One thing that drives me crazy about a lot of news video is how shaky it is. In most cases, there’s no good reason for making a viewer put up with wobbly video. Sure, there are exceptions, but not many. If you’re running and gunning breaking news, you might have a shot or two that isn’t stable. If you want the viewer to experience an action (running along with an athlete, for example), you could justify some camera movement. But that’s about it.
Shaky video looks amateurish. When done on purpose for “style” reasons, it’s uncomfortable to watch. That’s not what the world looks like to the human eye, after all. Do you really want to make the viewer feel nauseated? Please get out the sticks and use them–every time.
Now, if you have a choice of sticks, it’s a good idea to know what components you need to get the most out of them in a news situation. Check Cyndy Green’s guide to tripods at News Videographer.