Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Sometimes You Just Have to Break the Rules


Choosing the lead is always important.  As a general rule, the lead is usually the most important story of the news cast.  However, this week, I saw how that concept doesn't always work.

I wanted to start the news cast off with the NBA Lock Out.  On Monday night the NBA Players Association was supposed to announce its decision for the future of the 2011 season.  I had planned on beginning the news cast with the most current information, which I was hoping would be an announcement.  If the decision wasn't made by show time, I had a package about the lock out that I wanted to begin with instead.  However, this package ended up falling through--there wasn't enough b-roll or sound bites to fill an entire package.  Therefore, we had to turn the package into a VO-SOT.  I figured I would just begin the news cast with that since I still believed it to be the most important story.

However, I was informed about another package at around 3 p.m.  This package had tons of good video, great SOTs and a good, equal story where both sides were heard.  I thought that maybe it could be a lead instead of the NBA lockout.  Unfortunately the bill for the Dream Act was signed on Sunday, and therefore I didn't know if it was strong enough to be a lead.  This was where I had to make my decision--go with a more "news worthy" VOSOT or pick a complete, thorough, well-investigated package.

I finally decided to go with the latter, and I led my news cast with the Dream Act package.  I made my decision by weighing out which stories would affect our viewers the most, that which would captivate our audience.  The Dream Act focuses on college students--just the niche ATVN fits (obviously).  Furthermore, it affects financial aid, which many of us Trojans need to attend this pricey school.  Though the Dream Act was signed for public schools in California, it still affects financial aid for all California college students.  Finally, this new law allots more rights to illegal immigrants.  Immigration is a major conflict here in Southern California, especially in Los Angeles.  Thus, all in all, this package was more intriguing than a VOSOT on the NBA without any real "news worthiness" since no decision had been made.  I still put the NBA lockout in the A-block, but I went with my gut and put the best package as the lead.

Overall I have realized that I can't always "play by the books" when it comes to producing a news cast.  Sometimes we have to break the rules of "news worthiness" and put the BEST story first.  What does the "best" story entail?  Something that is thorough, interesting and captivates our target audience.  It has to shine!   

Leave a comment

We've Moved!

By Sam Bergum
01/21/16 | 11:09 a.m. PST

Visit us at!

USC Basketball Knocks Off Rival UCLA 89- 75

By Scott Cook
01/14/16 | 12:05 a.m. PST

USC defeats UCLA with stellar play from their Freshmen. 

Holiday Bowl - USC vs Wisconsin Post-Game Press Conference

Su'a Cravens: "It's the players that need to step up"

Darreus Rogers: "It comes down to the players"

Trojans Fall to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl 23-21

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.