Photo: Emily Maxwell | WCPO
Global media has seen many twists and turns over the last 20 years, and nobody embodies that more than local journalist Lucy May. News never stops in the Digital Age, where there seem to be more ways to consume and engage with media than ever. Through all that change, however, Lucy’s goal remains the same: Tell stories that matter.
Lucy started in the newspaper industry, making stops at news outlets in South Carolina and Kentucky as well as the Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Business Courier, before transitioning to the TV side in a digital and on-air capacity at WCPO-TV Channel 9 over the last 10 years. A self-proclaimed NPR nerd, Lucy then joined Cincinnati Public Radio’s 91.7 WVXU-FM this winter to host “Cincinnati Edition,” a live, call-in talk news show. On May 11, she visited Vehr Communications to talk about the ever-changing media landscape and her newfound radio role. Here are three takeaways from our conversation with Lucy.
1. Writing does not equal reporting.
While Lucy pursued a career in journalism because of her love of writing, she acknowledges that the foundation of her work will always come from reporting instincts.
While strong writing is essential in journalism, those words mean nothing if they’re not supported by good reporting. This is important to remember in any type of communication — from outlining to interviewing and eventually packaging a story together. Focus on what’s important to the audience, don’t be afraid to ask the big questions and make sure to get the facts straight, all of which will make great storytelling easier.
2. Transparency and honesty are key, especially in the Digital Age.
Between “gotcha journalism” and misinformation spread throughout social platforms, there’s a lot going on to raise skepticism of modern media. It’s this general distrust or distaste for the media that makes it challenging for journalists like Lucy to do their job.
She keeps this in mind when speaking with or interviewing someone for the first time. Before she can fully gain a source’s trust, Lucy makes a point of clearly stating her intentions to defuse any potential or existing tension — even if it means going as far as to say, “I’m trying to understand.”
This same approach works for other professional communicators seeking to engage stakeholders, as well, whether at a public meeting, on social media or during an employee listening session.
3. “Lived experience” stories speak the loudest.
Navigating a sensitive story can be tricky for journalists, who are necessarily objective outsiders to the subject matter. With willing and honest interview subjects, however, they can give important stories the attention and justice they deserve.
“No matter how difficult somebody’s life is, everybody has strengths, dreams and goals,” Lucy said. We all have something important to say or share, and Lucy believes that passionate individuals close to the issues she covers make for the best human-interest stories.
For organizations hoping to participate in ”Cincinnati Edition,” it’s critical to offer senior leaders as guests along with local people who are directly affected by the challenge or opportunity being discussed.
You can listen to Lucy as she helps tell community stories on “Cincinnati Edition” weekdays at noon and 8 p.m. on 91.7 WVXU-FM and its affiliated Oxford-based station 88.5 WMUB-FM. Learn more: wvxu.org/cincinnati-edition.