Thursday, February 17, 2011

Can't find a story? Check for follow-ups

During sweeps months you pull out all the stops to take your work to the next level. You might do more interviews, dig a little deeper, add bells and whistles like graphics, take extra care in editing. The result is often a promotable story that is designed to capture the viewer's interest.

And then when sweeps end, you forget all about those great stories you knocked out during sweeps.

Guess what? The viewers haven't.

They want questions answered. "What ever became of that person?" "What happened with that big story?" "What's new on that major issue?"

Reporters march into morning meetings after sweeps, desperate for ideas. In reality, your best ideas may be sitting in your own file.

Whether you keep notes on paper or in a computer, take some time to look back at the stories you've done in the past year. Chances are you'll find a ton of them that deserve revisiting.

An old trick by good stations is to take stories done by other stations and do follow ups. If you've dropped the ball and someone else picks it up, it's their story.

Viewers love follow-ups. They want to know what's happened since it first aired, if anything has changed, and if there's a happy ending.

If you don't do a follow up to your best stories, it's like writing a story without an ending.


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