Face it.  There are a lot of new faces on TV News in Denver.  Last week I was one of those new faces as I did a live question and answer session with the anchors during the 6pm newscast. The following day I was live in two newscasts talking social media and the station’s Emergency Toy Drive.

The morning I was in the first newscast, and before I knew I was going to be on the news, I spoke to a group of local business leaders about using social networks in the newsroom.  We also discussed how roles are changing in the newsroom.

Many factors including budgets and multiple journalistic skills (shoot, edit, write, etc.) have contributed to this change of who you see day to day on the news.  For CBS4 News a reason is social media.  The station’s brand is centralized around the viewer more than ever as viewers are encouraged and welcomed to interact with the station in many ways through social networks. 

I was stunned into silence once when I was told, “When I think of channel 4, I think of you.”  I had to really think about that to even partly understand what had happened.  I created a personal brand within the station brand without even realizing it.  I am a real connection between the news and the viewer/news consumer.  I have shown that real people work in the news beyond those that you see on the TV.  Others on the CBS4 Social Media Team, like Mike Nunez, have done the same.

Branding talent within a news station is not a new concept.  Anchors specifically have always carried the brand, at least the face of the brand.  You may have grown up in a household that only watched one station because your parents liked those anchors better than any others on TV.  It really didn’t matter which station had the better storytelling or more factual news.  As long as the news was being given to you by the anchor you trusted and liked, you were happy to receive it.

I think over the years trust in the media has shifted.  I’m not sure many can still say they fully trust their favorite news personalities.  While you may have gotten to know them, there was little to no getting-to- know-you in return.  

Social networking allows that reciprocation of giving and receiving.  I’m open, honest and real.  I give back, listen and share.  I don’t tell you what to think or tell you what your only news is.  I may not have met many of those who are friends through social networks, but real relationships have developed.

Even though how people get their news has changed vastly over the years, television viewing itself has not.  The Nielsen Wire says “TV viewing is up by about 20% over the last decade.” Our relationship may compel you to actually watch a newscast you’ve never tried before.

A friend and fellow journalist called me after watching my first appearance in a newscast.  He said, “Wow, Misty, you just became the actual bridge between your social media friends to the news.  You just gave them a reason to watch.”  I told him he was crazy, but then I thought about it.  There is no denying there is something special about seeing your friend on the news.  You’ll turn on the news just to cheer on your friend and give support.

This was the furthest thing from my mind when I started sharing the newsroom in a new way on Twitter and then on facebook.  I have never aspired to be on the news.  However, the current TV news business model still revolves around TV viewership numbers.  Just as the branding of main anchors once played a heavy role which newscast you watched, these new personal brands created through social media can do the same.