As much as we were moved by the On the Road piece featured here, what really put us in the holiday spirit was CBS anchor Scott Pelley’s reaction at the end.
Technically, Pelley simply shows us he’s watching by referencing a monitor and then reacting honestly as he turns back to the camera. Simple as the execution may seem, however, it’s a moment that embodies something that distinguishes many of the best anchors we know and have known.
Whether the news is good or bad, they move and speak in ways that reassure us they’re seeing what we’re seeing, hearing what we’re hearing, and when appropriate, even feeling what we’re feeling. In other words, they’re paying attention. And they know that sometimes one word from the heart is infinitely superior to more words from the head.
In the relentless pursuit of format and branding magic that will raise ratings and revenue, it’s good to be reminded that the best and most important magic often comes wrapped in something as simple and straightforward as an anchor’s honest and heartfelt attention. With one word, Pelley reminds us that the experience we’re having as we watch is a shared experience. We’re all in this together.
The point here is not that you should always overtly react or comment at all on what we are seeing and hearing, but that it should always be clear that you are paying attention. You are seeing and hearing it with us, and you are making decisions about when reaction and comment are merited.
At Barry Nash & Company, we feel grateful and privileged to know so many who do this so well.