Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announced today the creation of a news segment called Connect to Congress, a multimedia initiative that enables Members of Congress in Sinclair news markets to communicate with their constituents on a regular basis. Combining broadcast, internet, and social media technologies, Connect to Congress offers Sinclair's local market viewers new ways to get answers to questions about what matters most to them at home.
Connect to Congress was created by Scott Livingston, VP of News for Sinclair, who is using Sinclair's presence in Washington, D.C., through its acquisition of ABC affiliate WJLA last year, to create a more regular dialogue between viewers in local markets nationwide and their Members of Congress. The first step in this plan was establishing a national bureau on Capitol Hill. "When Congress is in session, we have cameras set up weekly in the Rotunda, connected via remote to our local stations. Local anchors conduct the interviews about the key issues constituents and lawmakers are passionate about and not just topics that everyone else is covering," said Colleen Wordock, Sinclair's Capitol Hill Bureau Chief.
"For many years, national cable news channels have been viewed as the prime media outlet for Members of Congress," said Livingston. "Not only are a select few Members ever invited onto those channels, but the audiences on those channels are a small fraction of our local newscast audiences." And the ratings bear that out. According to Nielsen data, Sinclair's audiences during local newscasts exceed those of cable news by orders of magnitude during the same periods, often four times the audience of the top cable news channels, and often over 100 times the niche cable news channels. "When Members see this data, they are floored and realize that they need to be on local broadcast TV more often. Instead of making Members come to our stations when they are in-district, we are bringing our local TV stations to them in D.C. That is what Connect to Congress is all about."
"Everyone has a right to know what their elected officials are doing in Washington. Connect to Congress is just one example of the investments we are making in our D.C. news operations," Livingston continued. "We are making investments in technology and other capital expenditures in order to link our stations to Washington, especially our small market and rural stations, and we are committed to ensuring that the Sinclair network offers the hundreds of Members in our news markets their own media voice in their own home districts."
Sinclair has conducted over 100 interviews since June, and continues to book weekly interview sessions. The company will begin a station-by-station roll-out of local Connect to Congress webpages beginning later in October, which will include the Congressional interviews, stories from Sinclair's Capitol Hill Bureau and other national news outlets, polling questions, and other features as they are developed.
About Sinclair Broadcast Group:
Sinclair is the largest producer of local news in the country, producing over 2,100 hours per week of original, community oriented content. Sinclair is the largest and one of the most diversified station groups in the country, including affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and Univision. It owns and operates, programs, or provides sales services to 164 stations in 79 television markets, broadcasting 384 channels. For a list of Sinclair broadcast stations, please visit www.sbgi.net.
To schedule a Connect to Congress interview, please contact Colleen Wordock at firstname.lastname@example.org.