Facts vs. Fluff

Public radio listeners have a vigilant curiosity about the world. Their desire to learn is what draws them to us. But in our Sense of Place study, we often heard listeners say they didn't learn anything from the local program examples we played. They want programming rich in facts and data not "fluff“ such as generalities, conjecture, opinion or pitches to our emotions.

Avoid using soft, undocumented terms like “too many”, “a lot”, “large numbers” and “most.” Provide listeners with a “fact-based case statement” – concise, compelling data that enhances understanding of an issue and verifies that what is being said is true.

Ask what factual information or hard data will provide new insights or understanding on the topic. Here’s an example of a host intro that drew almost uniform listener praise from our “Sense of Place” study listeners for its use of data to quickly frame the topic: Should North Carolina Raise the Minimum Wage?

The minimum wage in North Carolina hasn’t gone up in nine years. Cost of living has gone up 20 percent since then. Gas prices have doubled. Across the country there’s been a push to raise the minimum wage. The effort appears stalled at the federal level but at least 17 states and the District of Columbia have established higher minimums on their own. State Treasurer Richard Moore would like North Carolina to join them. Moore is calling for an increase of at least a dollar an hour which would bring the minimum wage in this state to $6 and 15 cents an hour. So how does North Carolina stack up to other states when it comes to wages? Who really benefits from minimum wage hikes? Joining us to talk about that is State Treasurer Richard Moore.