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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

So You Have a Big News Story?

A “big story” comes when you least expect it. BOOM. What do you do now?


When there is a big news story, you already have to assume that this is your lead story for the day. This is the story that people are going to care about most and want to see.

Typically when a breaking or big story hits, Twitter is a good place to look for information. Twitter helps you find the most up-to-date facts, pictures, videos and sources. Once a hashtag is trending for a story, it will be easier to snoop around. After checking Twitter, CNN’s video on Newsource and the CNS wire are two places to look after. 

Once we have informed ourselves with the latest news on the story, then we have to decide how we want to tell it. As producers, we have that power. We have to decide if we want to dedicate our whole "A" block to one story, or simply make the story a package. 

Obviously we have to explain what is going on and talk about the basic facts, but there is so much more. Be creative. We can change our coverage of a story from a simple two minute package to a SOTVO-ANCG-COPY-PKG... the list goes on. As producers we ask ourselves questions like: what angle can we take this story, how do we make it related to the USC community, who is an expert we can interview on the topic? There are many elements we can include to help tell a story.

The fun part about having a big story is breaking it down in multiple segments. Big news can be intimidating and nerve-racking because these stories seem to continually change throughout the day, but that is the beauty of news and live television. You have to roll with the punches.  

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