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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

The Development of Story Pitches

During our morning meetings, producers are required to pitch a large number of diverse stories. These story ideas can be from various resources, such as the budget, online, sources and newscasts among others. Some of these story pitches will become packages, while others may end up becoming short copy stories. The fate of these stories truly depends on the team working on them and the progress that is made throughout the day

For example, one of the stories pitched Tuesday morning was regarding the open enrollment of Covered California. Because there were two different Covered California events on the budget, one including Mayor Garcetti speaking in the afternoon, we decided to make it a package. Meanwhile, stories such as the one slugged "Breast Cancer Awareness" were ultimately killed because there was not enough time allotted and a shortage of interviews. Hence, the fate of a story really depends on how it is developed throughout the day and how valuable it is to viewers.

Once stories are pitched, we begin to make phone calls to search for answers and possible interviews. Often times, a reporter or an MJ will go to the relevant event to shoot video and gather information. They then come back to write their scripts and edit. Once everything is written, edited and inputted into iNews, a story is good to go!

To be a successful story on the air at 6 p.m. and on, the video must be helpful and the writing must match the video. The news story should be informative and detailed, but kept short and simple. This way, viewers can be fed all of the necessary information while not losing interest. The stories also need to be the latest and kept relevant. 

This week, as video/web teammate, I played the role of managing who works on which stories. I had to assign MJs to write and edit different stories. At times, it was very challenging to keep up with who did what. However, by making sure the finishing touches were made on the stories, I was able to feel rewarded when I saw the morning story ideas come to life.

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