Improving your reporter stand-ups

Few things get ridiculed more than the cheesy TV reporter stand-up, but the fact is, stand-ups can play an important role in storytelling.

Professor Dana Rosengard has been teaching young journalists how to create better stand-ups for years.  Here are his “Top 5 Reasons for Doing a Standup.”

1.  To tell a part of story for which you don’t have video.  These often come at the end of the reporter package and focus on what’s next in the story.  “Most standups are closers,” says Rosengard.  “If it didn’t happen yet, you can’t show it.”

2.  To tell a part of story for which you do not have audio. “When someone won’t talk to you, you can say, ‘We tried to get a comment’ in your standup,” Rosengard says.

3.  To transition the story.  These are often called stand-up bridges, they take you from one location to another or from one issue to another within a story.

4.  To show presence.  Stand-ups can add credibility to your reporting because the audience is able to see that you were on the scene of whatever story you are covering.

5.  To establish yourself.  Part of what makes a TV reporter effective is using the power of the medium to gain access to information and interviews.  If people recognize your face, that will be easier.

And let’s add one more reason to the mix:   No. 6 should be practice makes perfect. Or at least practice makes you more comfortable on camera, so when you’re just starting out, you should shoot a stand-up for every story.  You might not use every one you shoot, but the more you do, the better you’ll be when a stand-up is critical to the story.

To get your creative juices flowing, TV consultant Bob Kaplitz produced this compilation of stand-ups from San Diego reporter  Joe Little that help illustrate a number of different ways to deliver information directly on camera to the audience.