Thursday, August 26, 2010

Follow-ups: the lost art

Raise your hand if this has happened to you. You break a decent story, an exclusive, and while you're basking in the glory the competition does a follow-up a few days later.

Before you've done your own follow-up. Oh, wait, you forgot.

That's just one way a station can steal another station's thunder. Because once an exclusive hits the air, it's fair game as to what happens next.

Follow-ups are no-brainers when it comes to the news business. How many times have you asked yourself, "I wonder what ever happened to...?" Well, viewers ask that all the time, usually because reporters don't follow up.

Following up is a good way to turn one story idea into two or three or more. It's the way you and your station can "own" a story.

So, today, take a look down the list of stories you've done in the past few months. I'll bet several of them are worth a phone call to see what's happened. And I'll bet those phone calls will turn up another story or two.

And in the future, use your calendar to "schedule" a follow-up. If you do a good story today, make a note to check on things in the near future.

Remember, if you break a story, it's yours... unless you let someone else take it from you with a follow-up.

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