Yes, the title of this article is a strong statement. TV news is up against some large hurdles, the largest being making sure your newscasts and stories actually have impact for the viewer.  If they don’t, viewers leave.  Generic video creates an instant disconnect.  That’s why I defined it and talked about ways around in Show it, explain it, and that’s why I am dedicating a second article.  It is important to understand that this common crutch really kills credibility.

If viewers watch a story, and the video doesn’t make sense with the words two things happen:  The viewer gets confused and misses half of the story, and the viewer starts wondering if the person reading the story knows what he/she is even talking about.  Think about it, would you do a presentation for a group of people and not use the correct power point diagrams?  Would you notice if the graphics don’t make sense and become angry that the speaker keeps flashing them up anyway, just so there is something on a screen?  This is how generic video comes off to TV news viewers.  It is confusing, and frustrating.

Viewers want to grasp what you are saying and showing to them.  Video and sound help imprint it in their busy minds, so they actually remember what was said, who said it and what it meant.  That is too powerful a tool, to just write a story, and hope the video makes sense.  You must know what your images are, and relate the facts to the video.  Otherwise you are telling viewers to go elsewhere, because your station is clueless.

So if you want to stand out on the job, and as a journalist period, show video, use sound, and explain it.  Vow to never put a piece of video into your package or your newscast that you don’t reference in some way.  It’s time to say goodbye to generic video.

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