WUSA9 has unveiled a new, state-of-the-art studio, changing the game for local news coverage in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. The new studio is the latest tangible example of the station’s efforts to embrace innovation and re-imagine local journalism in the digital age.
The new studio, which was unveiled last week, offers flexible, nontraditional space and replaces the traditional, “two-anchors-at-a-desk” format familiar to local viewers. Emerging technologies like a seamless LED video wall and augmented reality aid in the visual delivery of news, weather and sports. Talent will employ touch screens and a social media megaphone to engage audiences and provide information that is both relevant and entertaining. The new studio is complemented by an updated on-air, online and mobile graphics package. WUSA9 has also partnered with Snap to embed public Snapchat stories into its reporting.
The new studio is home to “Get Up DC!”, an original 6:00am news program delivering the weather, traffic and news that morning viewers need to hear, with an additional twist. Reese Waters, a DC native, known for his uniquely funny commentary, is the centerpiece of this very different morning show that takes full advantage of the nontraditional studio space. Known as a comedian in the DMV, Water’s sharp wit, insights and uniquely-DC observations are part of WUSA9’s successful effort to bring in new audiences. The show, also featuring anchor Jan Jeffcoat, reporter Larry Miller, traffic reporter Ellen Bryan, and meteorologist Miri Marshall, debuted on WUSA9 on January 10, 2018.
WUSA9 has also reimagined its 11pm program format, which is hosted by award-winning journalist Lesli Foster. WUSA9 chief meteorologist Topper Shutt continues to deliver DC’s most accurate weather and fan-favorite director of sports Darren Haynes also stays on the late news. Foster is also a key member of WUSA9’s Originals Unit which leads the station’s “Impact” coverage.
General Manager Richard Dyer, another DC native, jumped at the chance to return home less than two years ago to lead WUSA9’s efforts. “We’ve been inspired to take a non-incremental approach to our news operations as we go beyond the headlines and tackle tough topics of importance to our audience,” said Dyer. “Our efforts are paying off. Our work has recently been recognized with two Gracie Awards from the Women in Media Alliance Foundation. Just last week we received four Regional Edward R. Murrow awards for our 11 p.m. broadcast, breaking news and features. Our continuing series ‘Impact,’ which began as a pilot project last year, highlights often untold stories of need in our community and is a great example of how we are living our purpose to serve the greater good of our communities.”
To introduce the new studio look to “Get Up DC!” audiences, WUSA9 has forged a partnership with local roaster Commonwealth Joe on a branded “Get Up DC!” coffee truck that will pop up in neighborhoods across the DMV. The experiential marketing initiative will give audiences an opportunity to sample and discover what all the buzz is about by Tweeting or Instagramming for free coffee served in front of a digital billboard. The “Get Up DC!” coffee truck will visit targeted locations across the DMV Monday–Thursday mornings through May 23rd.