“Don’t worry, you are in the right place. This is still KGW.” That’s Portland, Oregon anchor Dan Haggerty, 43 seconds into the very first episode of a brand-new 6 p.m. newscast, The Story, reassuring viewers who are tuning into to find him all alone on an unfamiliar set. “We have all the stuff you know and love, all the important news that you need, all the fun things you like to share online,” he continues. “We just hope that you might find this a little more authentic, a little more engaging, hopefully very different.”
The Story with Dan Haggerty, which premiered on January 27, is indeed “very different.” It’s the latest program innovation from TEGNA, the most aggressive of the big ownership groups in breaking away from conventional newscast formats. As idiosyncratic as The Story is, after talking to the people responsible for it, I came up with my own list of actionable ideas that any station could consider — more on those ten takeaways in a minute.
But first, the story behind The Story. KGW’s strategy: bring back people who have drifted away from local TV news. As the show’s own web page says, “We know your patience with local news is running thin. That’s why The Story looks different, sounds different and feels different. Because it is different.”
“That is absolutely our target audience,” says KGW News Director Greg Retsinas. “People who say local news is not for me. They think it’s commodity-based news on crashes,