How To’s

How to Break Into Local News as a Broadcast Journalist

If you want to break into journalism, you better prepare yourself for it first. Unlike traditional disciplines where you can enroll yourself in a course, study and take exams, get a degree and then comfortably land a job, journalism doesn’t work like that. Of course, signing up for a degree course always helps, but remember it is your real life awareness and practical skills that will ultimately help you to have a flourishing career. Broadcast journalism, which includes radio, television and the internet, in particular requires you to be skilled in a number of areas, and we tell you how.

1. You Need To Have These Basic Skills


A lot of people tend to be under the impression that superior writing skills is your ticket to a journalism job, but that’s not true. Journalistic writing is different from creative and academic writing and writing great reports comes with practice. As a broadcast journalist, you also need top-notch speaking skills and the ability to think on your feet. You need to be able to present information no matter how provocative in a diplomatic and pleasing manner. If you have performance anxiety, take up a classes in public speaking or body language and presentation skills or join the local debate and drama clubs.

2. Apply For Internships and Get Work Experience


You won’t get a job if you have stellar grades and amazing references, unless you have work experience. So take up a part time job that gives you the real life experience of being a journalist- work for the college newspaper or the community radio station. When you’re on summer break, apply for an internship at a local television station. It doesn’t matter if it’s unpaid: at this stage you need the certificate, and more importantly, you need the experience and the right contacts.  And don’t just stop after one brief stint at the newsroom- keep building your CV as you learn.

3. Win Some Student Journalism Awards


You also need to display quick and sharp critical thinking skills and an acute knowledge of current affairs.  Winning awards or even being nominated for one, helps you stand out from the rest. Take part in local, national and international competitions. Even participating in your college MUN will give you a crash course on international politics and diplomacy. Try your hand at investigative journalism and see if you can get a byline at a major newspaper or a website. Even a few published clips might go a long way in getting you a job.

4. Understand How the Style of Reporting Changes Across Media


A report published in a newspaper is different from the one that’s broadcast over tv, and will still differ from the one posted on the internet. So try to find out what changes when you adapt a piece of news across different media. If you’re working in radio, the audio is of utmost importance and you might want to practice scriptwriting or making podcasts. Similarly, for tv and the internet, you need to know the basics of videography including shooting and photographing people or events live as well as editing. Also keep some additional skills handy like knowing shorthand or speaking in a foreign language.

5. Be Proactive


In other words, go out there and do it yourself. Don’t wait for the college placement cell to give you a job. Take the initiative, build the right contacts and volunteer your services. Interview local celebrities or if you feel that something’s missing from the local news, cover the matter yourself and send it to a news agency. Or if you can provide a different angle to a popular news story, go and do it, instead of discussing it with friends. In short, do as you would do if you were already a broadcast journalist.

Broadcast journalism may look and sound tough, but if you can do it right, you’re in for an exciting, enjoyable and fulfilling career. Remember, the keywords are versatility, experience and being proactive. Don’t fret if you think you don’t have the right skills. If you really want a career here, make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and then make an action plan to improve your weaknesses and build on your strengths. Be passionate and keep preserving, and you won’t even notice when you’ve broken into the industry.

How Broadcast Journalism is Shifting in 2017

Broadcast journalism has played a significant role over the last few decades in reporting national and international news. In 1935, Howard Armstrong broadcast the first radio transmission by using frequency modulation — which we know better as FM today.


In the beginning, broadcast journalism was used for entertainment purposes. Radio news broadcasts did take place in the 1930s, but local commentators were limited on the length of news segments. Edward Murrow, a commentator for CBS, took over broadcast journalism and radio news there in 1937. He moved to London to become CBS’ chief correspondent for Europe, and it was then that radio news took off.

He started the pioneering radio news program “World News Roundup,” the first that allowed listeners to hear reports from around the globe. By 1940, Murrow’s audience of listeners had grown to 22 million, and included President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his cabinet. The Nazi concentration camp in Buchenwald was just one of the many sensitive topics that Murrow tackled in his radio program,

When Murrow moved back to New York City, he was approached about hosting a weekly program on a new, still largely experimental medium — television. His program, “See It Now,” aired in 1951, and helped set the standards for today’s broadcast journalism.  


New York Film Academy’s Broadcast Journalism School

The journalism industry can often be highly competitive — especially when it comes to broadcast journalism. The New York Film Academy’s Broadcast Journalism School isn’t your typical school. Our program offers students hands-on experience and emphasizes professional skills that will give students the edge that they need for their career in the real world.

NYFA faculty members have worked on diverse platforms such as “ABC World News Tonight,” “PBS NewsHour,” and “NBC Nightly News.” Our instructors, with real world experience, are one of the reasons that NYFA is one of the leading broadcast journalism schools in the nation. One NYFA alumna and one student journalist became accredited by the White House Press Corps, and were chose to accompany President Barack Obama to the 2016 NATO Heads-of-State Summit in Poland. This opportunity for our alumna and student journalist made history because they were the first student journalists to ever travel with the president of the U.S.


Broadcast Journalism and Politics

Gone are the days when presidents traveled heavily and promoted themselves door-to-door during the presidential campaign. In today’s modern age, candidates communicate with voters through multiple electronic and digital platforms. Most of the candidates were poised on social media with well-rehearsed answers for interviews. Voters generally only got glimpses of in-person interactions when the Democratic and Republican candidates bared their teeth at one another during live-streamed debates.

The relationship between broadcast journalists and political candidates is often tumultuous. In February, White House press secretary Sean Spicer barred reporters from several large outlets, including “The New York Times” and “CNN,” from attending an off-camera press briefing.  During the presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump often targeted members of the media, stating that they were feeding the public wrong information.  


We rarely see technology transforming politics, but the election of 2016 proved that the media could inform and influence the public down to the last Instagram post. Throughout the campaign, Ted Cruz live-streamed his appearances on Periscope. Marco Rubio used “Snapchat Stories” at all his stops along the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush went head-to-head on Twitter over student debt, while Bernie Sanders had almost 2 million followers on Facebook.  

Prior to the 2016 election, some presidential candidates would offer exclusive one-on-one interviews with media before Election Day. Exclusive interviews with the media are often promoted heavily but are often limited. Nonetheless, this type of exposure is free publicity and is a win-win for everyone.

Sitting down casually with talk shows are also free and harmless media coverage. President Barack Obama appeared several times on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” during his eight-year term. During his final appearance with the talk show host, Obama talked about what he had planned to do once her left office. These types of interviews can humanize a president or presidential candidate and make them more relatable with the public.

So what does this shift toward social media in the realm of political, news, and even business coverage mean for the future of broadcast journalism?

The Future of Broadcast Journalism

There has been a rapid rise of online media viewing, often driven by platforms such as video-on-demand and video-sharing websites.

While broadcast journalism remains one of the top ways to receive news, there is no doubt that digital media has emerged as the most important source of news among millennials. Aspiring broadcast journalists must adapt and learn to excel in a variety of media. That’s why the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program is a skills-based course of study. By becoming proficient in the techniques of multimedia journalism, our graduates are ready for careers in both legacy as well as digital media.


According to Richard Sambrook, professor of journalism at Cardiff University, “…better Internet connections, better devices, and better file compression formats, combined with an aggressive expansion in online video offerings from both video on demand services like Netflix and social media platforms like Facebook means that things are changing, and that the pace of change facing television and television news providers is accelerating.”

At NFYA, we equip our broadcast journalism students with knowledge that will allow them to grow with the industry. In addition to traditional broadcast skills, our year-one broadcast students will learn how to create first-person narratives found on digital platforms such as Vice, Wired, Vox, Quartz and AJ+. We also offer a variety of intensive broadcast workshops.

What do you think the future holds for broadcast journalism? Let us know your thoughts below! And check out NYFA’s broadcast journalism programs.


How To Produce Sweeps Pieces Or Stories In Series Form

Brian Williams interviewing Mitt Romney

National elections make for ideal story series during sweeps.

In broadcast journalism, most stories are reported as they happen, and covering the new developments of a story for several days or even weeks doesn’t necessarily mean you’re producing a series on the topic. Generally, reporters and producers don’t think in terms of “I want to do a series of stories about X or Y.” Instead, they think in terms of, “I’d like to do a story about X and then I’m going to follow up to see if there are any new developments in the story about Y.”

However, there is a place for the production of a series in broadcast journalism. There are several situations in which you might want to do a series:

Sweeps weeks, when TV station ratings are measured—Nielsen sweeps months typically occur for the better part of November, February, May, and July, but as the measurement period increasingly straddle months, weeks have become a more common measurement period. And for major markets, where the numbers come in the next morning, every week is essentially sweeps week. To attract viewers during a ratings measurement period, broadcasters frequently run a series about a topic of local interest, looking at different angles of the story for each installment. Typical marketing messages will say something like: “How safe is the drinking water at area schools? If you are a parent, you’ll want to see this.” In small and medium markets, they still do the sweeps drill about four times a year.
• Big stories that can’t be covered all at once. These may include political topics, controversial local legislation, large disasters that continue for days after the main event (say, flooding and the resulting damage to property), or a local scandal or crime wave in which new information arises frequently.
• Small stations undergoing slow news periods may do a series to provide a more in-depth look at the few news topics that are available. This should not be done just as a way to fill time during a show—you should use the opportunity to provide value to your viewers, in the form of additional information or a new perspective on the same story.

How to Get Started

Approaching a series is not all that different than approaching your story or stories of the day. However, you will probably have a little more time to examine different angles if you’re working on a series. Ideally, that’s something you should do for every story, but sometimes, when you’re running around covering multiple topics, you may only have time to report the facts and move on to your next assignment.

Many broadcasters will ask each reporter to pitch an idea for a series to run during the upcoming sweeps month. There are a few ways to approach this. You can look back at recurring topics or issues you’ve reported on in the last few weeks or months and consider whether there are unexplored angles or simply opportunities to provide a more in-depth look at a story.

A profile on a prominent community member or close look at a local issue or problem is another option. You can also look at the many different stories you’ve covered and think about whether there might be a connection between some of them. Did you cover several different car accidents at the same intersection? Have you covered a lot of theft stories at a particular chain of local stores?

Another way to develop material for a special series is through the contacts and sources you build up over time. A good reporter always nurtures sources. Checking back occasionally with individuals you have interviewed in the past can lead to new, perhaps even bigger stories.

Alternatively, you can spend some time on your station’s social media feeds and try to get an idea of what viewers find interesting. Granted, some viewers’ suggestions may not be right for a series, and others may not be based in fact. However, if you keep seeing different people inquiring about a certain topic, or suggesting it should be covered in more detail, that might be worth considering.

Here’s an example: Several years ago, a local TV station covered a tragic story about a road worker who was killed by an intoxicated driver. She had no previous record, and claimed to have mixed up her daytime and nighttime medications on the day of the collision. Although she pled guilty to negligent homicide as part of a plea deal, she only served about ninety days, plus twelve months probation. A few years later, she was arrested on a DWI charge, bonded out of jail, and was subsequently arrested several more times for DWI and a variety of other charges. When local media covered each arrest, her previous conviction for negligent homicide was frequently mentioned.

As you might imagine, many viewers were outraged by the situation. After every story about a subsequent arrest was posted to local stations’ social media feeds, a deluge of comments from audience members followed. Many asked how an individual with such a history kept getting out of jail. Some suggested she was bribing a judge. Others demanded DWI laws should be toughened.

During a sweeps month, one local station ran a series about state and local DWI laws, as well as sentencing statistics, in an attempt to answer some of these viewer questions. The first installment described the arrest, conviction, and sentencing history of the habitual drunk driver. The reporter explained the leeway judges have in sentencing after a conviction of negligent homicide, and noted reasons judges typically give light sentences—first-time offenders, mitigating circumstances, etc.

The second installment looked at rates of DWI/DUI arrests and convictions, statistics on how many people actually served time for such offenses, and the frequency of repeat offenses for the same individual. A third installment included interviews with local legislators about proposed changes to local DWI laws that, in their opinion, would make the area safer from repeat offenders.

Tips for Covering a Series or Sweeps Piece

• Choose a different angle for each installment.
• Either provide new information or a new perspective in each installment.
• You are usually given more time for a series or sweeps piece. Use it to give the audience a more in-depth picture of the issue or story.
• If you’re doing a profile of a person, try to include details that have an emotional impact, in addition to the facts of the story. Show us the local scholarship recipient studying while riding the bus to his second job. Show us the pile of cold cases the police detective keeps on her desk and looks at once a week, even when she knows there are no new leads. Show us the mayoral candidate emptying the trashcans at his campaign headquarters like a regular person. Things like this often tell us more about a subject’s personality than the rehearsed talking points or nervous rambling you might hear in an interview.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

How To Find And Get Journalism Internships

Internships Next Exit road sign

Internships are helpful for students who want a hands-on learning experience in a real TV or radio station. Interning with a broadcaster can help you narrow down what kind of job you’d like to do in the field. It’s also an asset to your resume when you’re ready to apply for jobs after graduation.

How Do I Find an Internship?

First of all, start looking sooner rather than later. If you’re hoping for a summer internship, it’s best to start looking early in the spring semester, or even the previous fall. Many summer internships have application deadlines in February or March. Please note that the days of work-for-free interns are gone. Due to a recent lawsuit and subsequent court decisions, interns must either be paid or receive academic credit. Some schools allow students to get class credit for doing an internship during a semester, usually with an approved local company, but you’ll also need to apply for those months in advance.

Several websites dedicated to helping students find internships in their field allow you to search for journalism openings. Many schools maintain a list of resources for students seeking internships. You can also check with local broadcasters in your area—some may list these positions on their “job opportunities” page.

Time to Write or Revise Your Resume and Cover Letter

The application process often varies from one broadcaster to another, so it’s important to read the requirements carefully and make sure you’ve met all of them before clicking the “submit” icon. Some may want a video audition explaining why you’d make a great intern, while others may ask for samples of packages you’ve produced in class. Regardless of other requirements, most companies want a resume and cover letter.

If you haven’t written a resume yet, now is a good time to start—it’s definitely better than waiting until you graduate and start applying for jobs. If you have written a resume, this is a good time to update it.

In general, a resume should have your name and contact info at the top, then subheadings for education, work experience, and possibly volunteer work or student associations.

If a student is responding to a posting, it’s always advisable to integrate some of the language from the posting into the cover letter. They have provided a checklist of what they are looking for, so you give them their own words back. This is especially helpful in an era when, at large companies, software often scans incoming job applications and selects only some of them to be forwarded on to a real person.


Under “Education,” you should list your school, your major, where you are in your program (“Completing one-year program in May of 2016,” for example), and your GPA, if it’s high enough to be beneficial. If your GPA is not where you’d like it to be, you may consider leaving it off. On one hand, employers may assume your GPA isn’t listed because it was a low number—on the other hand, if you actually list your 1.8 GPA, they’ll know for sure. (Obviously, the best option is to make every effort to get good grades.)

Work History

You should list any work experience you have, even if it’s not related to broadcast journalism. The fact that you worked at Joe’s Hamburger Barn the last three summers suggests you were a reliable and hard-working employee—otherwise, Joe probably would have hired someone else instead of hiring you back for the next summer.

Under each job, you should add a list of bullet points describing what you did—in particular, goals you met or exceeded, or innovative ways you improved your employer’s business. Be as specific as possible. “Earned a five-star average on customer comment cards” sounds better than, “Waited on customers.”

If you don’t have any work history, you can list volunteer work or student association activities—especially if they’re related to broadcast journalism. Definitely list any work you did for the campus TV or radio station, even if it was only for a brief period of time. Again, be specific about your accomplishments. Examples of good bullet points:

  • Interviewed news witnesses, asking follow-up questions as appropriate
  • Wrote package scripts answering the questions of who, what, when, why, where, and how
  • Made beat calls to local police and fire agencies and followed up on all leads
  • Engaged with students on social media to learn the types of news stories that most interested them, then shifted our editorial focus to those topics, resulting in a 5% viewership increase over last semester

Cover Letters

A cover letter should do three things: It should tell the reader who you are, why you want the internship, and what you can do for the company. Although you may repeat some sentences or paragraphs about your education, experience, and goals, you should not send the exact same letter to every company.

First, address your letter to the correct individual. Usually applications list a contact person. If not, search the organization’s website—you may find an “internship coordinator” or “hiring manger” listed in the directory. If that doesn’t work, simply call the company and ask for the name of the person in charge of the internship program.

You should use the first paragraph of your letter to briefly introduce yourself and explain why you want to work for this particular broadcaster. Although you can touch on your desire to learn more about journalism, you should focus on why you want to learn from this organization. To show that you’ve thoroughly researched the company, give concrete examples of what you like about it. Here’s an example:

“As a student studying Broadcast Journalism, I’ve always wanted to work at a TV station with excellent live coverage of the latest local news. When I come home from school and watch WXYZ News, I’m always impressed by how professional your reporters are, and how quickly and accurately they report news and show how it affects the average person. Your three-part special on the city’s homeless population really helped me see the subject from a new perspective. I would love to learn from the team that was voted “Best Newscast in Cleveland” three years in a row, and when I saw that you had a summer internship program, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.”

The next paragraph should tell more about your education and work history, especially any broadcast journalism-related experience. Your final paragraph should mention that you’ve attached your resume (and any other requested materials). Close by thanking the recipients for their time and note that you look forward to hearing from them.

Apply Widely

Even if you’re a great candidate, you will be vying with hundreds of other applicants for each internship. For that reason, you should apply for as many as you can to improve your chances of landing one.

There’s no reason to stick with your city, either. You can apply for internships all over the country. Keep in mind, however, that some internships are unpaid. Some larger companies may provide housing for a pool of interns, but most will expect you to pay your own expenses. Even a paid internship might not pay enough for all your expenses while living in an unfamiliar city. If traveling and renting an apartment out of town isn’t financially feasible, you might want to focus on an internship closer to home—even if it doesn’t pay at all. Or, you could look for one in a city where you could stay with a friend or relative.

Unpaid Vs. Paid

Obviously, most students would rather take a paid internship—which is probably why there’s even more competition for these spots. There’s nothing wrong with trying to land one, but in case that doesn’t work out, you can at least get academic credit if your school allows it.

And while you might not make any money, you will learn about the different job roles in a TV or radio station. If you’re unsure which career path you want to follow, working at a TV or radio station might help you figure out which position most interests you. Also, you get to network and make contacts, which can help when you graduate and start looking for a job in broadcast journalism.

How To Get The Story First And Not Get Scooped

Daily News Extra!

If you spend time on social media, you might have seen the story of nine-year-old reporter Hilde Kate Lysiak, who broke the story of a murder in her small town of Selinsgove, Pennsylvania—beating adult journalists to the scene. Not long after, critics took to social media to suggest someone her age would be better off “having tea parties” or “playing with dolls” than covering serious crimes like a murder. Lysiak later read the list of complaints in a YouTube video, and went on to say, “If you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computers and do something about the news. There, is that cute enough for you?”

Lysiak later told the Washington Post she received a tip from a reliable source, confirmed it, and went to the crime scene. She then posted the story on her digital and print newspaper, Orange Street News, hours before The Daily Item, a local community paper newspaper that declined to comment for the Post article. Her father, author and former New York Daily news reporter Matthew Lysiak, said there were no other reporters at the scene of the crime when she arrived.

Although the Post story only mentioned the local newspaper, Selinsgrove appears to be part of the Harrisburg DMA, which is 44 on the Nielsen ranking list. Stations that serve small towns in addition to larger ones don’t always have the resources to cover crimes in the smaller, outlying areas. In these cases, an assignments editor may choose to report the story based on the information in a police report rather than sending a crew to the scene.

Getting Scooped Happens

Every journalist wants to be the first to report on a big story, and many TV stations place a high value on bragging that they were “first on the scene” or “first to bring you the news of such-and-such event.” While no reporter or media organization can be first to the scene of every story, you should aim to get the scoop more than you get scooped.

There are a lot of reasons reporters and producers lose the opportunity to break a story. Sometimes it simply isn’t possible—in smaller markets, stations may only have one or two reporter/photographer teams on duty, especially during slow news times, like overnight. If news happens and all your available teams are on the other side of town covering other stories, but your competitor happens to have a crew nearby, you may be out of luck. Stations in larger markets have the opposite problem—they have more reporters and photographers, but they also have more news.

Avoidable Causes of Losing a Big Reveal

While some missed opportunities aren’t avoidable, many are. Sometimes, especially in smaller markets, the person assigned to monitor the news room’s police scanner simply misses something. Maybe he or she steps out of the room at the wrong moment. Maybe something sounds less newsworthy than it actually turns out to be. Plus paying attention to the scanner isn’t the only way to gather news—some reporters have missed out on major leads because they ignored a viewer tip that sounded like a crank call, but wasn’t.

The Police Scanner Is Your Friend

If it’s your job to monitor the police scanner, pay attention and remember just hearing the radio isn’t enough. It’s easy to get focused on a task, like stacking the next show, and hear something without really processing it—especially if you’re used to the sound of routine conversations between the police dispatcher and patrol officers. That’s why it’s helpful to have other people in the newsroom listening at the same time—a coworker might hear something that you’ve missed because you were concentrating on writing an intro to a package, for example. If you happen to have interns, teaching them what to listen for on a scanner can be a good learning experience for them, and take some pressure off you.

But sometimes you may be alone in the newsroom if you work in a smaller station—or, your coworkers might all be as distracted as you. It’s a good idea to train yourself to listen for specific things that are out of the ordinary—an increase in chatter on the radio, for example, over the normal level, might signify something is happening beyond a traffic ticket. You should also familiarize yourself with the codes dispatchers and officers use. While there are far too many to memorize all of them, you should make note of the ones that indicate the most newsworthy events, like a homicide, bomb threat, car accident, etc. After you’ve been listening to the scanner for a while, you should have yourself trained to take notice whenever you hear one. Keeping a comprehensive list of codes handy is also helpful, in case you hear a less-common one you can’t place.

…But Not Your Only Friend

While the police scanner is a great tool for any news organization, it’s not the only one. Most stations also maintain a “tip line” for viewers to call in when they witness news, a link to report news on the station’s website, or both. As you might guess, this setup can attract crank calls, and you should always take anything you get from these sources with a grain of salt until you confirm—but you should try to confirm the information, no matter how kooky the person delivering it might seem.

If you receive a phone call or email about potential news, ask appropriate follow-up questions. Where is this news event happening? Have the appropriate authorities been contacted, if necessary? Does the caller have any video or pictures of the news event? Sometimes a quick call to your press contacts at the local police or fire departments can confirm or refute a story quickly. If the claim doesn’t involve a call to authorities, you may be able to find the answer by searching on the internet.

Don’t Forget Social Media

Not every viewer with a great tip is going to call a tip line or use the appropriate link on your station’s website. Sometimes audience members may just post something on your Facebook page or Tweet a tip to your official Twitter account. Even if you’re busy, it’s a good idea to frequently check your social media accounts, if only briefly. You may just get a big tip that turns out to be legitimate. On the other hand, if a viewer is mistaken, confused, or just getting a good laugh out of posting lies on the station’s social media feeds, you want to know so you can delete the posts—or respond with a correct version of the story.

How You Look at a Story Is Important, Too

Sometimes you might cover a story, but miss a bigger related piece of news. This is easy to do when you’re focused on reporting the facts, especially if you’re working under a tight deadline. Once you’ve written your script, however, it can help to think about the story and all its angles. Have you missed something? Could this news affect any particular public figure, or maybe a group of people in the community?

If you have time, it’s always helpful to do an internet search on people involved in crimes or accidents, whether you consider the story newsworthy or not. Even if the event seems cut-and-dried, you never know what might turn up. It could be the guy who just got arrested on a drunk-and-disorderly charge is running for City Council. While drunk-and-disorderly stories usually aren’t that newsworthy—except on a really slow news day—it’s always interesting to viewers if a local politician is arrested, even on a misdemeanor charge. Or you might find out a company that just received a lucrative city contract is run by someone related to the mayor or a City Council member. Considering all the angles might open up new opportunities to report on a big story.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

How To Make A Great Audition Video

Making an audition video

Most broadcast journalism students who want to pursue an on-air career make an audition video in their senior year, prior to applying for jobs in the industry. (These are sometimes called audition or demo reels, although those technologies have been replaced by DVDs, uploading your video as part of an online submission process, or providing a link to your work.) You’ll have more footage to work with after you have produced several projects. Still, it’s never a bad idea to start thinking about the kind of footage you want to use. You might want to record some special material—in particular, stand-ups—for use on your audition reel.

Keep it Short

Most audition videos should be no more than four or five minutes, although two or three minutes is acceptable and sometimes preferable. Station managers, news directors, and other people who make hiring decisions at TV stations are busy people with many other job functions. They also receive, on average, dozens or even hundreds of audition videos every month (this varies a bit depending on the size of the station). In the spring, when most journalism students graduate, that number increases. The bigger the station, the more videos they have to sift through.

What does that mean for you? It means some hiring managers may not have time to watch every audition video. They may choose some to watch based on the attached resumes, so it’s important to make sure yours is in good shape. It’s a good idea to ask a professor, if he or she has time, to look over your resume and make suggestions. Make sure to include any work you did for the school’s TV or radio station, even if it was unpaid or required for a class. Also include any internships, and part-time or summer jobs at local broadcasters.

Assuming the person in charge of hiring decides to watch your video, he or she probably won’t view the whole thing. Again, people in those positions are busy and overwhelmed with audition videos. Even if they like you, they’ll probably just watch the first 30 or 60 seconds, or they may fast-forward to the next clip to see if there’s anything different on the video.

What Does That Mean for Me?

That means it’s important to grab your viewer’s attention right away. Some professors recommend putting a slate (also known as a graphic) at the beginning and end with your name and contact info. This doesn’t have to stay up for more than a few seconds at the beginning—if interested, a hiring manager can always rewind and freeze the frame.

The first piece of video that rolls should be your best work. In three minutes, you could put six thirty-second packages on your tape, or four thirty-second packages and two sixty-second stories, or various other combinations. You can also include a montage of stand-ups and live shots. If you think some of your packages are slightly better, you should start and end with the best ones.

How Do I Decide?

This can be a tough one, especially if you have regularly appeared on a school TV station, and make a point to save a copy of all your videos. There may be some you can rule out right away—ones where you stumbled on a sentence, or experience technical difficulties, for example. (Of course those things happen in television and provide good learning opportunities, but they shouldn’t be on your audition video.)

You should also make sure you were professionally dressed in any video you’re considering. Most students have at least a few clips of themselves in jeans and a t-shirt, because it’s easy to forget you’re going to shoot a story or anchor the news at your school TV station later. You may also have outdoor videos where the wind has messed up your hair, tugged your tie crooked, etc. Those shouldn’t be on your audition reel either.

Audition video footage should show you in the type of clothing you’d wear to a job interview—a suit jacket or blazer, dress shirt or blouse, and matching pants or skirt. Not all TV stations require men to wear ties on-air today, but it won’t hurt to wear one. You might be able to get away with wearing flip-flops if your feet don’t show in the video, but remember you’ll be expected to wear real shoes to work when you get a job. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid t-shirts, tank tops, jeans, shorts, sequins, and anything you would wear to the beach or a nightclub.

Keep in mind that most TV stations won’t hire someone with purple hair, a nose ring, or a lot of highly visible tattoos for an on-air position. Of course you have the right to express yourself, and you could argue that a reporter with unicorn hair is just as skilled a journalist as a reporter with a more traditional hairdo. You’d probably be right—in fact, you might even be able to find a person with green hair and a nose-to-ear chain who can out-investigate someone who looks like a clone of David Muir.

But, whether you like it or not, TV hiring managers will pass up anyone who doesn’t fit with the image they want to project for their stations. You could argue that they should care more about journalistic skill than conforming to an image, but the fact is most broadcasters care about both when making hiring decisions.

Buying professional-looking clothes can be expensive, and not everyone can afford it after paying for tuition, books, etc. Thrift stores sometimes have gently-used career clothes at a low cost. You might also be able to borrow a suit jacket from a friend before going to shoot something for your campus TV station.

Variety is a Good Thing

If possible, you should show clips of yourself both anchoring and reporting. Also try to use video in different locations—maybe one outdoor shot, one at the news desk, another at an indoor news scene. Try to make sure you’re not wearing the same thing in every clip you use—that tells the hiring manager you shot a bunch of stuff in one day to make your audition reel, and you don’t have much experience.

A variety of news topics is also a good thing. You should have some serious stories—about the economy, politics, or crime, for example—interspersed with more lighthearted, or even humorous, topics—sporting events, local fairs/carnivals, concerts, local person who did something unusual or set a record, stories about animals, etc. This shows that you’re versatile, and a less serious story is an opportunity to prove you’re able to try new things and poke fun at yourself—say, letting a monkey climb on your head at the local zoo. Being a good sport is an important part of being a journalist.

Audition Videos Aren’t Just For On-Air Positions

If you seek a job as a producer, newscast director, photographer, or one of many other off-air positions, you should have video of newscasts you produced, directed, etc. You will need to explain in your cover letter what you contributed to the video you’re submitting. For example: “I’ve attached a sample of three packages I shot, then edited per the reporter’s instructions.” By being precise and to-the-point, you’ll grab the attention of a potential employer while showing off your diverse strengths.

How To Read The News Like A Professional News Anchor

Reading the news off a teleprompter may sound easy, but it’s actually more complicated than it seems. Anchors and reporters have to develop a reading style that seems natural, but isn’t too fast, too slow, too nuanced, too accented, too high-pitched, too quiet, or any other extreme. Reading news like a professional news anchor requires skill, practice, and training.

Practice Makes Perfect

Photo by New York Film Academy.

The best way to start is to practice reading news stories that you’ve written for class. If your school has a student TV station, doing some on-air work there is also helpful, as you’ll probably be able to get a recording of it afterward. You can also record yourself with various apps on your phone.

It’s hard to be objective about your own reading, so it’s a good idea to ask others their honest opinions. Does your reading sound natural? Is it hard to understand for any reason? Would your listeners want to hear you read more?

Things to Work On

Speed is one important consideration when reading the news. If you read too slowly, viewers may get bored and impatient and consider changing the channel. If you read too fast, viewers may have a hard time understanding you. Typically, news anchors read between 150 and 175 words per minute, and some stations may time new reporters or anchors to get a baseline for that individual’s usual reading speed.

If you find you’re talking too fast, it may be helpful to concentrate on enunciating clearly — sometimes this helps people slow down. Of course, people often talk faster when they’re anxious, and your first time reading a story on-air can be nerve-wracking, so sometimes the problem resolves itself after you’ve simply spent more time doing the job.

Talking too slowly is less common for students learning to read the news, but if this is a problem you can ask the teleprompter operator at your campus station to intentionally go a little faster than you. (Practice this for a while when you’re not actually on-air!) If you’re practicing by yourself, you can try reading from a computer or tablet screen and scroll through the words a little faster.

Sounding Natural and Conversational

Photo by New York Film Academy.

Another common problem students face when learning to read the news is learning to sound as if they’re not reading — something that is much harder than it sounds!

Most of us sound very different when we read something aloud than when we’re having a conversation with friends. It’s also very easy to sound robotic when you’ve been reading for a long time and your attention has started to wander, which can easily happen to an anchor, particularly during a slow news day or a repetitive morning show.

You can practice by reading a news story and pretending that you’re telling it to a friend. You don’t want to ad-lib or change the wording (which may be more formal than the way you normally speak), but you should otherwise talk conversationally. This can be difficult, especially if you’re also trying to speak more slowly or enunciate more clearly, but sounding natural is an important aspect of reading the news. After all, if viewers wanted to hear the news in a monotone, they could just ask Siri to read the day’s headlines.

Accents and Dialects

There are many different “accents” and regionalisms associated with American English. Depending on where you grew up, others may perceive an accent. If you learned English as a second language, you may have an accent associated with your first language.

While there is no single correct accent for American English, most broadcasters prefer reporters speak with a General American accent (most common in the mid-west and on the west coast)—or as close to it as you can reasonably get. Some people already do this, but for those with a strong accent, becoming more linguistically neutral can be difficult.

If you find you have a strong accent, you can listen to reporters or anchors who read the national news—those reading to the entire country have to be the most linguistically neutral—and practice speaking like them. Sometimes it’s helpful to listen to one sentence, pause the recording, and repeat it a few times yourself, then listen to it again. It may not be possible to get rid of your accent entirely, but if you can move it closer to General American, you will probably improve your prospects of finding an on-air job.

If you have difficulty shaking a strong accent, you might consider working in an area where that accent is common. Although General American is preferred in most places, the tendency to speak with a southern drawl likely won’t be as much of a problem in the south as it might be in other parts of the country, for example.

Of course, it should be noted that the United States has a vibrant foreign language news media. The most obvious is Spanish language, but there are Chinese, Korean and Japanese news operations as well. Univision and Telemundo (owned by NBC) are national networks, with local affiliated stations. The other languages tend to be represented by small, generally local outlets.

Adjusting Tone for Content

In general, when you read you should sound moderately upbeat, but not overly chipper. However, you’ll need to adjust your tone when reading somber stories, like those involving deaths or serious injuries. Sometimes slowing down and speaking more quietly can help you convey the seriousness of a sad situation.

This should extend to the whole story, including the reporter’s “standard out” and anchor tags. Recently there was a news story about the death of a twelve-year-old boy in a house fire. The reporter sounded appropriately somber while reading the details of the story. However, when she read her “standard out” (usually something like “Reporting live, Jane Doe for XYZ News”), she suddenly sounded very upbeat and chipper. My guess is that she practiced her standard out this way, and it probably worked fine for most news topics. Unfortunately, in this case it was a sharp contrast to the rest of the story and seemed both jarring and awkward.

For this reason, it’s also helpful if producers can plan content to avoid going directly from an extremely sad story to a happy one. There is no good way to transition from reading about a tragedy to “So, I hear we had an exciting day in the world of sports! Tell us more about that, Bob!” If you can wedge a more neutral story or a commercial break between sad stories and happy ones, you’ll be doing both the anchor and the viewers a big favor.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

Apply Now for a Broadcast Journalism Program

How To Stack A News Show

An on-air interview

What is Stacking a Show?

“Stacking a show” is a phrase broadcasters use to describe putting the segments of a newscast together. Usually the job of a producer, stacking the show is done after assignments are given—in other words, after the show’s topics have been chosen. However, new events can happen between the time of the morning news meeting and the five o’clock news, and stories frequently need to be rearranged multiple times before the show.

Where to Start

At the news meeting, the show’s producer or producers, reporters, an assignments editor, and usually the news director will discuss various story ideas. Sometimes these are continuations or new angles of news from the previous day or few days (“latest developments,” “new information,” etc.). Some are completely new events—say, a robbery in progress caught on the police scanner. On slow news days, meeting attendees may kick around human-interest or “in-depth look” type ideas when hard news is scarce. In most stations, each reporter is expected to offer at least one story suggestion each day.

The assignments editor usually decides what stories will be covered and what angles the reporter covering the story should look into. In some stations, the assignments editor chooses the general story, and the producer picks an angle. (If there is a big disagreement, the news director may make the final call.) Each story is then assigned to a reporter/photographer team. Frequently reporters are assigned the stories they pitched, but sometimes schedules and assignments have to be juggled for a variety of reasons.

Once assignments have been given, the producer begins creating a skeleton of the show, which at this point mostly consists of putting the stories in the order they are expected to air. Software varies from station to station, but generally the producer uses a program to create a show rundown (simply a list of everything appearing in the show in order), in addition to filling in each segment with scripts and directions for the production crew. Each segment can be moved if priorities change throughout the day.

What Goes First?

The A block is the first block of the show, usually slated for the biggest news stories of the day. Typically, a show will open with a brief tease of the two or three biggest subjects to be covered, a brief standard intro in which the anchors introduce themselves (“I’m so-and-so and this is your five o’clock news on such-and-such channel,” or something similar), then the top story. Some stations have a policy of doing a brief check of the weather near the top of every show, while others simply tease the weather report coming up in a later block, unless severe weather is imminent. Whoever is doing the weather usually has a small control device in his/her hand, which will change the CGI content being used. It is easier for the air talent to do it, since the CG operator might have to guess when to change given that there isn’t an actual script.

So, what’s the top story of the day? Sometimes the answer is easy. For example, if you work in a small market station (where most reporters begin their careers), where there is little hard news, you may only have one big news event a day. (Some days you may not have any, and you might have to lead with weather.) Generally, crimes, accidents, fires, and any type of new legislation from local government are all good contenders for the top spot.

If you have multiple options, you should usually start with crimes or accidents that involve death or serious injury, in that order. If there is more than one such event, go with the one that involves more people, if possible. This also works when you have multiple less-serious events, such as car accidents—if there were no deaths or injuries, a four-car pile-up beats a two-car fender-bender.

The rest of the A block should follow roughly the same pattern, going from serious accidents/crimes to more minor offenses or accidents. Local government news might go anywhere in the A block, depending on how important it is to a large number of viewers—typical city council meetings might warrant a brief mention near the end of the A block, but if a new law has been passed, that story might be closer to the front of the show. It could even lead if there was no other hard news to report. On the other hand, if the mayor was just arrested for purchasing the services of a prostitute or embezzling city funds, that story should be near the top of the show, if not the lead.

Should it be the lead? This can be a tough call. Will the majority of people be more interested in the mayor’s arrest than a story about a family killed in a car accident? Obviously both stories are newsworthy, but which one should you lead with? The car accident is sad, and involved multiple deaths, but the majority of viewers don’t personally know the victims, and won’t be directly affected. On the other hand, almost everyone knows of the mayor, who shapes or influences policies and laws all residents of the city are expected to follow. In this case, it might make more sense to lead with the local government corruption story, and follow with the car accident story.

In general, if you’re having a hard time choosing an order for two topics, it’s a good idea to think about how many people will be affected by each one, and put the story you think affects more of the viewing audience first. Some stations also take a cue from social media, teasing several stories for the upcoming newscast on Twitter or Facebook. If there is no clear-cut lead story, you can look at which one gathered more comments/shares/re-tweets to gauge audience interest.

The Rest of the Show

The rest of the show is usually divided into three or four blocks. These can vary by station, but usually one is dedicated to weather, another to national news and/or human interest type stories, and another to sports.

Weather is fairly easy to block, as the meteorologist usually ad-libs and doesn’t need any scripts. He or she will let the graphics operator know what needs to appear on the green screen, and in what order. Similarly, the sports director usually chooses the order of stories in his or her block and relays that to the producer.

The national news block should go in order of importance, although national stories, by nature, are important to most viewers. Deaths of VIPs or tragedies involving mass casualties usually lead. As we discussed in a previous article, if you end on a lighter story, try to add a more neutral topic in the middle for an easier transition.

The final block is usually brief, and involves a quick check of the weather, followed by what’s called a kicker—video of an upbeat event so the show can end on a pleasant note. Concerts, fairs, sporting events, spelling bees and other school events all make good kicker video. If there’s time (like on a slow news day), try a lighthearted national story—new world records, or human-interest stories about people doing anything unusual are good topics. The most important thing about the kicker is to have plenty of cover video, which will usually continue after the anchors sign off until the next commercial or network program rolls.

Other Considerations

In addition to choosing an order for stories, you will also need to write technical instructions for the director and production crew, letting them know what video and audio need to be “punched up” at any given time. This allows camera operators to prepare their shots, graphics operators to get graphics ready, audio operators to plan when to open and close mics, and the director to be prepared for all of the above. These technical considerations will be discussed in more detail in a future article.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

The Ultimate List Of Broadcast Journalism Terms

The Ultimate List of Broadcast Journalism Jobs

The amount of technical jargon in the world of journalism—often even for very simple concepts—is notorious, and even if you’ve spent a few years at broadcast journalism school there will still be terms that’ll inevitably mystify you when starting your career.

But fret not! Below you’ll find a glossary of the most common broadcast journalism terms, as well as definitions for the most confusing and ambiguous lingo still used today:

Common Broadcast Journalism Terms & Slang

Advocacy Journalism – In which the reporter or journalist openly declares their stance on an issue while attempting to espouse it with factual reporting.

Active Proceedings – Any ongoing judicial case in which the activities of journalists may impede or subvert the proceedings, typically spanning between the arrest of a suspect and sentencing. Those who contravene reporting restrictions on active proceedings may be held in contempt of court.

Actuality – Sometimes shortened to “act.” Any audio recording taken outside of the studio on location (typically referred to as a sound bite in radio; see below.)

Anchor – News anchors are responsible for presenting stories on-camera, usually from a studio location though work can take place in the field. See our broadcast journalism jobs page for more info on the different professions within the field.

AP Stylebook – The Associated Press Stylebook, commonly adhered to as the industry standard on formatting and word usage in news writing.

A-Roll – The main portion of audio video footage in a news story.

Aston – An increasingly uncommon term for the strap line, more popularly known in broadcast journalism as the lower third (see below)

Attribution – The written phrase that identifies the source of a fact, opinion, or quote in a story.

Back Timing – The practice of rehearsing the final segment of a news broadcast and timing it; during the live broadcast, the director may then speed up or slow down this segment to coincide with the scheduled finishing time of the program.

Backgrounder – A story used to provide history and context to a current news story.

Beats – The areas of expertise in which a journalist or reporter covers on a regular basis and on an in-depth level, such as politics, health, or law enforcement.

Beat Checks – A list of established contacts that a beat reporter will frequently touch base to find or develop a story. These could include the local law enforcement agency, city council, hospital, or other sources.

Blind Interview – More common in print than in broadcast journalism, a blind or off-the-record interview is one in which the interviewee is intentionally left unaccredited (also known as a non-attributable.)

Bridge – An audio track linking between two news items.

Breakbumper – A short (2-10 second) indent used as filler leading into and out of commercial breaks. Often shortened to “bump,” but not to be confused with the verb of the same name (to bump a story is to place it higher or lower on the scale of priority.)

B-Roll – Supplementary material to complement the A-Roll, such as establishing shots or graphical overlays.

Chroma Key – Also known as green screening. See this post for further information.

Chyron – The words on the screen that identify speakers, locations, or story subjects. Chryon is a trade name for a type of character generator. 

Citizen Journalism – Reporting which takes place outside of what is usually considered mainstream media, predominantly carried out by members of the public without formal training. Can include the work of bloggers and social media platforms.

Closed-Ended Question  A direct question intended to elicit a yes-or-no answer as opposed to an open-ended question intended to encourage a lengthy answer.

Cold Copy – News script not previously read by the reporter until the camera is rolling. Sometimes referred to by the slang term “rip n’ read.”

Cold Open – Any type of video which rolls before the camera cuts to the anchors, usually featuring a voice over and ending on a form of cliffhanger.

Correspondent – A reporter who files stories from outside the newsroom—usually someone assigned to cover events in another city, state, or country.

Crawl – AKA the news ticker, a thin bar of scrolling text which informs viewers of any upcoming breaking news or weather alerts.

Cutaway – A shot of something other than the main action of an action sequence. In an interview, the cutaway is usually a shot of the reporter listening as the source talks. Necessary to maintain continuity and avoid jump cuts.

Dateline – The specific location where a reporter is delivering a story. Usually announced in the sign-out or sign-off.

Donut – A produced news package with a live shot, with a live intro, and tag.

Downcut – Chopping off the end of a story or sound bite. Opposite of upcut.

Effort – A verb in newsrooms, as in “I am efforting that package to have it ready for tonight’s broadcast.”

Feature – A non-breaking news story on people, trends, or issues. A feature story isn’t necessarily related to a current event.

Feed – A satellite or microwave transmission of live or recorded material.

Follow-Up – A story updating or supplying additional details about an event that’s been previously covered.

Fullscreen Graphic or FS – A still or animated image, usually computer generated, that takes up the whole screen.

Happy Talk – Casual, informal, and light-hearted chatter between the anchors. Can be used as a form of bumper.

Hard News – The news of the day. Factual coverage of serious, timely events (crime, war, business, politics, etc.)

Hit or Glitch – Any distortion or technical distraction in video or audio.

Hot or Overmodulated – Either too loud (hot audio) or too bright (hot video). Engineers often say that hot video “blooms” on screen.

Hot Roll – When a crew in the field doesn’t have enough time to feed back footage to the newsroom, so they must roll it live from the truck during the broadcast.

Human Interest – A news story focusing on a personality or individual’s story with wide appeal to a general audience.

IFB or Interrupt Feedback – The earpiece through which a director or producer instructs a correspondent in the field or anchor in the studio. The producer interrupts whatever feedback the reporter is getting in the earpiece.

Join in Progress (JIP) – A direction to the control room to cut to a broadcast already in progress.

Jump Cut – An edit in a news package that interrupts continuity. Example: an interviewee speaking followed immediately by another shot of the same interviewee speaking at a different time, so the image “jumps.” Avoided by using cutaways or b-roll.

Kicker – A light story that ends a newscast.

Lead – The key information of the story, usually presented at the beginning of the segment. Not to be confused with the “lead story,” being the first presented in the broadcast and often the highest in priority (confusingly also referred to as the “lead.”)

Leading Questions – Questions intended to steer an interviewee in a particular direction.

Lip Flap – Video of somebody talking, with the audio portion muted. Happens when using video of people being interviewed as B-roll. Avoid it.

Live – Put on the air in real time, not pre-recorded or pre-produced.

Lower Third – The bottom third of the frame containing text information regarding the current story, the anchors’ or interviewee’s identification, and other relevant captions.

Miscue – An error in which footage or audio is played before its intended time, resulting in overlapping elements in the broadcast.

MOS – An acronym for “man on street” interview, in which a reporter on location gets spontaneous sound bites comprised of reactions to a story from members of the public. Also referred to as “vox populi.

NATSOT or NAT Package – A type of pre-produced package that has no reporter track; the only audio is the natural sound of the video being shown. It may also use interview sound bites. Often used to convey the mood or atmosphere at a scene or an event.

NAT Sound – Natural sound on video that the microphone picks up. Example: Including sound of a rally with video of a rally.

News Envelope – A summary segment in which the main headlines are broadcast in brief (around a minute or less.) May have local or national sponsorship.

OC or On Cam – Abbreviation for “on camera.”

On Camera Bridge or OC Bridge – The reporter appearing on camera in the middle of the story. Used for transition between voiceovers or soundbites, or when there is no video to talk over.

Open-Ended Question – A question phrased in a way that encourages a source to give a lengthy, in-depth answer—as opposed to a closed-ended question designed to elicit a yes/no answer.

Outcue – The final three or four words of a news package, included in scripts to signal to the anchor and control room staff when the package is about to end so they can cue the next element in the program.

Over the Shoulder Graphic or OTS or OC Box – A graphic that appears over the anchor’s shoulder.

Package (sometimes Wrap) – A pre-recorded, pre-produced news story, usually by a reporter, with track, sound, B-roll, and possibly a stand-up.

POV or Point-of-View Shot – B-roll shot from the perspective of the subject, illustrating what the subject sees or saw at a given moment.

Production Element – Any piece of audio which is intended for use within the final mix, i.e. jingles, music, sound effects, and other station-specific audio.

Promo – Promotional announcement. In effect, an advertisement for a program a station or channel is carrying.

Pronouncer – Phonetic spelling of word in story, placed in copy behind correctly spelled word.

PSA – Abbreviation for “Public Service Announcement.”

Raw Video – Unedited video, just as it was shot. Also called field video.

Reader – A script read entirely by the anchor on camera, without sound bites or video.

Remote – A live shot from the field, where a satellite truck is required to transmit the image.

Rundown – An electronic or paper form created by the line producer of a news broadcast. Gives specific details of every element in a newscast, including the order of stories, video, audio, and graphic elements and timing for each.

ROSR – Radio On Scene Report. Audio broadcast from the scene of a breaking news story, or shortly in the wake of recent events.

Rundown – An electronic or paper form created by the line producer of a news broadcast. Gives specific details of every element in a newscast, including the order of stories, video, audio and graphic elements and timing for each.

Sidebar – A small story, graphic, or chart accompanying a bigger story on the same topic.

Sign Off, Sig, Sig Out – Reporter giving name and dateline at the end of a package or report.

Slate – A full-screen graphic, shown on screen before the beginning of pre-produced video which identifies the story title, the reporter’s name, and the total running time. Only for newsroom use; not meant for broadcast.

Slug – The name given to a story for newsroom use.

SOT or Sound Bit – “Sound on Tape.” A recorded comment, usually audio and video, from a news source other than the anchor, narration, or voiceover, played during a news story. Usually an edited portion of a larger statement.

Spot – A commercial.

Stacking – Lining up stories within a newscast based on their important and relationship to one another.

Stagger-through – A full rehearsal of the show.

Standup – A reporter speaking to camera, not covered by video.

Studio (in the) – A story updating or supplying additional details about an event that has been previously covered.

Still – A still image as opposed to a moving video image. Stills can be used to illustrate a story and can sometimes be displayed over track or interview clips instead of video footage.

Sting  A brief piece of music, typically less than fifteen seconds, used to punctuate the end of a segment or story. The sting is often the station’s own jingle. 

Stop Set  The time allotted to any commercial breaks within the broadcast.

Survey Week, Sweeps Week – The week in which a station’s viewership is monitored and rated.

Switch – An instruction given to the control room to cut to another camera or video source.

Tag – A paragraph at the end of a news story, usually delivered by the anchor, that provides additional information or sums up the item.

Tease  A short description of an upcoming story designed to keep the viewer watching through commercial breaks.

Tight on – A direction to the camera crew to zoom in on a subject so that they fill the shot (e.g. “Tight on anchor/guest.”)

Time Code – The time signature on a camera or recording device—actual time a story is being shot on a 24-hour basis, i.e., 1300 is 1 p.m., 0900 is 9 a.m. Includes hours, minutes, seconds, and video frames.

Toss – When an anchor or reporter turns over a portion of the show to another anchor or reporter.

Track – The reporter’s written and recorded script in a news package.

Tracking – The act of recording a script.

TRT – “Total running time.” The length of an edited package.

Two-Shot – Most often an interview guest and the back of the reporter’s head. Also used to refer to any shot including two people; two anchors at a single news desk, for instance.

Upcut – Chopping off the beginning of the audio or video of a shot or video story. Opposite of downcut.

Video Journalist or VJ – A reporter who shoots his or her own video and may even edit it. Also referred to as a “Multimedia Journalist.”

Videographer – A name for a photographer or cameraperson.

VO or Voiceover – “Voiceover” followed by “sound on tape.” A news script, usually read live, that includes video, track, and at least one sound bite.

VOSOT – “Voiceover” followed by “sound on tape.” A news script, usually read live, that includes video, track, and at least one sound bite.

Watermark – A semi-transparent graphic, usually the station’s logo, placed in one corner of the broadcast feed.

Woodshedding – The practice of annotating a news script to denote which words should be spoken with emphasis.

Know of any other terms which should be included here? Any that are still causing confusion and warrant further explanation? Head on down to the comments and let’s make the murky world of broadcast journalism terms a little clearer!

[su_note]With 4-week, 8-week, and 12-week intensive, hands-on programs, our Broadcast Journalism programs offer students and introduction to the fundamentals of creating, producing, and editing digital news. Learn more about our programs on the Broadcast Journalism School page.[/su_note]

How To Nail An Interview As A News Reporter

Broadcast Journalist Gabriela Naplatanova interviews on camera

As a journalism student, you’ve probably learned a lot of different techniques for interviewing people. Being open and friendly, putting the interviewee at ease, asking the important questions even if they’re difficult—these are all good tips. But not every technique works in every situation. It’s important to learn how to quickly size up a situation—and a person—so you can determine the best way to proceed.

Watch Body Language

Depending on the situation, your subject may be open and friendly, or closed-off and uncommunicative. Sometimes body language is easy to read, but some individuals have great poker faces.

In general, you should watch for abrupt changes in body language. A person who suddenly breaks eye contact or looks away may be hiding something. If possible, you should try to make small talk about things unrelated to the interview’s topic for a few minutes before getting down to business. This lets you see what gestures, facial expressions, and tone and pitch of voice are normal for the interviewee, so you can be aware if there’s a big change.

Breaking the Ice is a Good Idea for Other Reasons, Too

Aside from granting more insight into the individual’s normal body language, chitchat can have other benefits. You may not always have time to talk about the weather or your subject’s favorite sports team, but if you do, it’s usually time well spent. Chatting about something relatively inconsequential can help put the subject at ease. It also allows you to establish rapport, and helps the subject see you as a human being rather than a scary person with a camera.

You don’t have to stick to the weather—in fact, it’s best if you can talk about something the subject finds interesting. Look around the person’s office or home for clues—sports memorabilia, movie posters, etc. People often open up when you ask about subjects that most interest them. Once they feel comfortable with you, it will be much easier to quiz them about other topics.

Again, it’s important to read the situation. If your subject seems impatient, answers all your small-talk questions with one-word answers, or suggests that he or she is in a hurry, it’s probably best to move on to the actual interview.

What If the Subject Doesn’t Want to Open Up?

What do you do when the individual at the center of a big news story won’t talk to you? Continuing to badger the person is generally a bad idea. The more you irritate people, the less they’re going to want to talk to you.

Instead, interview other involved parties. Keep going until you find someone close to the story who’s willing to talk—an employee, a friend, a coworker, etc. However, you should remember that people willing to talk to you about a big scandal may have an ax to grind, so it’s essential to fact-check their answers.

After you’ve spoken to others, another technique is to tell the person you really want to interview that you’d like their comments on X thing that Y said. Be specific enough to concern them, but vague enough that they have to ask you for clarification. For example: “I know you said you didn’t want to talk to the media about this issue, and I respect that, but I’d like to give you the chance to respond to your assistant Bob Jones’ comments about your campaign funding sources. If you’re interested in telling your side of the story, call me at….”

A word of caution: Don’t tell subjects you’re going to help rehab their image or make them look good—that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen, not to mention highly unethical and an example of media bias. As a reporter, your goal is to find and report the truth in the most unbiased way possible.

Do assure the subject that you want to examine both sides of the story. This may discourage people who are hiding something from granting an interview, but it can also get great stories out of people who are simply scared or feel they haven’t been accurately portrayed by the media. You can’t/shouldn’t promise someone good publicity, but you can assure the person you’ll make every effort to quote him or her accurately (which is something you should do anyway).

Asking the Hard Questions

Sometimes it can be intimidating to ask an interview subject, especially a powerful or well-known individual, difficult questions, especially ones that involve allegations of illegal or unethical behavior. Even if you don’t feel intimidated, it’s important to tread carefully—your boss will not be happy if you start making baseless accusations and ticking people off.

Here are some tips:

  • Prepare for the interview by thoroughly checking out the information you’ve received, and considering the source. If at all possible, fact-check the story yourself. If you’ve received allegations about a criminal activity, ask the source if he or she has reported the crime, and if not, why? If the source isn’t available for comment, you may want to check with your station’s legal department or counsel, if it has one, before venturing further.
  • When you interview the subject, be specific and explain the source of your information. If it’s an anonymous source, say just that—it’s better than letting the subject think you’re just pulling ideas from thin air. “Mr. Mayor, we received an anonymous tip from someone claiming to be one of your campaign staffers. This person says you wrote checks out of the campaign fund for personal items, including a $500 barbecue for your backyard. How do you respond to that?”
  • Don’t argue with the subject or accuse him or her of lying. Do reiterate what the person said and ask if you’re understanding the answer. “So you’re saying that you never purchased a $500 barbecue out of your campaign account? Is that right?”
  • If you have evidence the person is lying, follow up with another question asking for clarification. “Then how do you explain this copy of a canceled check on your campaign account for $500 to Joe’s Barbecues? Is that your signature?”
  • Remain calm and professional, even if the subject gets angry and starts yelling. Never get angry and start yelling back. Simply repeat your question in a calm manner.
  • You may hear something along the lines of, “You’re trying to make me look bad!” A good comeback is, “I’m just trying to gather the facts. I asked you a simple yes-or-no question. Did you sign the check or not?”
  • But don’t apologize either. Your job is to ask questions. If the subject really doesn’t want to answer, he or she can simply say, “No comment.” Yelling at a reporter for asking a question makes the interviewee look bad, not you.
  • If someone tries to duck a question, there is nothing wrong with saying, “That’s not what I asked,” or “You didn’t answer my question.” Then repeat the question.g

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

Broadcast Journalism Jobs: Is A Control Room Job Right For You?

television studio

Last week we talked about the pros and cons of on-air careers. While many people want to be in front of the camera, others prefer a behind-the-scenes job. This week we’ll discuss working in the control room or studio of a broadcast organization.

Control Room Or Production Jobs

TV and radio stations employ a variety of people to work in technical positions. A Production Assistant position is a classic entry level job. A PA is usually assigned to take care of  the many small, detail-oriented tasks that are essential to a successful program: distributing scripts, tracking down story elements (graphics, footage), and generally assisting the Show Producer in an always hectic production environment. That can mean everything from getting the anchor a bottle of water, to timing a news package and communicating its “out cue” to the director.

Production assistant jobs usually don’t have high starting salaries, but they allow you to get your foot in the door and make contacts at a TV or radio station, even if you have no previous experience. For this reason, and because production assistant jobs are often part-time, this is an ideal job for a student studying journalism. It’s also good for a recent graduate who is unable to find another job in the field due to inexperience. You’ll learn about how a TV station works, and may be able to find a mentor for the job you want to have later. If you’re not sure what you want to do, working on a news set can help you figure it out.

Camera Operators run TV studio cameras during live shows. In addition to setting up each shot, they give visual cues to the anchors using hand signals. They take direction from the Technical Director, who gives instructions via headset. Camera operators have to pay attention, even if they have static shots that don’t change often—if something goes wrong in the control room, they may be told to make a quick move with the camera to accommodate a sudden change. For example, if a graphic is wrong, you may need to quickly adjust the camera so the anchor is centered, while the director removes the incorrect graphic to the anchor’s right or left side.

Audio or Sound Board Operators control the audio during a live broadcast. In addition to the anchors’ mics, they also handle the audio for packages, other video, theme music, and live shots. Turning microphones and other sound sources on at the right time and off at the right time are equally important, and you may be doing both almost simultaneously. This job requires good concentration—if you get distracted watching the a package and forget to turn the anchor’s mic on after it concludes, viewers are going to see a talking head with no sound. Worse, if you forget to turn off the anchor’s mic while the package runs, viewers might hear him asking if his tie is straight over the package audio. Understandably, this position can be stressful and is not for everyone, but some people enjoy the fast pace and the challenge of juggling multiple audio sources.

Graphics Operators create the show’s graphics (sometimes called keys, CG, tickers, etc.) and ensure they are available for the director to use at the appropriate time during a live broadcast. This person needs to have good technical skills and specialized training for the type of software the station uses, although some stations will train the right person. Good spelling/grammar skills and attention to detail are also essential.

TV stations used to employ Tape Deck Operators, but most broadcasters have moved to digital video. Usually, one person (whose title may vary from production assistant to digital video coordinator) is assigned to run the computer where all the videos are stored. The videos are put in order of their use during the show with video management software, and the person handling this job ensures the right video is available where and when the director expects to find it.

Often it is the Technical Director who runs the studio cameras from the Control Room. The TD responds to the Director’s commands, and puts online the specific studio shots, graphics and footage the Director calls for, using a piece of equipment called a production switcher. This complicated piece of equipment is the interface between literally dozens of video sources and the “on-air feed” that goes out to viewers.

The director job requires someone with the right temperament. If something goes wrong and you start yelling at people or arguing about whose fault it was, you will quickly turn one mistake into a string or mistakes. Fix the problem to the best of your ability, and deal with any disciplinary issues after the show is over. This is also a fast-paced and potentially stressful position, but can be enjoyable for people who like to do something different every day, as no two shows are ever exactly alike.

Some stations also employ Teleprompter Operators to run the prompter while the anchor reads. Again, you have to pay attention and learn to keep pace with how fast he or she reads. Not all stations hire for this position—some require anchors to run their own prompters, while others consider running the prompter a production assistant duty. In some stations, camera operators will take turns running the camera or the prompter.

How To Get Started In A Production Career

Most people start out running either the prompter or a studio camera, or both. If you’re not interested in moving to the news department to pursue a producing or reporting career, you may want to continue in the production department.

Assuming you do well running a camera, you may be able to move up to audio or graphics. If you think you’d like to make graphics, you might ask the graphics operator if you can watch him or her prepare the graphics before the show. (Camera operators often have some downtime between shows—just make sure the studio is properly set up before you do anything else.) After several years of experience, audio and graphics operators who have proven they work well under pressure are sometimes promoted to technical director.

If you think a production career might be right for you, the best skill you can cultivate is keeping your cool under pressure. Learn to focus on solving a problem before assigning blame.

It’s also important to understand that, as with on-air careers, working in production is not for everyone. Some people find the fast pace and rapid changes too stressful, and that’s okay. There are other behind-the-scenes careers in broadcast journalism, which we’ll discuss in a later article.

How To Cover Weather News

Meteorologist explaining the weather

As a reporter, there will likely be many times when you will have to go outside and cover a weather story. While this is normally the weather forecaster’s job, that person usually has to stay inside with the green screen and radar equipment. In a larger station, there might be multiple on-air personalities in the weather department, some of whom can stand outside while others remain in the studio. But in smaller stations (where you will likely end up after graduation, as discussed in last week’s post), this job often falls to someone in the news department. This is especially true on a slow news day, but depending on the severity of the weather, it may happen at other times as well.

What to Do When You’re Standing Outside Stating the Obvious

Frequently, this is not the most interesting type of story to cover. You may be pointing at the sky and explaining that it is raining, in case your viewers haven’t noticed. Worse, you’re unlikely to have a direct quote from Mother Nature about today’s activities.

The best thing you can do is try to plan ahead of time. Big weather events can usually be predicted, so you should get your assignment for this kind of coverage at the daily news meeting. Plan a list of weather-related things you can talk about that don’t include the obvious. Coordinate with the weather forecaster to make sure you’re not both talking about the same things, as viewers get bored easily. Most meteorologists mention standard reminders like bringing pets and plants inside when it’s cold and taking shelter in a severe thunderstorm or tornado threat. You should try to come up with other talking points.

Here are some general suggestions with examples:
• Effects the weather is having on the local economy (for example, no one is venturing out in the snow to shop; the drought is affecting local farmers)
• Problems for specific segments of the audience (community cooling centers or low-cost fan programs for people who are homeless or can’t afford to air-condition their homes; how people who have to work outdoors deal with extreme weather conditions)
• Tips about things related to weather that viewers may not have considered or had time to deal with (how to winterize your car; what to do if your basement floods; inexpensive temporary fixes for a leaky roof)
• Look for information that is relevant to viewers, which is “news you can use.” Compelling characters are at the core of every successful news stories, including the snow pile driver, the mother with the flooded basement, and the volunteer firefighter.

As with other types of news stories, you should always try to include a quote—on camera, if at all possible, but using audio from a phone conversation can work if an in-person interview isn’t going to happen. You may not be able to interview Mother Nature, but you can get a quote from the local police about road conditions, the increase in accidents they usually see with this type of weather, etc. Or you can interview a local business owner about how the weather has created challenges or opportunities for her store.

“As You Can See Here…”

Avoid this phrase. Viewers already know what they can see on the screen. If you think a visual might be confusing, just explain it with specifics. For example, “Those green bars your see in the middle of the water are actually the rails of a childrens’ slide in the park. The creek is so swollen from the last three days of rain that water has covered almost the entire slide.”

Don’t Be a Hero

You may have seen exciting viral videos of reporters clinging to traffic signs in hurricanes, shouting to be heard over the pounding of a heavy rainfall, etc. While these videos sometimes get shared a lot on social media, and might look good on your audition tape, you should still proceed with caution. Many TV stations have policies in place to prevent reporters from doing anything extremely dangerous in the name of getting a great shot. After all, no one wants to read the story about how their colleague was killed chasing a tornado.

If it isn’t too dangerous to go outside, you should still exercise caution and consider the picture and sound quality you’ll have. Even with a windscreen on your mic, sometimes weather conditions can make audio unintelligible. A news camera is an expensive piece of equipment that should be protected from rain with an umbrella—but remember that if it’s not only raining but windy, water might fly onto the lens. This probably won’t damage the camera, but it can make for a blurry live shot. Viewers at home don’t want to see the photographer’s fingers wiping the lens and doing so with wool gloves will scratch the lens. Also consider using compressed air, but never blow on the lens as eventually saliva will get mixed in, harming the lens.

One solution is the “back door” shot, where the photographer positions the camera inside the station with the back door propped open, and the reporter stands outside under an umbrella. Another alternative is to place the reporter in front of a green screen, which can have an image from the station’s permanent outdoor camera (often used in weather or to show the sunset at the end of early evening broadcasts). Yes, it will be obvious to discerning viewers that the reporter isn’t actually outside, but this is sometimes a better solution than poor picture or sound quality, and the reporter can still point out specifics in the shot.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

How To Deal With Slow News Days….Weeks…Months?

Screen shot of a slow news day

When you decided on a career in journalism, you may have imagined yourself working for a large TV station, or even a national network. However, unless you have a friend or relative who can get you a cushy job at a big-city TV station, chances are your first job will be in a small market.

Nielsen Television Markets

Nielsen divides television markets in the United States into 210 distinct regions and ranks them by “TV homes.” According to Nielsen’s latest rankings, number one—the largest market—is New York, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago. Of course, not every journalist wants to live in a large metropolis like the top three markets, but many aspire to work in a “Top 100” station.

Although some grads get lucky and land in a Top 100 station, students who have just graduated from a journalism program are most likely to find a job in a smaller market—sometimes, a very, very small market. Even students with a 4.0 average and an excellent audition video will find themselves competing with similarly impressive students from all over the country when applying for a first job in the industry. You may very well find your first job in a small-town station.

Reporting News When There is No News: Life at a Small Market Station

When you arrive at your new job in a small market, you’ll probably find that there are some days when there isn’t any news to report. It is the sad reality of any journalist who attempts to report news on a daily basis in a small town—some days nothing newsworthy happens. Sometimes those days become weeks. But you can’t just go on the air and say, “Nothing happened today, here are some extra commercials to fill the time until the national news comes on.”

Most station managers at smaller market stations will never admit this, or spell it out to employees, but your job in this situation is to make things that aren’t that newsworthy seem like they are, or to spend far more time on a single story than you would if there were other items to cover.

It goes something like this: Nothing happens. No car crashes. No fires. No one knocks over a convenience store or sues a local business or grows the world’s largest pumpkin. If you’re working on a morning show, this happens even more frequently, but even dayside reporters may find themselves victim of the news-less work shift.

So what do you do? If you’re a producer, you have to build the A block for your show. (Sometimes reporters also share this job in smaller stations.) If you’re an assignment editor, you’ll have to send reporters out to cover something. If you’re a reporter, you’ll be expected to pitch story ideas to said assignment editor.

What is an A Block?

As you may have learned in school, the A block is the first segment of the news, dedicated to the most important stories of the day (or night, if you’re blocking a morning show). What do you put there when nothing happens? Well, you’ll always have weather, the savior of TV stations on slow news days. Maybe you’ll get lucky and the meteorologist is predicting some rain.

And if you’re not lucky? Then your weather forecaster gets to tap dance, and the anchors get to make small talk with him or her. Unfortunately, this can seem forced, and can’t go on forever.

Help the Weather Forecaster Out

You can help by looking at the forecast and attempting to find weather-related stories the meteorologist can talk about. You may even find package material. For example, hot, dry weather is dull to talk about for more than a minute or two, but it may coincide with ragweed season (depending on your location, of course). You might be able to interview a local allergist about treatment options for allergies, when they should see a doctor, etc.

You can also send a photographer out to collect video of anything happening outside, thus giving the weather forecaster and anchors something to chat about.

For example: “It was so nice out today that a lot of our viewers felt compelled to have a picnic. Look at that video from Such-and-Such Park. The kids seem to be having a great time playing outside, don’t they? Look at that dog playing frisbee…”

This sort of thing isn’t groundbreaking journalism, but it provides an interesting visual, and prevents your weather person from struggling to find forty synonyms for “nice,” “pleasant,” and “warm.”

I’ve Spent as Much Time as Humanly Possible on Weather, Now What?

At some point, you’re going to have to stop talking about the weather, or viewers are going to start changing channels until they find a reality show rerun to watch. Sadly, you’re not even done with the A block.

At this point, u can start thinking about taking an in-depth look at stories that have been in the news recently, even if nothing new has happened. You don’t want to just rerun the last package on a subject, especially if you ran it three times yesterday. If you have time (and you should if there isn’t any other news), you should explore the story further. Are there other angles you haven’t considered? Are there other people you could interview? Did you do any person-on-the-street interviews previously? If not, now might be a good time to do so.

Of course, news droughts can go on for days, sometimes weeks. You may find that you’ve had only a few juicy stories in the past month, and after extrapolating and creating a new package on each of them, you still need to fill time.

At that point, start looking at localizing national stories. Resist the urge to just write an intro and tag to a package pulled from the national network. Instead, explore local angles. Find out how nearby businesses are or will be affected by new legislation. If there’s a big health story in the news, see if you can interview a local person affected by the disease or treatment. Person-on-the-street interviews can also work just as well for national stories.

Slow news cycles are also good times to do profiles on local officials or political candidates, although, as always, you have to be careful to cover them in an unbiased way. If you’re profiling the town’s mayor, don’t just repeat the PR buzz from his or her website profile. Try to get an interview with the mayor, or at least a quote from his or her publicist. Be sure to investigate what the mayor’s detractors have to say—if possible, interview one of them, and ask the mayor’s staff to respond.

You can do profiles on long-standing issues, as well. Again, you’ll want to cover both sides of proposed legislation or legal battles, and make every effort to interview local supporters and opponents.

You don’t have to stick to politicians and legislation, either. Slow news cycles are also good times to do human interest stories about any local resident who’s doing something interesting—maybe a person who is training for a national sporting event but hasn’t qualified yet, someone who plans to audition for a national reality show, a person who started a new community program, etc. Well-produced human-interest stories and profiles of interesting people can attract viewers to your station, while giving you something impressive to put on your audition video—and the better your audition video is, the better your prospects of moving to a larger station, if that’s your goal.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

How To Sound Like A Professional Journalist

Judy Woodruf interviews Chuck Hagel on PBS News Hour

Writing and speaking like a professional have always been important concerns for journalists. But today, with advertorials cluttering up TV station websites and social media alike, it’s even more pressing to set yourself apart from the fake news that constantly bombards your audience.

The Confusion of Advertorials or Native Content

An advertorial—sometimes called native content—is an ad in the form of editorial content. In other words, it’s an ad made to look like a real news story. You’ve probably seen many of these. Don’t think so? Browse a local TV station’s website. Look along the sides and scroll down to the bottom of the page. See any ads for anti-aging creams that “plastic surgeons don’t want you to know about,” or investing advice that “makes bankers crazy?”

The reason websites (including media organizations) can make money off these advertorials is that they don’t really look like content native to the website; most people can easily tell an advertorial is not a legitimate news story. For one thing, the picture quality is usually horrible, and real news stories don’t contain badly edited animations—dancing pumpkins, flickering lights, mouths opening and closing to name just a few.

The other giveaway is the language, and that brings us back to the importance of sounding professional as a journalist. Every time I see one of the following sensationalist words of phrases, I know I’m looking at an advertorial: “Shocking,” “jaw-dropping,” “you won’t believe,” “this is amazing.”

Choosing Your Language Carefully

Obviously, you don’t want to use any of the above words or phrases when writing headlines for your station’s website or social media posts. But it’s also important to keep them out of your vocabulary when you write scripts or ad-lib in a live shot. Your job as a reporter is to sound like you know what you’re talking about. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert on everything, but you should be knowledgeable about general topics. You should also be able to ask questions, learn about a subject, and be able to describe it accurately in layman’s terms to your audience. Otherwise, your viewers will have no confidence in your ability to report the news.

If you start describing stories as “shocking” or “jaw-dropping,” you’re going to sound naive and inexperienced. Or audience members might think you’re trying to make a story sound more sensational or newsworthy than it actually is. (If you’re working in a small market without a lot of hard news, that may in fact be the case—but you don’t want it to be obvious to your viewers!) Additionally, whether or not something is “shocking” depends on the individual, and many of your viewers won’t be surprised at all.

If you need to point out why something is unusual, explain with specifics. For example, don’t say, “This pumpkin is so huge, it’s jaw-dropping!” Instead, say, “This pumpkin that Mr. Smith grew in his backyard weighs thirty pounds. By contrast, the average size for pumpkins of this variety is between six and eighteen pounds.” Let your audience members decide if the pumpkin’s size is jaw-dropping or just mildly surprising.

This doesn’t mean that you have to sound jaded or act like nothing surprises you. It’s okay to express genuine surprise, but do it in a way that doesn’t sound over-the-top. Again, giving specifics instead of interpreting a situation as “shocking” works better.

For example: “I knew our meteorologist predicted six inches of snow tonight, but I was surprised by how quickly it accumulated. Look at how much snow is piled up on the hood of our news van. You can see on the ruler that it’s almost four inches of snow. Just thirty minutes ago, when we parked here, there was no snow on the hood at all.” This sounds better than, “It’s just shocking how much snow we’re getting!” or “My jaw dropped when I saw the parking lot!”

But Don’t Sound Like a Professor, Either

Sounding well-informed does not mean sounding like you have an advanced degree in every subject you cover. As you may have learned in some of your classes, using unfamiliar, big words without explanation is also a good way to alienate some audience members. Some stations have their own standards and may recommend writing for a sixth- or eighth-grade vocabulary, but in general you don’t want to use words that go much beyond the junior-high level.

Words the average person uses in conversation (aside from profanity, of course) are usually good choices, but sometimes it’s necessary to use jargon when covering a scientific or medical story. In that case, just make sure to explain the word’s meaning. You don’t have to go into a lot of technical details—just sum up what the word means and how it relates to the story. For example, “Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that can be fatal, and often results in patients like Jane Doe needing a heart transplant. Jane told us she’s been on the waiting list for a transplant since April….”

Relating to Interview Subjects

You may have learned in one of your classes that talking to people in their own language—parroting the words or phrases they use—is a good way to establish rapport and get them talking. Sometimes this works, but it’s also possible your subject may think you’re trying too hard or being disingenuous. You might even come off that way to viewers, too. An adult trying to use the latest slang popular with twelve-year-olds is probably going to look silly, and the preteen subject might respond by rolling his or her eyes. A better alternative is to restate what the subject said when leading into questions. For example, “You said, in your own words, that you were ‘down with that sick beat.’ How long have you been practicing this type of music?” By maintaining that distance, you retain both that professional tone without sounding insincere, which, ultimately, is the goal here.

Image Source

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

4K UHD TV: How To Prepare For The New Standard

4K comparison chart

The latest HD television technology is called 4K, or Ultra High Definition (UHD), sometimes also called 4K UHD. Previously, there were three ways to describe definition in TV: Standard Definition (480p/540p), High Definition (720p), and Full High Definition (1080i/p). By contrast, UHD is 2160p. Each UHD TV has a minimum resolution of 3,840 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels high. Essentially, a UHD TV has about 8 million more pixels than a 1,080p HD television.

More Pixels, More Problems?

While more pixels result in a better picture, most broadcasters and streaming services have not yet converted. Why? Because 4K video takes up much more space on a hard drive, and streaming it eats up a large amount of bandwidth—in fact, people who wish to stream 4K content like House of Cards on Netflix will need a 25mbps download speed that many viewers don’t currently have. While there has been talk of broadcasting the 2016 Olympic Games in UHD, the current options for true UHD content are limited to some content on a few streaming services, mainly Netflix and Amazon.

Is Upconverting The Answer?

Despite the limited programming currently available for UHD, 4K televisions are still flying off the shelves. While there will be more shows available in the future, another selling point is “upconverting”—changing an HD 1080p signal, for example, into a 4K image. This is done by using additional pixels to recreate the fewer-pixeled original image. To do this, the television guesses at what should go in those extra pixels; often the result is an image slightly sharper than 1080p, but still softer than true 4K UHD. So while upconverting results in a good picture, and possibly a better picture than you would have had with regular HD, most people won’t reap the full benefits of their new 4K sets until they watch UHD programming.

What Does This Mean To My Future Journalism Career?

When you graduate and begin working in the field of broadcast journalism, presumably some time in the next few years, you may work for a broadcaster that is making the switch to 4K UHD. If not, it’s likely your employer will do so eventually. In the meantime, UHD TVs and cable/satellite providers will be upconverting your video.

So I Should Get Ready for My 2160p Closeup?

Yes, but not just you. Remember that everything shot in 4K and, to a lesser extent, upconverted to it, will be seen in greater detail. If you currently intern at a TV station, some of the journalists you work with might remember the transition from standard definition to HD several years ago. At that time, many on-air reporters and anchors were advised to rethink their makeup strategies. Some stations even hired skincare experts to advise on-air talent how to improve their look in HD.

While you don’t need to do anything that extreme, you should be prepared for a very sharp picture if you plan to work on-air. When shooting video for class, experiment with closeup shots in different angles and lighting situations, so you can get an idea of how you look your best. You can also try different kinds or amounts of makeup. If you can borrow a 4K UHD camera, you’ll have an even better idea of how things look in the new medium.

Practicing Recording Video in 4K

Shooting video in UHD (if you have the opportunity) is a good idea even if you don’t plan to be in front of the camera yourself. Future photographers and editors will need to know what works and what doesn’t when shooting in 4K. A few years from now, you might be capturing video both indoors outdoors, at varying times of day or night, in varying weather conditions. You’ll need to use the right lighting techniques and camera angles to capture images for UHD. Remember that too-harsh lighting, combined with too many pixels, can result in an image that’s either too blurry to see clearly or downright blinding to view.

If you don’t have access to a UHD camera, see if your school has a 4K TV where you can stream UHD, so you can see examples of video shot in 2160p. Also check your phone, or your friends’ phones—many new cell phones can now shoot 4K video. While most phone cameras won’t have half the features of a dedicated video camera, you may get some ideas about shooting in UHD.

Don’t Forget To Prepare For Space/Bandwidth Constraints

Remember that whether you take video with a dedicated video camera or a cell phone, you’ll need a decent amount of storage space for any video longer than a few minutes. Because UHD uses so many pixels, it uses a lot more storage space than HD. If you can shoot in 4K, consider investing in a larger memory card than what you have currently.

Also be prepared for slow upload/download speeds when working with UHD in a future broadcast journalism job. Hopefully this will improve as internet speeds become faster. However, after graduating, you may work at a station that’s still improving its technology for 4K or waiting for its ISP to offer higher speeds. This might mean that you’re asked to upload only a few minutes of video at a time, instead of sending back fifteen minutes of cover video for the producer to pick through. You may also be required to do more editing in the field so you can just send back the final 30- or 60-second package.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

FCC Updates To The Contest Rules Better For Broadcasters, Viewers

FCC logo

On September 17 of this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) updated its Contest Rule, allowing broadcasters to post contest “rules and regulations” solely online if they want. Adopted in 1976, the Contest Rule previously required broadcasters to show the rules on air (although extremely small print was quite acceptable) for television. Radio broadcasters were forced to have announcers read the rules on air.

An Important Rule, but Historically Problematic

The idea, of course, was to ensure audience members understood the rules of the contest and odds of winning before spending time or money trying to win.

The FCC’s goal to protect consumers was valid, but in practice, the Contest Rule had issues. Radio announcers would state the rules on air but it was never guaranteed that the audience would be able to write all of the rules down or fully comprehend them.

Then there were the TV ads, flashing the rules and regulations in print so small only a mosquito could read it for roughly two seconds. Not only were audience members still uninformed, but broadcasters had to deal with an influx of inquiries from people who didn’t understand the rules.

Most Rule-Reading Has Been Happening Online for Years Anyway

It’s little wonder that once the internet became mainstream in the late nineties, broadcasters started posting rules online, in addition to hurriedly rushing through them on air. For the last decade, anyone interested in reading the legalese—or suffering from insomnia—would probably go straight to the broadcaster’s website for rules about a particular contest.

So What Does This Mean for Broadcasters?

The upshot of the FCC’s decision is an improvement in entertainment quality for audience members, and less time wasted on illegible graphics for TV stations. Broadcasters only have to tell the audience where rules can be found online.

In television ads, rules and regulations often filled much of the lower third of the screen, prime real estate for station logos or related advertising (“Shop at Joe’s Mini-Mart for additional chances to win!”). A website address for contest rules can be delivered in one line, leaving much of the lower third of the screen free for other uses. Radio advertisers can now use almost the entire time slot for the spot (30 seconds, 60 seconds, etc.) to talk about the contest or related products. “Contest rules can be found at www…” can be read in less than five seconds, while auctioneer-style rule announcements used to suck up ten seconds or more, depending on the contest.

How to Make the Most of the New Legislation

It’s still important to make it clear where rules can be found; confusing viewers or rushing through an overly long address will only lead to phone calls and emails that take up the staff’s time, plus viewers might get annoyed or complain on your social media pages. A link on the station’s website is the easiest idea—the URL is probably not excessively long, and consumers can easily Google “WXYZ TV” if they can’t remember it. Make sure the link is very visible on your home page so viewers don’t have to hunt for it.

Posting links on your social media once a day or more is also helpful. Or you can make a page for the contest itself, either posting a link to the rules or adding the rules to the page’s description itself. Contest pages are also good places to answer questions and keep viewers engaged with the contest, so make sure your station’s social media handler keeps up with it. If questions come up frequently that aren’t clearly addressed by the rules (and sometimes legalese is hard for the average person to understand), you can make a FAQ section to address them.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

2016 Elections And TV’s Need For A Millennial Social Media Strategy

Donald Trump speaking at a presidential rally

According to a 2015 Pew Research report, almost two-thirds of Millennials (61%) view news on Facebook, more than any other news source. Only 37% say they acquire news from local TV. By contrast, Baby Boomers consume news from local television at almost the same rate that Millennials get news from Facebook (60%) and Gen Xers fall in the middle, with 51% getting political news from Facebook and 46% from local TV.

A Wide Array of Political News on Social Media Keeps Millennials Engaged

Not only are Millennials more reliant on Facebook and other social media sites for political news, they also see it throughout the day at high rates, as opposed to a few times a day on a local news affiliate. Twenty-four percent of the age group said at least half the posts in their feeds were related to politics. (To be fair, it’s unclear whether all those posts are from legitimate news sources. It is possible users were counting memes of Donald Trump jack-o-lanterns, shares from The Onion, and other humorous content about politicians.)

The report goes on to show that Millennials are less aware of broadcast news sources like MSNBC and NPR, and more aware of online sources  like Buzzfeed and Google News.

Where Does This Leave Local Television for the 2016 Election Cycle?

Is this cause for concern for TV stations that rely heavily on political ad spending in election years? Not necessarily. In April, Carl Salas of Moody’s told The Los Angeles Times he predicts 2016 will see a 20% increase in spending over the 2014 mid-term election spending of $2.9 billion. He added that he thought about two-thirds of that money would go to television.

Other political ad spending analysts agree. In July, The Cook Political Report predicated total TV ad spending for 2016 would hit $4.4 billion.

That’s not just going to national networks, either—a July Washington Post article pointed out that older viewers are more likely to vote. Research firm BIA/Kelsey’s senior vice president Mark Fratrik is quoted as saying that local news viewers tend to be voters—all the more reason for political spenders to buy time on both local and national TV.

Should TV Stations Focus on Older Viewers?

Since Gen Xers and especially Baby Boomers are more likely to both watch local news and get political news from television, it might appear that the simple solution is to focus on older viewers when planning political coverage for the 2016 year.

This strategy isn’t difficult to implement. While you should cover all the issues of both local and national news, you can also run special reports on issues that are primarily of interest to older viewers—a package detailing where candidates stand on Social Security, for example.

That doesn’t mean you should abandon hope of reaching Millennials. They may be less likely to vote, but the 18-34 age demographic is still important to advertisers, as they’re less brand loyal and more likely to try new products. And since they’re more active on social media in terms of their news consumption, broadcast journalists are increasingly using social media itself to measure the impact of their reports.

How to Reach Millennials with Political News

Facebook and other social networks are the ideal places to reach Millennial news consumers. If you can engage with younger viewers on social media, they’re more likely to watch your station when they do turn on the TV for news. And try experimenting with newer streaming video social media networks like Meerkat and Periscope which can add an extra dimension to a news story, allowing journalists to provide behind-the-scenes commentary that wouldn’t fit on TV. You can also earn ad revenue from pre-roll ads when people view videos of political news online, and even more revenue if they visit your website.

While political issues that affect older Americans may be a good idea for special reports, your social media posts should focus on issues of interest to younger consumers, like unemployment rates and student loan debts. Did a political candidate just announce he or she has a plan to reduce higher education costs? Get the package from your national network and retweet it, asking followers what they think. This kind of engagement will help you earn ad revenue online thanks to younger viewers, while still collecting on-air ad dollars for the 2016 election cycle.

Institutions like NYFA’s Broadcast Journalism program are training the next generation of multimedia journalists (MMJs). Students learn how to become content creators, with an eye towards cross-platform distribution. Usually a local news story shouldn’t be posted “as is” on social media. Instead, it needs to be crafted to meet the expectations and needs of a different audience. One reason why so-called “explainers” have become popular is that they can be viewed on a smartphone or a similar device minus any sound. That’s exactly what Now This did recently with a powerful Halloween-themed story.

Online Radio And Millennials: Stats And Trends

Internet radio player


Over the past fifteen years, there has been nothing short of a sea change in how different generations listen to radio, While most radio listeners used to find a radio station by just a twist of the tuning knob, new data is shining light on the fact that more and more young listeners are finding radio stations through a click of the mouse or the automatic download of a podcast. According to the State of the News Media 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, more than half of Americans 12 and older tuned in to online radio in the previous month. In the past five years, the percentage of people who listened online has almost doubled, rising from 27% in 2010 to 53% in 2015. Simply put, the face of radio is changing dramatically with the rise of online stations and streaming services, but what does this say about the new generation of listeners?

Online Listening is Evolving, Too

First off, not only are more listeners enjoying radio online, but they’re using a bevy of different devices to listen to it. Smartphones are the leading way to listen— 73% of the online radio audience surveyed said they listened on their phones in 2015, a 13% increase from 2014. Desktops and laptops are still significant in the field, with 61% of respondents saying they listen to online radio via one of those devices. However, listening on traditional computers is still down 6% from 2014, when it was at 67% and it’s likely that mobile listenership will continue to grow.

In terms of what people are listening to online, it is generally a mixture of streaming audio services like Spotify and Tidal, user-controlled radio stations like Pandora, and the vast network of podcasts that cover seemingly every topic imaginable.

Even ‘Drive Time” Listening in Cars is Affected

For years, the “drive time” periods in the morning (usually between 7 and 8 AM) and evening (generally 5-7 PM) when people are driving to and from work have been coveted by advertisers on local and national radio. Trapped in their cars, unable to take their eyes off the road for other activities like reading emails, texting, or watching video, drivers are a captive audience for radio commercials.

But with more cars coming outfitted with online radio capability, more and more drivers are choosing online stations over traditional ones. As of January 2015, 35% of people surveyed said they tuned in to online radio in their cars, a growth of 14% over 2013, when only 21% listened while driving. In 2010, only 6% reported listening to online radio in their vehicles. At this rate, the meaning of “drive time” will likely change as more listeners choose internet radio over local and national radio, or simply load up a podcast they downloaded before getting into their car. And traditional radio stations are definitely getting the memo as prestigious institutions like WNYC starting to rebrand themselves as audio entertainment venues.

How to Reach Online Listeners

In March, a article noted that online listening skews younger, and is most common among 12- to 54-year-olds. More than three-quarters (77%) of listeners between the ages of 12 and 24 listened online in the past month, vs. 61% of 25- to 54-year-olds, revealing a distinct generational gap in listening habits. Barely more than a quarter (26%) of those older than 55 listened online. And while listeners in the younger age range often lack the financial resources to purchase a car with internet radio, that’s not stopping many listeners from streaming their favorite stations and artists through their car speakers via a cell phone connected to a car audio system, with 55% of those in the 12- to 24-years-old group saying they had done so.

So what are younger listeners listening to on internet radio? News geared to younger viewers, like entertainment and sports, is generally a good bet for online radio, although this can vary somewhat depending on your online station’s format. That doesn’t mean you should ignore hard news, but most Millennials aren’t going to mind if you spend sixty seconds on the latest Hollywood divorce or sports scandal.

Online Radio Advertising

In terms of how advertisers can use this data to maximize their reach with younger listeners, it’s likely that more companies will focus their online radio advertising sales efforts on products that will appeal to a younger demographic, particularly 18- to 34-year-olds during drive time and teenagers after 7 PM. The good news is that Millennials are more opposed to paying for subscriptions than listening to ads: According to data from Strategy Analytics, 89% of internet radio listeners prefer ad-supported online radio to subscription models.

A CRN Research Report about Millennials shows that 75% of the group prefers ads about things that interest them. That’s another benefit of online radio—you don’t have to rely on an Arbitron report to get a vague idea of who listens to what and what products/news items they might enjoy. Take advantage of one of the best benefits of online radio—require your viewers to sign in before listening to music. Most listeners don’t mind signing in for free, ad-supported radio; you can use their listening history and/or answers to questions asked during account sign-up to allow advertisers to better target them. This doesn’t just keep your audience interested—it’s also a huge benefit to your advertisers.

On a closing note, with services like Sirius XM, Pandora, Spotify, and the newly minted Tidal and Apple Music increasingly crowding the online radio market, it remains to be seen how much room for growth the industry can support. In the case of podcasts, it can sometimes seem like there’s no ceiling in sight, with a handful of new podcasts popping up everyday. And podcasts enjoy a particular advantage over both traditional and online radio in that you do not need radio or wireless reception to listen, which you can do anywhere you please. On the flip side, recent NYTimes article about Millennials’ predilection for streaming media argued that when Millennials start a family, they are more likely to return to a traditional cable service. Whether this trend will carry over to internet radio is something we’ll be closely watching.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

Measuring Viewer Impact With Social Media Tools

Social media image

It’s no secret that increasing numbers of Americans across all demographics are obtaining news from social media—mostly Facebook and Twitter. According to a July study from the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation, sixty-three percent of both Facebook and Twitter users find news on these networks. Compared to 2013, Twitter saw an 11% increase up from 52%, and Facebook was up 16% from 47%. While both networks have experienced similar increases, almost twice as many users rely on Twitter (59%) to follow breaking news, with 31% of Facebook users depending on the network for breaking news.

Tracking Impact with Social Media Tools

Many broadcast journalists are using social media tools to track the impact of their stories on social networks—not just how many people click a link or watch a video, but demographic information as well.

Facebook Insights, available to any business/public figure page with at least 30 likes, provides percentages of users who like your page for age and gender groupings, pulling the data from personal profiles. Geographical data is also useful for local television stations—city data allows a station to see where most of their followers are located. Meanwhile, TweetReach allows businesses to see who retweets their content.

Making Sense of It All

How to use this data? Facebook Insights and TweetReach can be compared to other data, such as Nielsen ratings. Do television viewers skew older or more toward a certain city in the viewing area than Facebook data? What does that mean?

Helping Advertisers Make Smart Decisions

Interpreting these differences can be tricky, but it can lead to a broader understanding of the station’s viewership. An older audience in Nielsen ratings can mean that younger viewers prefer getting their news online—but they can still be reached with ads on the station’s website, or pre-roll ads on video posted to Facebook. You can use this information to help clients make informed decisions about how they advertise with your station—and if you help them get better results, they’re more likely to place ads with your station in the future.

Social media tools can also impact which stories you post or promote on social networks. It may turn out that viewers who get most of their news from television love your station’s weekly gardening segment or economic report, but people following your station’s Twitter feed are more interested in sports scores. Meanwhile, Facebook users might be more interested in your political coverage. If that’s true, you might post or promote more stories about local candidates on Facebook and show more coverage of the local football team on Twitter.

Learning From Targeted Social Media Ads

Both Facebook and Twitter allow businesses to pay for ads or promoted content. You can see which posts were shared or re-tweeted the most to determine what kinds of stories to promote on the network. Choosing who sees your ads based on age, gender or interests is another benefit.

The key with both networks is to focus on fluidity in your campaigns. You might have a good idea of the target market you want for a story, ad for your station, etc. But audiences are fickle, especially in a fast-changing environment like Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. You should always start with the best and most specific target audience possible, based on any previous research you have.

But resist the urge to choose “women in their forties who enjoy golf and travel,” set up the campaign, and forget it. Look at your numbers every week—or every few days, if time permits. Who shared each story? Did some videos get more shares than expected—or significantly less? Who is actually retweeting your content? Should you be investigating another demographic instead? What if women in their twenties end up retweeting more of your stories than women in their forties, even though Nielsen ratings suggest your viewers skew older? Should you focus on a different group with your online promotion efforts while continuing to cater to your television audience with the stories they want to see?

It’s also important to look at results over time. Just because a subject is hotly debated on social media one week doesn’t mean anyone will want to share a post about it next week. People burn out quickly on popular news stories—and nowhere is that more true than the internet. Looking at your metrics each day can show you when it’s time to start posting or promoting something else.

Experimenting with New Segments or Topics

Tracking what stories are shared the most and by who also provides valuable insight about where you should focus your energy—and how. Maybe a new segment on the news isn’t holding viewers’ attention—but Twitter followers rapidly retweet the video. You can reduce the amount of time in the newscast that you devote to a segment or topic—for example, making it a weekly segment instead of a daily one, or once a month instead of weekly—while frequently posting or promoting the segment video on social media after it airs. Cutting-room-floor type footage can be shared on social networks as fun extras, without giving the segment more time during the newscast.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

Podcasting: A Growing Medium for News

Podcasting now widely used for news

NPR reports downloads of their podcasts were up 14% in 2014, according to the 2015 State of the News Media report. In fact, the number of Americans who have listened to a podcast in the last month has nearly doubled since 2008, from 9% of those surveyed to 17%. Top ranking news podcasts include “BBC Global News,” “CNN Debates,” “60 Minutes,” and “NBC Nightly News.”

Reaching Viewers in Between Newscasts

While the mobile market has allowed TV broadcasters to reach people in places and situations they never could before—in the car, on the bus, walking down the street—there are still situations where mobile video isn’t ideal. You might be able to watch a video on your phone, but you don’t want to be doing that while you drive down the road. You should probably avoid watching videos while you walk around, too—nobody wants to be that guy who runs into a wall because he’s glued to his phone.

Taking a Bite Out of Radio’s Audience

For years, radio has been the main news source for people whose eyes are otherwise engaged—especially people driving during rush hour, the coveted “drive time” space many advertisers like. But podcasts have risen in popularity the past few years because, like satellite radio, they give viewers the option of choosing what they want to hear.

Even with subscription radio services, most of the time listeners only pick the type of programming they want to hear. With podcasts, the audience can choose which individual news pieces they find interesting and listen to them. This not only gives the listener more freedom, but it gives the owner of the podcast valuable data to share with advertisers.

Podcasting: Not Just for Big Networks

Although the most popular news podcasts belong to large, national news organizations, that doesn’t mean that a small local station can’t benefit from podcasting. Some stations worry that podcasts will discourage viewers from watching the news, but this isn’t usually the case; live news broadcasts and social media feeds give the most-up-to-date or breaking news. Podcasts are usually added later. Television also shows viewers what’s happening right now. Podcasting can’t do that, but it does have other benefits.

How to Use Podcasts

Some stations choose to have reporters and anchors read stories from a recent broadcast, or simply upload the audio file from recent broadcasts. This isn’t a bad idea, but it also doesn’t offer the viewer anything special. Simply uploading the audio of a TV newscast can also confuse viewers, as some audio only makes sense with the accompanying video.

The better bet is to share video of regular news broadcasts or packages on the station’s website. Use podcasts to offer more in-depth information about some of the week’s bigger stories. Podcasts are a great way to supplement news broadcasts, even with people who aren’t driving or walking down the street.

For years, newspapers prided themselves on being the more detailed source of news. Over the last few years, however, newspapers have lost ground to online news sources with detailed written pieces. Podcasts are a way TV broadcasters can gain some of the newspaper industry’s lost audience. Without the time constraints of the nightly news broadcast, a podcast can offer additional insight on a topic.

An Easy Way to Use Extra A-Roll

A reporter/photographer team often spends an hour or more gathering video for what ultimately becomes a 30, 60 or 90 second package on air. An interview might last ten of fifteen minutes, and include lots of great soundbites, but the reporter or producer packing the story can only use the most important twenty or thirty seconds of it.

What happens to all that extra video? In most cases, nothing. Occasionally it might be used by a weekend producer desperate to fill time, but most of the time viewers never see it. Most TV stations don’t have time to put together extra packages for the station’s website, and if they do, it only happens occasionally and with the biggest stories. This typically leaves a lot of great content that can be re-purposed into a different delivery vehicle; for example, a podcast.

You can easily upload the audio file of an interview with minimal editing. There’s no need to pick out cover video, check for flash frames, or write anchor intros and tags. Simply write a brief, one-sentence description (such as “Podcast of our full interview with Mayor Jenkins about the new tax law”).

Use Podcasts to Engage with Viewers

Podcasting is also a good way to respond to viewers’ questions or requests for different types of stories. If, for example, your Twitter feed was inundated with questions after you ran a story about local outdoor attractions, you can use those queries to create podcasts with helpful information on topics like, “How to stay safe while camping” or “Outdoor activities for kids.”

Some of that information may be found in the leftover A-roll from the original package about a local attraction. You can also do some quick research and voice tips from experts to add to the story. This takes a few more minutes, but is still less time-consuming than editing a piece with both audio and video. An additional benefit of responding to viewers’ popular questions and the topics they find most interesting, is keeping them engaged with your station in multiple ways, making them more likely to watch your newscasts and visit your social media accounts.

[su_note]Learn more about the School of Broadcast Journalism at the New York Film Academy by clicking here.[/su_note]

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