Telemundo Stations’ ‘Night Edition’ Puts Regional Collaborations In FAST Gear

Five Northeast Telemundo stations are collaborating on a weekday evening half-hour show, Edicion Nocturna, that’s yielding new lessons in cooperation while drawing on time-honored methods in newscast production.

A fatal shooting at a house party in Massachusetts, record rains and flooding in New York and a new piece of legislation expanding the rights of immigrant voters in Washington, D.C. Few people would presume that such a lineup of news stories were produced by individual markets and then aired on the same broadcast, but that’s precisely what happened the evening of May 1 on Telemundo Stations’ FAST channel serving the northeast.

Airing live, weekdays at 8 p.m. ET, Edicion Nocturna — or, en Inglés, Night Edition — is a half-hour program produced collaboratively by five Telemundo-owned stations: WNJU New York, WWSI Philadelphia, WZDC Washington, WNEU Boston and WRDM Hartford, Conn. The Telemundo Northeast News channel, which offers Night Edition, is available on the Roku, Samsung TV Plus and Fire TV (via the Amazon News app) and XUMO streaming platforms as well as other digital outlets.

Pooling resources across a station group isn’t a new concept and, in the face of slimming margins and multiplying distribution avenues, creatively doing so is a goal for seemingly most news network organizations today. However, Ozzie Martinez, EVP of multiplatform news, original programming and standards at Telemundo, a division of NBCUniversal Local, says what makes Night Edition unique is each of the five markets that work on the show has a specific function within the overall operation, making its production a highly collaborative process.

“It is lined in New York based on each market contributing what they think the news ought to be on the show that day,” Martinez says. “The weather is done out of Philadelphia, sports is done out of Washington and presentation — the anchoring, the hosting — all comes out of Boston.”

“It’s a labor of love, for sure, but also consensus,” Martinez says. “These five newsrooms come together and they make decisions together as a group every day.”

The local newsrooms leverage the various technologies that workers across all industries got so used to during the pandemic, forming a virtual, regional team. They fill in a spreadsheet with stories their team will produce for a local audience from which the Night Edition line producers choose. There’s a daily editorial meeting in the early afternoon on a video conference platform that sans technology would otherwise feel no different than a traditional gathering of EPs.


“‘We think we ought to move this here,’” says Martinez, imitating the Night Edition overseers. “‘We’ll put that in the third block because it’s more teaseable.’ It’s the same conversations you have except you’re doing it from five different places.”

The Telemundo Stations’ northeastern FAST channel launched in March. Martinez says he recently asked one EP if the Night Edition team members have, as of yet, ever seriously disagreed about programming. The answer? Not at all.

“They work it out,” Martinez says.

The producers all just understand their roles and those of their stations, the mission of Night Edition and the types of local-ish stories that will transcend their market and have regional relevance, interest and impact.

Furthermore, Martinez says, NBCU Local has leaned into the digital space for years, with 15 local news FAST channels launched to date, so a tech-forward mindset has permeated the employee base. They just needed to figure out which market collectives would prospectively respond most positively to a Telemundo program like Night Edition.

“Spanish-language audiences engage with all things in the digital space,” Martinez says. “Some of the research we got back from the English-language [FAST] channels was: ‘People from nearby markets also consume that channel.’ So, we thought: why don’t we approach this from a regional perspective?”

The station group hired new employees to build the FAST channels, Martinez says, but the Night Editions content is made strictly through the reallocation of person hours across Telemundo’s participating local stations.

“It’s being worked on throughout the day by the people who are already there,” Martinez says. “The people who front it are night anchors who come in in the afternoon up in Boston; weather is the night meteorologist who’s working in Philadelphia, so we’re using those existing resources we have in the time periods that they’re available to do these things.”

Night Edition airs at 8 p.m., Martinez adds, because it’s between the linear local news airtimes of 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the East Coast, which gives individual market viewers a chance to flip over to the regional show and helps generate a more seamless production schedule.

“It makes it easier for our teams to continue to do the work that they do day in and day out, gathering stories from our different communities,” Martinez says. “It’s not like they have to focus exclusively on this as an additional evening show that they have to do.”

Attracting advertisers to Night Edition and the Telemundo Stations’ FAST channels, Martinez says, has been a “work in progress.” But he believes it’s just a matter of time before they, too, understand that streaming is where audiences will continue to flock as cord cutting continues.

“Our goal was to be among the first to plant our flag [in FAST],” Martinez says. “Things are catching up.”

Night Edition also appears in Florida, where WSCV Miami serves as the flagship station for Telemundo’s regional FAST channel. Two stations in Texas — KXTX Dallas-Fort Worth and KTMD Houston — operate as co-flagships for the regional FAST channel serving that state, which also delivers its own iteration of Night Edition.

Martinez says the Night Edition contribution duties for each of the stations tied to their regional channels are delineated differently than they are in the northeast iteration. But, basically, what’s going on across the northeast corridor for Telemundo with Night Edition is being used as a template elsewhere. When the show emerges as the most-viewed program on the station group’s northeast regional FAST channel, as it has since it began airing, according to Martinez, such maneuvering makes sense.

“This is a manageable approach to this new space for us,” Martinez says. “This is giving new life and new perspective to a lot of the content that we’re doing.”

Don’t be surprised if more regional programming — like or including Night Edition itself — turns up even on Telemundo’s linear channels. Martinez says they’re looking into applying the Night Edition approach to those traditional broadcasts as well.

“We are local news content creators and we need to be in the platforms where our audiences are at,” Martinez says. “Our approach is not to hire brand new teams to do things. We are in the local news business wherever that may end up being.”

Valari Staab, chairman of NBCUniversal Local, says: “I’m proud of our Telemundo stations for their innovation and behind-the-scenes collaboration in creating a unique local news program that is helping to introduce streaming audiences to the stations powerful brands as their community’s first informers.”

As far as Martinez is concerned, a program like Night Edition was a natural next step for the company and the Telemundo station group.

“‘Creativity’ is our middle name,” Martinez says. “‘Creativity’ and ‘cooperation.’”

Editor’s Note: This is the latest of TVNewsCheck’s “Newsroom Innovators” profiles, a series showcasing people and news organizations evolving the shape and substance of video reporting. These profiles examine the inception of their innovations, the tools they employ and how they’re reconciling experimental approaches to news storytelling within daily workflows. You can find the others here.

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