Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let's make a deal

I often hear reporters tell me, "We can't get the time to work on a story that might take more than a day."

Well, that may be true in these days of too much news provided by too few reporters. And if you're working in a shop where quantity outweighs quality, you're probably frustrated by the fact that you can't get the time to do a really great story.

Well, you have two options; make the time (work on your time off), or make a deal with the News Director.

Your station may have a hard and fast rule that you have to turn one package every day, but that doesn't mean said package needs to take the entire day to put together. There are chunks of time you can carve out of your day to work on something special. That great story you've been wanting to do might come along in bits and pieces. But you can do it, if you can sell the project to your ND.

Let's say you've got an investigative story you'd like to do. If you did it all at once, it might take you three days. And you're unlikely to get three days off the street to work on it.

So put on your enterprise reporter hat and find some good stories that don't take all day to do. When you're assigned these, talk to your ND and let him know that you can still do a solid job on today's assignment but would like an hour to go get some b-roll for another story. On another day you might shoot some interviews, and maybe a standup. Collect all these bits and pieces and suddenly you've got that great story you've been wanting to do without upsetting the daily apple cart.

If you want that great story for your resume tape, you might have to find a creative way to do it. If you can sell the News Director on the idea that it won't affect your daily package requirement, you'll probably be able to make a deal.


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