How to make a TV story memorable

How would you define a memorable TV news story? For reporter Boyd Huppert, it’s a story that connects with viewers, that goes beyond the facts to touch people in some way.

To achieve that goal, Huppert looks for a character and a concept that will tie his story together. And when he writes the script, he makes sure the viewer knows early on who and what the story is really about.

How does he do that?

For starters, Huppert makes sure to capture what he calls a “handshake shot” to use when he first mentions a character’s name. And when he introduces characters he includes meaningful details about them whose importance will become clear as the story progresses.

The story Huppert referred to aired as part of his regular franchise, Land of 10,000 Stories, on KARE-TV in Minneapolis. He’d set out to do a business story about a craft brewery in town (Beer Drinking Gets Surly), but he wound up focusing on the family behind it. All the facts and stats he collected are still in the piece but Huppert’s approach makes viewers care about the story, even if they have zero interest in beer.

Huppert defines focus as “a character, emotion or concept that ties the disconnected pieces of a story together.” When a story is focused, he says, viewers stay with it to the end. And I’d argue they also remember it.

NewsLab’s YouTube channel has more advice from Huppert and others on reporting and writing. Check it out!

Originally posted at NewsLab