I stumbled across something today that is fascinating. WITI, our local Fox affiliate, hosts a live web chat in the afternoon where local viewers can suggest story ideas directly to the staff. Monday through Friday the chat goes live at 1:45 pm CT. A member of the web team has their laptop out and pitches ideas that are sent in to the chat to the producers. As with any staffroom, not all of the ideas can be used.
We hear a lot about reality TV and interactive this or that, but this is truly an interactive feature. It's a win-win situation. The regular people feel that they do have some input in what they see on the TV. The station gets more viewers (people seeing if their ideas get on the air) and they get great info about what kinds of stories their viewers want to see.
I haven't heard about any other stations doing something like this. As I understand it, WITI's chat is an experiment. If anyone else is interested in joining in, here's the link. Hopefully, if enough people come in they will keep it going.