Saturday, April 30, 2005

TV News For Dummies - Terminology

As many of our readers are MARKET 117 residents or people who haven't worked in the TV side of news, I thought I'd share a few terms and help you differentiate the types of stories you see on the news... all in honor of the May sweeps period.

Package - A package is generally a longer form story, traditionally about 1:30 on tape. This is the type of story that will be introduced by the anchors (10-15 seconds) and will be told by a reporter. A package will consist of that reporter's voice and soundbites from people involved in the story. If you see the reporter on screen in the middle of a package that is called a standup. Depending on the station, there could be a "tag" where the anchor comes back to wrap up the story before moving on to the next one.

VO/SOT - Stands for voiceover/sound on tape. This is read by the anchor. He/she will read a couple of sentences to set it up, then you'll see video related to the story... usually for about 15 seconds before a soundbite. After the soundbite there could be more related video or it could go back on camera to the anchor to finish the story. Also called VO/B (voiceover/bite) in some shops.

VO - Stands for voiceover. Same as a VO/SOT without the soundbite. Usually last 25-30 seconds.

Reader - This is where the anchor just reads a story, on camera, with no video. Sometimes there will be a graphic over his/her shoulder that is related to the story. Other times it'll just be the anchor. These are usually pretty short, maybe 20-25 seconds.

Live shot - This is where the anchors will "toss" to a reporter who is on location to introduce a story. A live shot can include a package, VO/SOT, VO or just be the reporter and whatever scene there is to be seen on camera.

Look live - This is used to give the appearance of a live shot for the sake of reporter presence or when a live shot is not possible. Basically its a package with a standup to start and a standup to close.

There are also many variatons of reporter presence that can be used... reporter on set, or at the weather wall, or in front of a video monitor etc.

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