October 19, 2016

Telling a story across platforms? Think about all the platforms you will be using (TV, online, mobile, print) before and during the reporting process. You’re looking for opportunities to broaden a story or topic beyond the one angle or element you’re covering for a single platform.

While you gather information for all platforms, you will approach a story differently for each medium. Here are some tips for video and audio stories.

  • Grab your viewers’ attention. This can be done with a strong visual or an attention-getting lead.
  • One thought per sentence. Most radio listeners and TV viewers will only see or hear the story once. So keep it simple: Viewers and listeners should be able to process each piece of information as they hear it. Ideally, what you’re saying grabs their attention so much that they stop whatever else they’re doing to focus on your story.
  • Write as though you’re talking to your family and friends. A conversational tone helps members of your audience feel as though you are talking with them. It can keep you from getting bogged down in details or using technical terms without explaining them.
  • Video, video, video. A special contribution to storytelling that television and online video have is the ability to present a story visually. Plan what video can be used to better tell the story — helping viewers feel as though they are on the scene and talking with the sources.

Taken from Reporting Across Platforms, a self-directed course at Poynter NewsU.

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Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current…
Vicki Krueger

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