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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Sometimes The Little Things Can Say A Lot

One thing I've come to learn being a producer is that viewers have a very short attention span. They want their news to be quick yet at the same time informative. It’s the producer’s job to make sure that something in the newscast will capture the viewer’s attention and compel them to stay tuned. 

This is where teases come in handy. What a tease does is give the viewer a glimpse of a story, giving off just enough information to leave the viewer wanting more. A good tease lures the viewer into the newscast and for that reason it is important that the story behind the tease be worthwhile. 

It can be hard to choose exactly what stories you want to tease. You have to make sure that the story you're teasing is composed of good elements. I like to tease the stories that have the best video or sound because I know that for the 3 to 5 seconds that the tease is up, that element can quickly get the viewer’s attention. One always teases their lead story because as lead, that story should be the most important and compelling item in the entire rundown. 

For me writing teases is all about balance. You want to give enough information that way the viewer has some sort of idea of what the story is about. However at the same time you have to keep the tease short and concise. Though at times writing teases can be difficult, the hard work definitely pays off. When a viewer decides to continue watching a newscast instead of flipping through the channels that’s when you really begin to understand the power of teases.  

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