Storytelling now -- and back then

Storytelling now — and back then

Sometimes I think the process of journalism has changed so much since I started it’s almost unrecognizable. (Scroll down for some early career memories.) But then I consider how much hasn’t changed. Good writing is still good writing, and will be forever. It’s still a craft you can learn, you can always get better at […]

Is your voice fried?

Is your voice fried?

All of us have “bad voice” days when we don’t sound as good as we’d like. I’m having one of those days today, in fact, thanks to a rotten cold. But most days, my voice performs pretty well. The same can’t be said for a lot of younger broadcast journalists, apparently. Voice coach Ann Utterback […]

How to produce live coverage using video chat

How to produce live coverage using video chat

What can you do when the network sucks up all the air time on Election Night? Convinced that cut-ins twice an hour just wouldn’t cut it, anchor Amy Wood expanded her station’s 2012 coverage online using a relatively new video chat tool, Spreecast. The result? “Nine hours of live streaming coverage. No live trucks. No […]

Sounding conversational

Sounding conversational

I’ve always been a huge Robert Krulwich fan. His stories on NPR and ABC News break through the standard news blather thanks in part to his memorable delivery. Unlike so many reporters who tend to “announce” their scripts, Krulwich just talks, or at least that’s how it appears to the listener. But don’t be fooled. […]

Tips for better stand-ups

Tips for better stand-ups

Love them or hate them, TV reporters have to do stand-ups. A stand-up can help to establish a reporter’s credibility and build a relationship with viewers, giving them a face to put with the voice. The trouble is, too many stand-ups today go overboard with unmotivated movement, cheesy props or “reporter involvement,” in an effort to […]

TV news and the mobile mind-set

TV news and the mobile mind-set

by Tim Blotz The Associated Press alert that chimed on my newsroom computer a few years ago was short and direct.  “Bulletin: Jeane Kirkpatrick has died.” I leapt from my desk and shouted across the room to my 5 p.m. newscast producers, “Folks, we have to add an important story. Jeane Kirkpatrick is dead!” The silence was […]

What not to eat

What not to eat

What foods should you avoid before going on the air or recording a narration? Some may be obvious (peanut butter, anyone?) but there’s a whole list of other “no-nos” in Ann Utterback’s latest voice update. 1)  Dairy Products. Ann tells her clients to avoid milk and other dairy products for an hour or so before voicing. […]

Narration preparation

Narration preparation

Improving your on-air (or online) delivery takes practice, but what kind of practice? We’ve shared tips and tricks before, but here’s a new idea that might be helpful the next time you prepare to record narration. Try it drunk. Not literally! The Common Language Project at the University of Washington suggests pretending that you’re at […]

Going live via phone

Going live via phone

With all the new demands on TV reporters these days, who would have thought that going live over the phone would be a challenge? Turns out that it is, at least for Marissa Pendergrass, a reporter at WHBF in Rock Island, Illinois, who started work there about six months ago. Writing on the RTDNA Rookie […]

New multimedia journalism textbook

New multimedia journalism textbook

Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but I’m pleased to announce the publication of the second edition of my book, Advancing the Story: Broadcast Journalism in a Multimedia World, co-authored with Deb Wenger. It’s available now from CQ Press or Amazon, and we hope you’ll check it out. What’s different this time around? The new […]

Taming the multi-platform beast

Taming the multi-platform beast

The transition from general assignment reporter to multi-platform journalist isn’t always easy, but people who’ve made the switch often say they’d never go back. For Josh Hinkle of KXAN-TV in Austin, Texas, working as a one-man band makes it easier to be creative. “I don’t have to explain my concept to a photographer or editor,” […]

Who cares about radio news?

Who cares about radio news?

Travel the country as I often do and you won’t find much local news on the radio. Consolidation has just about killed it. As a result, big city all-news radio stations and networks have lost their farm systems. “We don’t have the minor league teams to draw on that we used to,” says Harvey Nagler, […]

Innovative interactivity

Innovative interactivity

Who says local TV never tries anything new or different? The CBS affiliate in Minneapolis, WCCO-TV, has just launched a special section on its website that lets users track, comment on and contribute to developing stories. The Wire is a pretty simple idea at heart: a searchable three-day timeline with pop-up boxes for news, events […]

Three tricks to improve your delivery

Three tricks to improve your delivery

All the advice in the world won’t do you much good without practical ways of putting it to use. You’ve been told to sound conversational on the air and you know you have to take care of your voice. But how? Voice coach Ann Utterback has a great collection of how-to tips on her new […]

Delivery with energy

Delivery with energy

If your narration sounds flat and your stand-ups lack spark, maybe you need a little extra energy before recording your track or going on camera. KSTP reporter-photographer John Gross, who also shoots for NFL films, shared a routine at a recent NPPA workshop that he promises works better than a cup of coffee–or even two: […]

Keep your multimedia voice healthy

Keep your multimedia voice healthy

What’s the most harmful thing you can do to your voice? That’s an easy one: Smoke. When I first started working at CBS News, I sat across from Dallas Townsend, the longtime radio anchor of the morning World News Roundup. He went through two packs of unfiltered cigarettes in an eight-hour shift and it destroyed […]

Broadcast narration for new platforms

Broadcast narration for new platforms

By Dave Cupp & Ann Utterback Much has been written about the new and varied media platforms journalists are now asked to master, but one area that has not been explored is what delivery style works best on these new devices… …We are no longer captives in our homes or offices when we watch television.  […]

Tips to improve your delivery

Tips to improve your delivery

Veteran journalist Paul Davis was born with “great pipes,” as the saying goes, but he doesn’t think you have to be naturally gifted to succeed in broadcast news. The truth is that anyone can improve their on-air delivery with instruction and practice. Try some of Paul’s recommendations to improve yours. » Speak to people on […]