Stacey WoelfelTV news broadcasters have limited time and space to share a story before transitioning to the next story in a newscast. However, second screen engagement offers the potential for viewers to learn more about and interact with the stories they care about, said Stacey Woelfel, news director at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo. 

Second-screen viewing is the use of an iPad, iPhone or other mobile device while watching TV. Viewers are fed additional information through their mobile device, adding content and context to a broadcast.

“Maybe there’s a map that’s helpful,” said Woelfel. “Maybe there are some statistics we can put out there. Maybe there’s a full interview of the person we only see for 10 seconds in the story. It’s a chance to heighten the interest, hopefully.”

Woelfel, who has worked in TV news for more than 30 years, wants to enhance the 60-year-old TV news medium in an effort to reach KOMU viewers in new ways.

“People like the passive nature of the TV newscast where they can turn it on, sit back and watch it or not watch it,” said Woelfel. “There will always be a place for that media experience to consume news. We just want to try and add to that and make it a richer experience.”

KOMU-TVWoelfel will be exploring the second screen phenomenon as a faculty fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute this fall. In addition to experimenting with second screen at KOMU, his fellowship team will also be testing it at another TV station as they seek to develop ideas and best practices to share with TV broadcasters.

The team is going to begin experimenting with second screen during the 10 p.m. broadcast when people are typically at home relaxing in front of the TV.

“It’s probably not as effective at a morning newscast,” he said. “People are up and about and getting ready for work. During the 6 p.m. newscast dinner is being prepared.”

Goals of the fellowship

Woelfel has several goals for the fellowship.

  • Determine what type of content is engaging and worth the viewers’ time.
  • Create a workflow and management plan that would allow TV stations to take advantage of second-screen engagement without too much additional cost.
  • Investigate what kind of revenue stream can be attached to second screen engagement in TV news.
  • Obtain feedback through surveys and/or Web analytics to determine who is engaging with a second screen.

Jennifer Nelson  
Senior Information Specialist


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