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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Team Tuesday: Bringing Stories to Life

Today marked the second show for Team Tuesday and the saying really is true that practice makes perfect. Even though we were in different roles, we created a successful newscast that is something I am proud of. However, to get to this point, we have to start from the beginning: the morning meeting. 

Every morning, we sit for an hour and come up with the stories of the day, what angles to take and who will be in charge of them. To make a story successful on the air, it takes a lot more than just coming up with the idea, writing it on the white board and moving on. It requires thought, analysis and research. What would the viewers like to see? What is interesting to the average person? Does the story even make sense to do today? Do we even have enough video to do the story? All of these questions, plus many more, go into creating a great story. The main thing I try and think about when pitching stories is, "do I find this interesting," "would I want to watch this story if I were sitting at home after a long day?" If the answer is yes, then I am on the right track. If the answer is no, then I usually need to think of a way to make it more interesting, whether that involves finding better video or researching an interesting interview. For example, today we did a story on a new charter academy opening in West Adams. While it was a very nice story, I was personally more interested in Dorner updates, Pistorious or the Tustin shootings. Then again, you also have to consider your audience when creating the newscast. We cater to college students and south Los Angeles residents. To them, a new charter academy would be of interest, since it is in the area. You have to look at many angles and evaluate which is an interesting perspective that has not been covered. While it may seem like a lot, thinking of all of these things will make the story successful at the end of the day. 

Since I was the video teammate today, I had a lot of say in what video was used and how much of it. It was harder and more stressful than it seems! You have a lot of pressure trying to decide how to get the video and what is the best footage we have. I can help make a story come to life by picking video from Bitcentral that is interesting to me and catches my eye. Why would I want to watch something that does not interest me? Sounds like a simple question, right? I need to make sure I keep using that judgment when making choices on what video to use to make the stories better. Furthermore, I can continue to keep pushing the MJ's to get creative with their b-roll shots, seek out the interesting interviews and think of ways to shoot things that are out of the ordinary. Also, I can work with the MJ's to come up with fun ways to edit their pieces together. Obviously we do not always have time for this, especially on a busy news day during a time crunch. But, if there is some spare time, why not sit down with the MJ's and get creative? It only makes the newscast better and the story have more life to it. 

While sometimes it is customary to get all stressed and caught up in the drama of it all, at the end of the day, we're all just trying to learn and have some fun along the way! 

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