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Getting the Story Right

I worked in the TV news business as a reporter and anchorman as well as shooter and editor. In my 11 years working on-camera and off, I constantly critiqued my work and asked others to do the same. Some offered their advice in writing and I hung on those words of wisdom:

  • An NBC producer who ran the affiliate “feed”—a daily collection of stories made available to local network stations for their use—once wrote about a prison counseling piece I submitted to him. He said that my “story talked about” the subject “but showed nothing” about it. My tape “cried out for some natural sound of a session in progress.”

  • A Seattle TV news director wrote that my stories had a sameness—a voice track, a sound bite, more voiceover, another sound bite, and a standup close. “Mix 'em up,” he suggested.

  • And a consultant took me aside to tell me to “break up my on-camera pacing with pauses.”


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