice a week
Side Project: She wrote "Mermaid Park," a young adult novel and is currently shopping it for a film deal
Achievement: Baking bread from scratch
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