Friday, July 22, 2011

Give the viewer a unique view

Back in my black and white childhood I grew up watching the Mets on a Philco TV with rabbit ears. No color, no remote. Every kid in the family was the designated "channel changer." You sat in front of the TV while Mom or Dad gave directions, changing channels until they found something suitable. (You think kids had any say in what was watched? Please.)

Anyway, back to the Mets. So the first time Dad takes me to Shea Stadium, I'm blown away the moment I see the field. Not because I'm s star struck kid...

But because it was in color. The green grass, the blue and orange uniforms, were things that had been colorless on television. Everything seemed to come alive. The game was more vivid.

It was a view I couldn't get at home.

Flash forward forty years. Everything's reversed. In high def I can see the wrinkles on a baseball player I could never see in person. Everything is spectacular in detail.

So what's left? If the viewers have seen the best technology has to offer, how can you impress them? How can you turn them into 1960's kids seeing a ballpark for the first time?

On that first trip to Shea I got something I couldn't get anywhere else. In your next package, give the viewers something they can't get anywhere else.

It might be a piece of b-roll shot from a unique angle. It could be the one angle of a story that hasn't been touched. Maybe it's a different point of view that no one has considered.

These days you have to be different to stand out, both with your resume tapes and with the viewers. The cell phone market is a good example. People rush out to buy the latest model, then a few months later planned obsolescence forces them to think their phone is hopelessly out of date. They need a new one. Right. Now.

Viewers need something new. Right. Now. Every single day. They've seen the digital pictures, the weather graphics that fly inside the clouds. They're inundated with new social networking connections every day. They are starving for something unique.

And what most stations give them is very old stuff. Scanner chasing stories. Interviews with officials. Packages that state the obvious. Live shots where nothing is happening.

Find the elements that people can't get anywhere else. We've done black and white. We've done color.

Time to find the gray areas that really blow everything away.

TVNEWSGRAPEVINE, copyright 2011 © Randy Tatano



Katie said...

But how? I'm a struggling, new reporter and I'm having a hard time finding those good story ideas, rather than just those different angled shots. I'm sure when I get those story ideas I can then get those cool shots... What do you think?

-The Grape said...


Check Tuesday's blog post for some help.