Five tips for gathering better video and sound

By Bob Gould I teach broadcast news at Michigan State and one day last year I decided to take the students out and shoot a story with the students watching me work. I figured it was much easier to SHOW them as opposed to just telling them. So, the story was about a contest for …

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How to land a dream job

NBC’s Bob Dotson has what many television reporters consider their dream job. He travels the country, finding and telling engaging stories about “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” In a new edition of his book, American Story, to be released tomorrow, Dotson shares his own story, explaining how he made that job what it is today. …

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Storytelling the Bob Dotson way

NBC’s Bob Dotson has never been one to follow the herd. He’s built a career out of telling the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things on his American Story franchise for the Today Show. How did he get where he is?  “I think almost every break I got in this business is something I started on …

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Interviewing tips to get vivid sound bites

The elements of engaging stories are universal: strong characters, plot, beginning-middle-end, tension, surprise, resolution. What’s more, they’re central to every kind of story, not just features. Just ask investigative reporter Daniel Zwerdling, who has reported on everything from pesticides to mental health in his 30 plus years at NPR. “You can do the greatest investigation of all …

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Expectations for digital journalists

For all the gloom and doom you hear about the future of the news business, new opportunities seem to pop up all the time. Take the job Holly Edgell has at WCPO, the Scripps-owned television station in Cincinnati, Ohio. She’s the “community editor” for WCPO-Digital, a new position that puts her in charge of social …

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Ethics made simple

The news business seems to get more complicated all the time. Journalists are expected to work faster, file more often and serve more outlets. With less time to think, mistakes can happen and errors can be costly. News outlets lose credibility; journalists can lose their jobs. The recent case involving the venerable CBS News program …

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How TV news jobs have changed

The transformation of the television news business has been so dramatic that “if someone showed up from the year 2000, they wouldn’t know what to make of it,” says WAFB morning anchor Matt Williams. Williams’ day is filled with the usual anchor tasks: writing stories, teases and bumps; hosting a two-hour show; and making public …

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What do news directors look for when hiring?

It’s a perennial question and the answer keeps changing: What are TV news directors today looking for in new hires? For Geoff Roth, who’s building a new television newsroom from the ground up at Fox 46 in Charlotte, N.C., the list is long and challenging. You’d better be able to shoot, write and edit if …

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Editing sequences for TV news

No matter how much you read about how to put together a video sequence, it’s always better to see the process in action. Many thanks to Dave Wertheimer for sharing this how-to that he produced for the NPPA Video Workshop. If you ever get confused about screen direction or the “imaginary line,” take a look …

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Well-chosen details make stories stronger

One challenge TV reporters face is deciding what details belong in a story. Too many and the story bogs down. Too few and it loses impact. What works in a story is “telling” detail: information that conveys a basic truth about a character or situation. Think about the difference between two stories about the aftermath …

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