|WFOR TAKES A TEAM APPROACH TO COVERING THE ECONOMIC STORY|
For more than a year, South Florida has endured economic blows that foretold the current turmoil gripping the entire nation. With construction cranes disappearing from the city skyline, foreclosures reaching record highs and home prices plummeting, WFOR-TV/CBS4 has already gathered some experience in covering tough times.
With venerable financial institutions folding and stock exchanges plunging over the past few weeks, CBS4 has moved quickly to expand the scope of its economic news and how it affects its viewers. CBS4 has billed its coverage as "4 Your Money" and set up a broad-based team under that umbrella.
The turmoil in the economy - and the barrage of bad news on the national level - has terrified and bewildered people throughout the Miami area. "We brainstormed ideas not only on covering the economic story, but on covering it in such a way that helps people get through this," commneted CBS News Director Adrienne Roark. "That's the whole idea behind the 4 Your Money team approach."
WFOR appointed anchor Antonio Mora to lead the charge and placed seven specific beats under the 4 Your Money umbrella. Roark drew upon the station's wealth of experience in lining up the economic team.
Consumer-Investigative reporter Al Sunshine, in charge of the markets beat, has worked at CBS4 for two decades.
Michael Williams, handling the political aspects of the economic story, joined CBS4 in January but has covered South Florida stories for 23 years.
To broaden the scope of its economic coverage and make it as relevant as possible, the other beats under the 4 Your Money banner include "Cutting Corners" (which Roark describes as "not simply a few mundane tips but things that will really make a difference"), "Cheap But Chic" (ways to look good, eat well, etc., on less money), and "Your Stories."
On the station's Web site, cbs4.com, Sunshine described the reasoning behind such a concerted local effort: "The most important thing for us is to try to put the South Florida perspective on it. What does it mean to people in Little Havana? What does it mean to people in Broward County? What does it mean to people in the Keys? It's hurting all of our neighborhoods and we're going to be the main source to tell you how you're going to survive and how we're going to come out of this even stronger than ever."
The station's economic coverage team, Roark said, doesn't end with those reporters. "The way we look at it, the station is the team," she said. "Every day, and for every newscast, we lay out a clear plan and get everyone in the loop on how we're going to own the story."
WFOR has even reached out to experts in the community to bolster its expertise. "We're working closely with a financial advisory group with 12 members out of Coral Gables. We've had one or two of them on the air in the past, but now we can turn to any and all of them at a moment's notice," Roark said. "This group has been used recently by Forbes, Fortune and others, so we're proud to have them as regular advisory contributors."
The station's reporters and panel of experts have also manned phone banks and appeared in a special Monday segment on air to answer viewers' questions on a range of topics, including how to find free financial counseling, protecting your credit, job hunting, dealing with stress and so on. TH e phone bank operates from 5 - 6:30 PM during the station's early news block.
CBS 4's 4 Your Money also has a strong online presence, with a prominent position on the home page and special section that includes a range of headlines, video, informational resources and a job center.
WFOR-TV/CBS4 and WBFS/My 33 are part of CBS Television Stations, a division of CBS Corporation.
CBS4 is "always on." For local news, sports scores, weather updates, traffic reports, entertainment news and the best video experience available on the web 24 hours a day, go to CBS4.com.
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