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How to Write a News Article: Video

Basic guidelines for creating news articles in print, photos, and video.

Adding Action and Sound

Video news is widely used, thanks to TV. The advantages of video is being able to show action with impact. Where print is a better tool for explanation, seeing a natural disaster in another part of the world will resonate with viewers who might overlook a story not in their area.

See a comparison of the live TV coverage from Sept. 11 - http://www.businessinsider.com/tv-covers-911-2011-9#

Preparing the story:

  • Do not just go out and start filming. Even a reporter covering breaking news is figuring out what is known and what needs to be researched on the way to the story.
  • Pick and choose the story that takes advantage of video. A report in front of a parking lot is just a backdrop for the report who’s limited to an abbreviated story.
  • Note all the good sound bites. You will have to select what fits and lose the rest. You can’t include everything.
    • Keep notes on everything cut or uncut for reference, particularly date and time.
    • Choose sound bites for subjective information: opinion, reaction, experience, emotion.
    • Don’t interview just anybody and especially be careful not to only interview the person in charge.

Constructing the story:

Broadcast news needs dramatic unity. Show the climax of the story - the fire, the shooting, the protest, or whatever event brought attention to the story. Then explain the cause and follow up with the effect.

  • Use short sentences, active verbs, and conversational style.
  • Use a 3-part format:
    • the lead-in or introduction read by the anchor
    • the package or story delivered by the reporter
    • the tag or end delivered by either.
  • Name your source 1st so the viewer doesn’t think you’re reporting your opinion.
  • Nothing in a script should be difficult to read. Leave out details such as addresses. Cut out unnecessary words.
  • The visual is more powerful than the audio so any voiceover should be only necessary explanation.

Unlike print, an open-ended question can lead to too much information. Keep your questions focused, but not leading. The subject still needs to tell their view.

Shooting the story:

  • The camera picks up every gesture and expression. Always be professional.
  • Remember the story is not about you. Focus on your subject and you’ll appear natural and interested.
  • Wear solid colors and keep makeup, hair styles, and jewelry subtle.
  • Fill the frame when shooting. You want the focus on the subject, not any background action.
  • Film 10 seconds before the interview and 10 after so you don’t miss any speech.

Always provide a written script for listeners with disabilities. The Sandbox's preferred method is to upload videos to YouTube, which automatically provides captioning. Check with your editor 1st.

To learn more about how video, try a Digital Media class.