The Murrow Award for writing “demonstrates excellence in writing that conveys the feeling and significance of events to the listener or viewer.” That’s the goal of great storytelling, isn’t it? To help make the news matter.
Last year’s national winner in the small market TV category was Jason Lamb of KTUU in Anchorage, AK. In this post, Lamb shares how he crafts his award-winning stories by spending more time than most with his video.
“It’s important to remember that the goal of any memorable story should be to get information across in a way that makes it easy for people to relate and connect to,” says Lamb. “Logging your tapes (or your cards or your disks) well is a crucial step in that process.”
For Lamb, “logging” is much more than registering the clip number or time code.
He has three key components to his approach:
1. Log as much of the video as time allows
Many less experienced reporters say they’re just too time-crunched to spend time logging, but even a few minutes can improve a story. “There is so much more of the raw footage to log than just the framed up ‘interview shots.’ I log as much as I can: interesting shots that I might want to write to, spontaneous moments with the person I’m interviewing, etc.,” Lamb says.
2. Log “the moments”
According to Lamb, a “moment” is something captured on camera that helps make people forget they are watching a “news report” and makes them feel closer to the story. “They help people relate to what your story is about. It could be the moment that a stem-cell recipient meets his donor for the first time, or a spontaneous reaction to a section of land being eaten away by a raging river. Moments help drive your story,” says Lamb.
3. Log “the layers”
Lamb says good stories have multiple levels or layers to them that keep the audience engaged throughout. “A different layer could be an interesting detail or added ‘twist’ you can introduce in your story at just the right moment to keep people interested,” Lamb says.
Check out one of Lamb’s stories below and check back later for Lamb’s tips on putting words and pictures together in the most compelling way.