TV News Stories

Watch and learn

One of the best ways to sharpen your TV news skills is to watch and learn. Look for examples of award-winning stories. Find stories from different markets in different regions to get a wide variety of styles.

While you watch the following videos, pay attention to:

  • video angles
  • video framing
  • lead room and headroom
  • audio and silence
  • lighting
  • close-ups
  • emotion and how it makes you feel
  • story framing
  • sentence structure and script pacing
  • sound bites
  • editing

Digital Video Style

TV news stories tend to follow a specific template. Most stories that air on television broadcasts feel like they have a similar style. I’ve had managers who wanted to maintain this traditional style. I’ve also had others who challenged our creativity and were more flexible. Regardless of whether you plan to make news stories for TV or web, we have a lot to learn from one another. Take a look at some alternative styles and see if you can glean inspiration to make your videos a bit more unique.

Great Big Story is one of my favorite new companies. I encourage you to follow them on social media and check out their YouTube videos. Pay attention to their story choices, video production, video editing, audio/music, and text.

Let’s compare

Here’s an example of how they told the story of Mexican-American families separated by the border.

The company On Demand News told a similar story in a very different way. Take a look at the differences between the two stories. Look at the difference between the videography. How is their pacing different? How did each make you feel?

WFAA aired the story too. The story was the same, but it felt much different. Which story left you with a lasting impression? Which story evoked more emotion in you? Why?

Alright, this is the last one, I promise. Check out ABC News’ version.

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.

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