How to shoot better vox pops (MOS)

How to shoot better vox pops (MOS)

Whatever you call them, “man on the street” interviews are a staple of TV news. Done well, they can reflect public opinion on important issues in your community. Done badly, they’re just a waste of air time. So how do you shoot them well? Start by thinking very carefully about where to go. Many stations [...]

How much local TV news is too much?

How much local TV news is too much?

The graphic is a bit of an overstatement. WISH-TV in Indianapolis does not air news 24 hours a day. But it’s moving in that direction. Starting in January, the station will air 9 1/2 hours of local news every weekday, adding four hours to its current schedule. The extra hours are spread across all day parts: [...]

Great TV storytelling tip: Connect the moments

Great TV storytelling tip: Connect the moments

You’ve probably seen the story. By now, millions of people have. Reporter Boyd Huppert of KARE-TV in Minneapolis calls it the story that broke the Internet–a feature about a little boy and his elderly neighbor that’s been viewed and shared all over the world. Plenty has already been written about why the story touched so [...]

Newscasts of the future?

Newscasts of the future?

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: A local TV station is creating the “newsroom of the future.” It will soon launch “an interactive, social newscast with viewer generated news content.” This time around, it’s the Fox station in Philadelphia, announcing a weekend morning show with “unique” content provided by “regular contributors who are not reporters, but news makers [...]

When to use hidden cameras

When to use hidden cameras

The video is black-and-white and grainy, but it makes the case. A manager at a company selling what it claims is health insurance instructs employees on what to tell prospects on the phone: “Tell them any f—ing thing,” he says. Reporter Jeremy Finley’s story for WSMV-TV in Nashville about United Benefits of America eventually put the company out of [...]

TV news producer memories

TV news producer memories

Forty years ago, as a newbie producer at the ABC affiliate in Washington, DC, I had to juggle live coverage of the Watergate hearings. The length of our midday newscast depended on when the network dumped out, and they usually gave us little warning. Some days we’d run an 18-minute newscast; other days we’d have to [...]

The art of the follow-up

The art of the follow-up

News conferences are part of every journalist’s work life. Some reporters can’t go a week without covering several–largely because the newsmakers on their beat hold group sessions regularly but rarely schedule one-on-ones. It’s not easy to get good material from a news conference, but some journalists are skilled at it. What’s their secret? Good follow-ups. Bob [...]

Should a journalist ever be a paid spokesman?

Should a journalist ever be a paid spokesman?

In the movie Broadcast News, a network producer accuses a reporter of crossing the line between journalism and entertainment. His reply: “It’s hard not to cross it; they keep moving the little sucker, don’t they?” They sure do. The line between news and advertising has been blurring for years. Infomercials, advertorials, “native” ads online. Now, [...]

Local TV adds more news in more time slots

Local TV adds more news in more time slots

Three more hours of news in one day? OK, so not all three hours are on the same station. But the announcements by stations in Chicago, Grand Rapids and Portland, Oregon that they’re adding news all came on the same day, and that says something about the state of play in local TV news. Growth is [...]

Beat reporting: Environment and science

Beat reporting: Environment and science

One of my last beats as a network TV reporter was the environment, and I covered everything from air quality to endangered species to climate change. I found it fascinating and complicated–drowning in jargon and tinged with politics–and often hard to visualize. What to do? When dealing with these kinds of stories, journalists need to be familiar [...]

Local TV news in an age of consolidation

Local TV news in an age of consolidation

Riddle me this: If big TV station groups keep getting bigger, what happens to local news? It’s a question I tried to answer, in part, in this year’s State of the News Media report. Over the years, as stations have been bought and sold and joint operating deals have been cut, fewer and stations have originated local [...]

Beat reporting: Education

Beat reporting: Education

The education beat is a wide umbrella, covering everything from preschool through higher education, and from school funding to learning outcomes. The beat has become even broader and more complex in recent years in part because of the expansion of charter schools, the increasing popularity of homeschooling, and federal achievement standards. These days, education stories [...]

The benefits of live tweeting a meeting

The benefits of live tweeting a meeting

WOWK reporter Jessie Shafer is no stranger to live tweeting but even she was surprised when her Twitter stream blew up as she live tweeted a city council meeting. We’ve “Storified” the story so you can see how it all played out, including reaction from Shafer’s Twitter followers. [View the story “Live tweeting reporter earns kudos” [...]

Beat reporting: Government and politics

Beat reporting: Government and politics

Ask viewers what they want to see on local TV news and politics never pops to the top of the list. But ask people if they care about where their tax dollars go or about the services governments provide and the answer is obviously yes. The challenge for journalists is to cover elections and the [...]

Journalism collaboration: How to work well with partners

Journalism collaboration: How to work well with partners

by Stephen Stock, Investigative Reporter, NBC Bay Area (KNTV) San Jose, California Whether we like it or not, collaboration between various media partners is fast becoming the way many big journalism projects get done. In fact, a vast majority of the Peabody, IRE, DuPont and other big award winners recently have been the result of [...]