How do you create an amazing pkg?

  1. Watch as many stories as you can.
  2. While you watch, pay attention.
  3. Notice:
    • sound
    • framing
    • angle
    • distance
    • how many seconds the shot is up
    • how long are the SOTs (sound on tape)
    • are the SOTs covered by video?
    • emotion
  4. Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Develop your style.

Check out how two different reporters and videographers told the story of Robby Heil, a special needs boy who made a touchdown as his mom with cancer cheered from the sidelines:

Look for teasable stories on social media, and turn it into a story. Here’s a wonderful example of how one Facebook photo turned into a viral video:

Mobile PKGs

Rod Carter shot this pkg entirely on his cell phone and iPad. It shows how basic principals greatly affect the look of your pkg. Check out the different angles, heights and distances he uses. Listen for the nat sound.

Active Reporter Standups

Active standups are just as important as shooting a variety of b-roll shots. Thinking of active reporter standups can be challenging when you first begin. It can be particularly difficult when you are an MMJ and don’t have a photographer to help you. Joe Little is known across America for his creative standups. Watch this video to see how he shoots and edits them all by himself.

Be Creative

Jeanne Moos is a great reporter who always creates entertaining pkgs. She uses news stories, music and file video in clever ways.

Lately, most of her pkgs are political parody because of the presidential race, but she has years worth of pkgs on every topic imaginable.

I encourage you to search her on YouTube and take inspiration from her:

  • writing
  • sound bites
  • music
  • social media
  • b-roll
  • quotes
  • editing
  • active stand-ups

NOTE: if you use b-roll like her, make sure to also note how she uses courtesy bugs on video she didn’t shoot herself.

Where do you find examples of pkgs?

  1. Local and national news
  2. Documentaries
  3. Facebook groups like StoryTellers 
  4. Facebook MMJ Joe Little

Look for journalists who inspire you and give you ideas for your own stories. CBS has an incredible series called “On The Road With Steve Hartman.” I embedded their YouTube playlist below and I encourage you to watch a few of his stories.

What makes a pkg good or bad?

Watch the following packages on a high school football player who died.

  • Do you think the reporter, videographer/editor did the story justice?
  • Do you feel emotionally moved by either version of the story? Why or why not?
  • Pay attention to how the poor video composition and wallpaper video distracts you from the point of the story.

bad pkg

better pkg


Turn a PKG into a VO

player vo

Turn a PKG into a VOSOTVO

preemie pkg preemie bopreemie sotvo

Use what you’ve got to make it interesting:

Notice how the reporter and editor use file video.

drone leadindrone 1 drone 2drone tag

Active live shots

Published by JeanetteAbrahamsen

I am an instructional designer and TV news instructor at the University of South Florida. My passion for innovating learning led me to pursue my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Instructional Technology. I love creating media to enhance eLearning and foster online engagement. I teach students to create multimedia stories for broadcast, web and social media platforms. I lead the Florida Focus class where students produce daily news shows that air on Tampa's PBS station. My reporting classes collaborated with Tampa's NPR station to produce award-winning stories. I am an Emmy Award-winning journalist. I produced thousands of hours of TV news in some of America's largest media markets at Tampa's NBC station, San Diego's ABC station and the San Diego Union-Tribune. I also produced immersive 360-degree virtual tours at the University of South Florida and reported for Hashtag Our Stories.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: