How do you take a collection of facts and tell a story that engages viewers? There are some simple guidelines you can follow to aim for the heart of your viewers:

Engage their emotions. Television is unique in its ability to teach through emotions and sensory experiences.

Motivate viewers to watch your story. Consider these angles as you craft stories for your audience: money, family, safety, health and community.

Put a face on a story so viewers remember it. The best characters are COOL: colorful, outgoing, opinionated and lively.

Have a clear focus that connects to viewers. The single most important question you can ask is, “What is this story about?”

Taken from Reporting, Writing for TV and the Web: Aim for the Heart, a self-directed course by Poynter's Al Tompkins at Poynter NewsU.

Take the full course

Have you missed a Coffee Break Course? Here's our complete lineup. Or follow along at #coffeebreakcourse.