There are lots of reasons to do a stand-up in a TV news package. But longtime WMC-TV reporter and anchor Joyce Peterson said she has noticed a change in the on-cam appearances of reporters over the years.
“Traditionally you use a standup in a package if you don’t have video for something,” Peterson said. “or if you want to visually illustrate something. It’s a show and tell. It was a trend years ago for reporters to do.”
Peterson, who has worked in the Memphis TV market for 28 years, said stand-ups used to be mandatory, but no longer.
“It’s not required here at Channel 5 and really not for the Memphis market,” said Peterson.
Samantha Armstrong, assistant news director at WMC, confirmed that stand-ups are not a must for reporter packages, but said just because the news station doesn’t require them does not mean they don’t appreciate good stand-ups.
“We like to use them when they make the most sense,” Armstrong continued. “It has to be something visual that helps advance the story and/or bridges the story.”
Armstrong said if a package does not need a reporter’s on-cam presence in it that it could take away from the story’s impact if included. Similarly, Peterson said stand-ups are beneficial but only if they are produced with style.
“If standups are done right and for the right reason,” Peterson said, “It really adds to storytelling.”
One reason for the decrease in stand-ups could be the increase in live shots across the TV news landscape. Amstrong said the difference between live shots and standups is that live shots are typically used to establish the location and come before or after a news package, whereas some of the most relevant stand-ups are produced to demonstrate an action rather than just describing it or to transition between locations, characters, time frames or topics.
So, to stand-up or not to stand-up? What do you think? Are stand-ups an essential part of the TV storytelling toolkit or an outdated concept from decades gone by?