Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sometimes, you truly miss the obvious

I'm thinking this is a scenario that took place sometime in the last year...

Super Bowl planner 1: So, the game's on Fox next year.

Super Bowl planner 2: Great. So what are they gonna run after the game?

Super Bowl planner 1: A show called "Glee." It's about a high school glee club. It's a really hot show with great songs and terrific choreography. Kids love it and download all the songs, and adults like the show too. It's something parents and children can watch together.

Super Bowl planner 2: Gotcha. So, what are we going to do about a halftime show? We need something with great songs and terrific choreography. And remember, the game is on Fox, so it should be something they can use to promote their network. Something that parents and kids can both enjoy. I wish I could think of a group that has great songs, terrific choreography, and plays naturally on Fox. Hmmmm....

Super Bowl planner 1: I know...let's get a group that sounds so obnoxious that everyone over 35 will hit the mute button!

So, let me get this straight.... no one from the Fox network or the NFL thought that the kids from Glee might make a good halftime show? That this might be a once in a lifetime chance to promote a musical prime time hit? If every there was a "Hello, McFly" moment, this was it.

This is a wonderful example of missing the obvious. Yet it's something we all do at one point or another when putting a story together. Sometimes we're too close to things, and we need to back up and take a wide angle look. Or, heaven forbid, ask someone else for some input as to how the story might be covered.

Typical stories that miss the obvious:

-Education stories that talk about curriculum, funding, overcrowding, or teachers, yet never show a single student, classroom, or teacher.

-Stories concerning citizens complaining about some city service that never have a soundbite with a citizen or show video of what the complaint is about.

-Stories that talk about a specific problem yet never show it to the viewer.

-Stories about Medicare of Social Security that never include a senior citizen.

-Stories about tax increases that never include a taxpayer.

Get the picture?

The one thing you have to consider is this: Who does this story affect? If it's school children, show them and talk to them. If it's parents, same deal. If it's older people, get out and talk to them, get some b-roll.

I love it when people get the third and fourth sides of the story, but make sure you don't miss the obvious in doing so. If you do, you'll be missing the key elements to the story... it's kind of like singing the National Anthem without knowing the words.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You right about how some news stories miss the obvious and the true focus of the stories. Since your post, I have seen two stories recently about high school students but in both stories the students are never interviewed. As a viewer I care more about the students reaction than the parents or the administrator's reactions the story.

The student's unique story and accomplishments are what make these stories extraordinary and worth telling.

Here are two examples.

"Valedictorian Never Attended School"

"Disabled pitcher cut from high school team"

P.S. I am glad I found your blog I check it nearly every day.