Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 14 11:09:30 EDT 2008

Dear coral-listers,
Here is a 4-minute newspiece I co-produced for Telemundo TV-Miami, on the conservation of goliath grouper
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToN2PtVTbpITitled: meros gigantes protegidos (protected giant groupers). It contains great video and some interviews.
The effort illustrates two important concepts I learned at this years's ICRS science-media session
1) Allow the audience to identify with the science story. Here, romance bajo la luna (moonlight romance) referring to the spawning aggregations during full moon.
2) Hope that the final product (after journalist input and editors) will get the message mostly right. You can see some bloopers in the journalist story, but again mostly right....
Below are additional details about the story and a funny (but true) note.

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. 
Marine Conservation Biologist
Ocean Research and Conservation Association, Fort Pierce, Florida USA
Production team: marine biologist, Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres; cameraman Clemente Atia; reporter Ivan Taylor
Broadcast: Telemundo-Miami TV, noticiero-11 pm, Tuesday 30 October 2008 

This newspiece, which was aired at the end of the noticiero (daily news) 11 pm Tuesday October 30, had some of the highest ratings in Telemundo-Miami history. Since there is no Paris Hilton or Britney Spears in the video, I would like to think it was due to the awesome work of the production team. However, as I discovered in a crash course with the Telemundo co-producers, TV ratings depend on what was broadcast prior to the actual segment being rated, as well as the ability to hold viewer’s attention in the transition from one program to the next.
>From Monday through Friday, the program prior to the daily 11 pm news is the telenovela, “sin senos no hay paraiso” [without breasts there is no paradise]. I will refrain from elaborating more on the content of the program, but this telenovela is a great hit right now. Traditionally, the audience changes stations en masse once the daily episode ends, and avoid the news program.
The main producer told me to come up with a “lead line” that will entice the audience to stay tunned until the end of the news program, where the grouper video was going to air.
As you already know, female groupers have no breasts, so connecting the telenovela with the groupers proved to be quite a challenge. I proposed the following lead line (which was actually broadcast... but not shown on you tube video):
“…next, what if each time you make love you risk death?”
[“...a continuacion, que pasaria si cada vez que haces el amor arriesgas la muerte?”]
With this lead line I wanted to illustrate that the behavioral trait of forming spawning aggregations (shared by groupers and many other reef fish) and people targeting those aggregations has been one of the major factors driving overfishing and aggregation extinctions. 
Obviously, we’ll never know whether the audience was expecting to see the fate of one of the telenovela characters, or a report on a new STD…. The fact is that the grouper video was delivered.

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