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Journalistic Reporting & Editing

Journalistic Reporting & Editing

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Publicado porDiana Burns

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Published by: Diana Burns on Dec 06, 2009
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07/20/2013

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Few techniques that can be applied successfully more often to hard news report
writing are:

Find a person to tell a story.

Telling the story through a person establishes an emotional connection with the
viewer. Weave the hard facts of the bigger story through the person. Make the
piece bigger by adding small details, for instance, a line that humanizes the
person.

Learn to ask the right questions to produce the best sound bites.

Encouraging a person to talk openly in a compelling manner on camera is the most
important prerequisite for developing characters in television news stories. They
must

be

comfortable

and

speaking

their

minds.
Therearemanytechniquesthereportershouldbereadytouse.
For instance, challenge your subjects. If a subject sounds flat, boring, or too
rehearsed, the interviewer shouldn't be afraid to challenge the person, no matter
what the circumstances.

Organize your elements in various ways to see which is most
effectiv
e. Stories have beginnings, middles, endings and timelines.

56

"There are all kinds of different structures. If you want to be creative in journalism,
and you want to tell a story well, look at the timeline," he says.
Stories may have three timelines:
1.The order of the events as they unfold.
2.The order in which you record them.
3.The order in which you present them in the story.

The beginning of the event isn't necessarily the beginning of the story.

"You should find the most compelling way to adjust the timeline. You can begin
a story at the ending, you can begin it at the middle, or you can split it," he says.
Endings leave impressions. No matter how strong the rest of your material may
be, a weak ending guarantees a weak piece.

Look for spontaneous "moments."

If you're lucky, you'll find a spontaneous moment, and work off of that. It may be
something as simple as a woman looking at the wreckage of her burned house. You
take that moment and elaborate on it.
The pictures and sound don't have to be perfect. Viewers like to be
witnesses, seeing an event happen.

Look for something to peg the story on --- it could be a person, or a moment, a mood
or an emotion. It can be a lot of things that are outside the conventional box.

Look for the simple truth.

Bring it home and make the story relevant to viewers.
It's not enough to report the facts. You must make people feel something, and
that's the challenge.
Don't over-stuff the story with too many facts, figures, twists and turns. You
risk obscuring the message.

Don't over-produce a story. It's easy to do too much simply because you have
the technical capacity to do so.
You want to produce memorable pieces, but not contrived.
You want to do something a little different, but not to do something that calls
attention to itself for the sake of calling attention to itself.
Also, photographers who over-cut a piece and the result is the
craftsmanship getting in the way of the story.
A story should be seamless. You shouldn't notice the process that went into it.
You should notice the story.
Over-producing or over-writing the story is a mistake reporters make all the time.

57

Report what you find, not what was imagined beforehand.

Too often in the morning meetings producers decide what they want, and they
send the reporters out to get it.
Then the reporter struggles to make that concept happen. When, in fact, if you are
a reporter, you are entrusted to go out and come back with reality --- whatever that
might be. Don't make the facts fit the story; make the story fit the facts.
It's a reporter's job to make it into something that will be a good story, and then
to go back to the newsroom and fight for it.

Working effectively in the real world

Reporters can still do creative work on the tight schedule given them by the
assignment desk. It’s only a question of approaching the job in the right way.

Don't over-shoot.

It is suggests not shooting more than 60 seconds of raw video from any one
place. Being conservative in the amount of tape you shoot saves time previewing
and editing. Discipline yourself to know what you want, get it, and move on.

Vary the look by varying the backgrounds during interviews.

Change the scene. You don't need to overshoot. You can shoot one shot at a
location and an interview, and move on, and it looks like you spent all day there.
The story should be moving forward and to give it different looks. A story has
scenes, just like a movie.

Shooting stories that can't be shot

The pressure of daily newsgathering --- with finite resources (only so many
photographers) --- routinely produces situations where the people in the field
will be lucky to get anything on tape, never mind something strong. With a
positive attitude sometimes the seemingly impossible can be turned into a
compelling piece.
1.Never give up.
2.Recognize opportunities.
3.Be willing to change plans at a moment's notice.

Avoid cliches spoken only on TV

Television people should speak like real people. Speak normally!
If you want to come across as an approachable, believable person on television,

write the way you speak.

58

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

Q1. Write the basic guidelines for Television writing.

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