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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Live Shots Are Essential

Live shots are an essential component in any successful newscast. Watch any credible news station across America and it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll see a variety of live shots from many different locations.Without live shots, a show can sometimes seem a little flat and almost dated. By having someone out on location and reporting live, it gives your newscast a real sense of immediacy. Television news is all about the breaking story and reporting on what’s going on in real time. Without live shots, then, newscasts lose that sense of urgency.

Earlier this week, as my fellow producers and I discussed the day’s key stories during our morning news meeting, there were a number of stories that seemed like they’d be enhanced by live shots. In particular, a fundraising dinner not far from campus featuring both USC and UCLA alumni seemed like the perfect story to report on live from the location. The idea was to send a reporter to the event, which was scheduled to start in the early evening, to show guests arriving and explain in greater detail what was going on. Unfortunately, we didn’t have anyone on staff on Monday capable of operating the streambox and had to shelve our plans. Instead, we made the decision to put together a simple news report on the event. We identified the organizer and key officials from both USC and UCLA who were planning to attend and assigned one of our reporters to the story. Unfortunately, though, the story proved more difficult to stand up than we initially thought and our reporter struggled to get in contact with anyone. In the end, we scrapped the story from our newscast. With a live shot, of course, that wouldn’t have happened. 

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