Define A Good Story
Breaking News demands attention. You might cover a fire, a battle in a war, a shooting, a plane crash, an important political announcement or an important cultural or social event.
But beyond breaking news how do you define a good story? Think about your day and the challenges that you have. Think about your friends and family and how the commute to school or work affects them, what’s happening in their neighborhoods. How do they juggle kids and work, or kids and school? What does the drama in Washington, and President Trump’s tweets have to with them?
You can turn anything into a story. But the best stories have:
• A little drama
• A little conflict
• Pure joy
• Surprising new facts
• Need-to-know information
• Entertainment value
The stories don’t have to extend beyond your college or community to have meaning and impact. But remember you approach the world as a video storyteller now and that means that the stories require interesting video. The best stories also revolve around strong characters who can help you tell your story.
A father races into his family’s burning home to save his children. He dashes through the flames again and again and brings five children out to safety. But neither he nor the firefighters can save the sixth child who is asleep in a room at the back of the house. Although it is grim, it is a true story and breaking news reporters find themselves covering a version of this tragedy again and again.
A community garden is set for demolition to make way for an athletic field. The gardeners and their plants provide a beautiful visual for video, and the conflict is clear. People want to continue to garden and people want to stop them in order to use the land for another, equally valid, purpose.
A young ballerina from your community wins a competition and lands a job with a prestigious ballet company.
The debut of rare Siberian tiger cubs at a local zoo also falls into this category.
Some stories bring smiles to the faces of your viewers and offer opportunities for creative shooting, writing and editing.
4. NEW INFORMATION:
A doctor tries a new medical procedure in which he uses stem cells harvested from fat. He says that injecting one’s own stem cells into arthritic joints can ease pain and improve movement.
5. NEED TO KNOW INFORMATION:
The city council considers a sales tax hike. There’s a meeting where politicians, merchants and consumers will testify. A timetable and the items covered by the tax will be revealed.
6. ENTERTAINING INFORMATION:
Beyonce comes to your community to film music video. You have the opportunity to visit the set and report the story. In this category you’d also include fashion, new restaurant openings, or lifestyle segments that highlight new trends.
Some reporters like to come up with their stories and that’s called enterprise reporting. You might have a lead on an unreported element in breaking news, discover the cutest puppy in the neighborhood, get an exclusive interview with an interesting character, learn from a source about a Ponzi schemer or discover a contractor ripping off homeowners.
Note: The anchor reads a VO before she throws to the reporter’s package.