Reporting and Writing for TV and the Web

How do you take a collection of facts and tell a story that engages viewers? One simple way is to find a three-word focus for your story.

Here is a checklist to guide you:

  • What is the most interesting part about this story? (This is the main thrust of the story.)
  • What surprised me? (This may be the lead.)
  • What did I learn that I didn’t know before? (This is a main surprise, which we usually put high in the story.)
  • What will viewers want to know? In what order will they ask those questions? (This will determine the story frame.)
  • What do I want viewers to remember and feel at the end of this story? (This is the most memorable sound bite.)
  • What comes next? (This will lead you toward the end of the story.)

Those details will help you answer the question that will focus your story: “What is this story about?”

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

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    Vicki Krueger

    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 position as marketing communications manager.

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