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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Brain Teaser


Teasers are much trickier than one would originally think. Although it's just one or two quick sentences, those sentences are some of the most important parts of a newscast. They attempt to get a viewer's attention... and then keep it for as long as possible. 

As Video Teammate this week, I designated the tease-editing to a a superstar MJ, who I'm convinced can edit video faster than anyone this side of the Mississippi. As I proudly checked "pre-teases" and "superteases" off my list of videos to get online, I had no clue what video was actually being added. I figured that if I gave her the slugs of each story, then she could quickly put together short clips from the footage we had. I didn't even think to give her a script of the teases...which was quite apparent at 6 PM. 

The first tease of the show was about a bank robbery in Buena Park. As anchor Jennifer Kendall read, "Find out about today's terrifying hostage situation...", there was video of cops standing around, talking, laughing and shooting the breeze. Our other anchor, Nuha Abujaber, worked very hard to get great footage of the scene all day, even trailing another news organization through a security checkpoint at one point. It's a bummer that I didn't give the MJ more direction with what she was supposed to be editing, because the video could have matched up with the script much better. 

These antics continued throughout a majority of the teases, for example, "Find out why Kaiser Permanente employees aren't relaxing during their lunch break." The video? Kaiser Permanente employees literally dancing through the streets together (see picture below)... if that's not relaxation then I don't know what is. 

Our lead producer, Christen Lazarcheck, did a great job of writing the teases, and there was definitely video to match the script. After this newscast, I've learned that you can still put a lot of trust in a talented MJ, but you have to follow through on your end of the job. When editing the video for teases, make sure to provide the editor with the actual script! If not, then your viewers will be more confused than attentive. 

Kaiser Permanente employees "not relaxing" during their lunch break.
Kaiser Permanente employees "not relaxing" during their lunch break.

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