Learn to Tell Better Stories with Al's New Video Tutorials

News directors, teachers, reporters, videographers and producers have been asking for this for years. I finally have produced a series of short videos that I believe will help you write better stories for broadcast, whether they are viewed over the air or online.

It is tempting to think of this as a "TV thing," but I am convinced it will be just as useful for print and online folks who now find themselves producing video stories. It has other applications, too -- a minister friend of mine who watched the "finding focus" video said he was going to tell his fellow ministers to watch it.

Here's how the tutorials work: Click one of the links below. You will be directed to NewsU, Poynter's e-learning site. You can watch a free preview of each lesson (about three minutes or so). If you like what you see, download the paid, full version of each tutorial, which runs less than 15 minutes.

Al's Morning Meeting readers get the individual pieces for half price ($4.95) as a way to say thanks for sticking with me all these years. (The regular rate is $9.95 per tutorial.) To get the discount, enter the promo code PPVTALT10.

Or you can get all three tutorials packaged together for $14.85: Telling Memorable Video Stories: A Poynter Tutorial Series. (You don't need a promo code for the package.)

Here's what you'll learn in each tutorial:

Find Focus for Your Video Stories: The three-word guideline that will give your stories laser-beam focus.

  • How to ask the question that identifies what your story is about
  • How to use a three-word guideline to keep your story on track
  • How to select key information to tell the story




Five Motivators to Engage Viewers: Surefire themes to connect your audience with your story.

  • Five main reasons that people watch and read stories
  • How to use these motivators to make your story pop
  • How to avoid overused themes that can water down your work




Start Your Video Story with a Strong Open: Tools to hook your audience with your opening words.

  • How to use conflict and surprise to write a strong story open
  • How to transform worn-out leads into openings that connect with your audience
  • The essential elements for effective leads

I can't wait to hear what you think of these. What other topics do you want me to cover? Drop me a note at tompkins@poynter.org.

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    Al Tompkins

    Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world.

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