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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Think Outside The Box

"Get creative!"

It's a phrase we journalism students hear over and over again. For example, our professors are always encouraging us to shoot creative stand-ups. Generally stand-ups are used to either bridge separate parts of a story or close the story altogether. However, the longer I am in the broadcast and digital journalism program here at USC, I have learned that the stand-up options a reporter really has are endless.

Stand-ups can also tease a story, provide the audience additional information, demonstrate what the reporter is talking about or simply set the scene. What I have enjoyed most about Annenberg TV News, since we moved into the new Wallis Annenberg building for Communication and Journalism, is that our newscast has gotten even more creative with how we do and use our stand-ups. Now, we encourage multimedia journalists (MJs) and reporters to shoot a "selfie standup." In this instance, the reporter will use his or her mobile device in the field to better demonstrate and explain a story. At the moment, we mostly use these type of standups for breaking news earlier in the day or to tease a story we plan to include in our 6 o'clock newscast. 

I am a big fan of the direction our newscasts are headed. We are creating more mobile generated content and giving our reporters and MJs the opportunity to get more interactive with their stories. I truly believe this helps to make our newscast more alive, grab the audiences' attention and have an overall unique angle on our stories for the day. That said, I would like to see us expand on our mobile generated news and master the art of "selfie standups." I believe it is important that we remember not to do them just for the sake of doing them, but to ensure it is enhancing the story and developing information we already know. I suggest we include more movement in those standups, rather than standing still. 

I would also like to do more USC investigative-driven stories. Sometimes I feel as though we take, "no" or "no comment" for an answer too quickly. I really enjoyed a story we had done on USC students who were not getting their checks from work study jobs on campus. Our biggest audience is college students and college students care about what is happening on their campus. While I still think it is important to have a well-rounded newscast and not to over-cover USC, these kind of rich stories would be very interesting to cover. This would mean asking more questions when our university does something that raises eyebrows. This could be its own segment! This also means keeping our eyes and ears open to campus activity, which brings me to my next idea.

One semester at USC, ATVN attempted to push an initiative, called #ATVNMyView, which prompted students to tweet at @ATVN with any news leads or breaking stories. I think we should really focus on finding a way to make contacting ATVN when breaking news happens or if someone has a complaint second nature. This way the collaborative environment we're working on inside the media center is not restricted to the media center. I suggest we either bring back the #ATVNMyView social media initiative or revamp it and make the assignment desk number more accessible. We should also consider a "tip" line.

I know that we are currently working on the kinks for the live shots, so when that is up and running I think those would add a great touch to our newscast. Congrats, Tuesday's newscast on kicking off the first live shot of the semester! Woo-hoo!

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