Saturday, July 25, 2009

Can't find a story this weekend?

Many moons ago, when reporters actually had time to put together quality stories, Monday thru Friday types were asked to leave "hold packages" for the weekend. So when the weekend anchor came in, he or she didn't have a newscast filled with weekend festival fluff. There would be a half dozen local hard news packages from which to choose.

While "hold packages" have become a thing of the past, there's no reason that a weekend reporter can't knock out a great news story that isn't a bunch of fluff.

How? Simple. You just have to plan ahead.

Let's say you're the Wednesday thru Sunday reporter. On Wednesday take a look in the weekend files.

Suppose you find what looks like a Saturday feature. A bunch of people are holding a fundraiser to help a school system buy supplies, since the budget is tapped out. Sounds like a nice vo/sot, right? Yeah, too bad school isn't in session on a Saturday, or you could get some b-roll. But if you plan ahead, you can visit a school on a weekday. Get some video of teachers using scrap paper to print stuff. Show some students using books that might be out of date. Visit the school library that only has a couple of ancient computers.

Now all of a sudden you have a nice hard news story.

I've worked plenty of weekends, and nothing is worse that coming in and desperately looking for a story, especially on a Sunday. So it is imperative that you plan ahead. It not only makes your life easier, but makes your station's product look better.

So take a look in this weekend's file and figure out which items could have been turned into solid packages with a little advance planning.

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