Was that tease worth the wait?

Survival Kit, Tease Writing Comments Off on Was that tease worth the wait?
Feb 182016






The teases section on Survive is consistently the most read section. Frankly tease writing is not as natural for journalists. It involves different skill sets and we go in depth on those. But there is a basic teasing question that you must ask yourself every time, to make sure you’re living up to your main purpose: providing accurate information that benefits your viewers. This is especially true for stories you tease. They tend to be more emotional in nature or have a clear WIFM. They also tend to be stories tease writers oversell in an attempt to make sure the viewer stays. So you must ask yourself, was that tease […]






How to brand throughout the newscast

Producing, Survival Kit, The Latest, Writing Help Comments Off on How to brand throughout the newscast
Jan 202016






It’s no secret that writing for TV news nowadays is as much about marketing as writing clearly and concisely. You are expected to sell the news philosophy for your station as much as time out your newscast correctly. In fact many stations require you mention your station brand at least 5 times a newscast. Many producers just write in the pitch line as you introduce live reporters to get it over with. Joe Smith works for you. Joe Smith is on your side live in…. Joe Smith is your eyewitness tonight. There are other ways to brand, that are less throwaway. You can even do it in a way that […]






Are you making an assumption? A vital question most journalists forget to ask.

Survival Kit, Writing Help Comments Off on Are you making an assumption? A vital question most journalists forget to ask.
Jan 102016






I am going to make a bold statement. The more news I watch, the more obvious it is that many journalists, in the rush to be first, make a lot of assumptions. If you really take a critical look at a lot of high profile TV news gaffes, you’ll see the pattern. So let’s talk about how to ask a vital question more often in newsrooms while writing stories. How to avoid assumptions: Where did I get this information? How did the newsroom get the information? List confirmed specifics Reliability of source(s) The first question you must ask yourself is where did I get this information. I am using the […]






How To Speed Up Your Writing Time

Producing, Reporting, Survival Kit, Writing Help Comments Off on How To Speed Up Your Writing Time
Dec 032015






A common discussion I have with news managers and universities looking to place recent grads, is the huge workload journalists face today. It is becoming more of the norm for reporters to barely make deadlines not because they are lazy, but because there is so much to get done. Scarier yet, there are producers in top 5 markets, still writing in the booth during newscasts. And not because of a breaker. Why is this getting so common? Two reasons. First, the workload is truly much larger. Producers for example are now often editing vo’s and vosot’s in addition to writing them. Producers are also making their own maps and graphics […]






How To Write Suspect Descriptions

Survival Kit, Writing Help Comments Off on How To Write Suspect Descriptions
Nov 192015






With tensions heating up all over the world again, it is a good time to review how to write suspect descriptions. This issue came up recently on Twitter and it seemed some were confused on when to mention race and what elements of a description were most important. So let’s review. Suspect Description Must Do’s List SPECIFICS Include image if possible Avoid broad statements Now this list may seem a bit redundant but bear with me. The single most important rule when writing suspect descriptions is to be extremely specific. Otherwise it can appear that you are profiling. So to be clear, you cannot say “Police tell us the suspect […]






Journalists Experience PTSD, Too

Reporting Comments Off on Journalists Experience PTSD, Too
Nov 152015






We are the observers. We bear witness to society’s worst outcomes: dead bodies, mangled cars, weeping family members. The scale may be smaller than the horrific scenes of war American service members witness overseas. Yet journalists covering local tragedies are at risk of developing PTSD, too. I would submit photojournalists are particularly at-risk because they get sent out on everything. And as the years go by, all that trauma witnessing can literally affect our brain’s sense of well-being. Which reminds me, this is a brain issue. Not a “toughness” issue. Not a “you’ve lost your objectivity” issue. You have no need to feel guilty. Unfortunately, news executives do a poor […]






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