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 [...]

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 [...]

Beat reporting: Crime and justice

Beat reporting: Crime and justice

Every news organization covers crime. It’s a staple of daily reporting. But not every news organization covers crime as a beat. Too often, crime stories are just accounts of incidents as they occur, with little context or depth. To cover crime well, reporters need to look for patterns and trends as well as for the impact of crime on individuals [...]

How to manage your digital reputation

How to manage your digital reputation

Any journalist searching for a new job should be well aware that employers routinely Google potential hires and check them out on Facebook. That’s one good reason to make sure you know what your profile says about you and to clean it up, if necessary. But even if you’re not looking for work, it’s crucial [...]

Time management for journalists

Time management for journalists

If there’s one complaint I hear in every newsroom I visit, it’s that everyone wishes they had more time. Time to dig for stories. Time to write. Time to edit. The perception is that nobody has enough time to do everything they need to do. But the fact is that some people get more done [...]

5 tips for gathering better video and sound

5 tips for gathering better video and sound

By Bob Gould, former NPPA president I teach broadcast news at Michigan State and one day last year I decided to take the students out and shoot a story with the students watching me work. I figured it was much easier to SHOW them as opposed to just telling them. So, the story was about [...]

TV is dead. Or not.

TV is dead. Or not.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So said Isaac Newton in his third law of motion. And so it seems to me when it comes to opinions on the present or future state of television. What else can you think when, within the short span of a week, you run across [...]