Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Watching Sweeps

Jeff at Peoria Television Stations is watching what the stations in MARKET 117 are doing for May sweeps. To be honest, I'd like to do something like this, but I have neither the time nor the energy, so my hat is off to him. My only issue is every report seems to get 4 or 5 stars, but there's no context. Even a report he had problems with got 4 stars.

Obviously he and I are watching from different perspectives, but aside from something being informative and for lack of a better phrase, "fair and balanced" I'm hoping for some or all of the following:

Did the reporter give us a pretty clear begining, middle and end and especially an end and not just their tag.

Did they write to what's there or not there in the video?

Did the reporter build in a suprise instead of "posting on a billboard in giant letters" what the story is about in the intro and again in the first line of the package?

Did the reporter use nat sound to build a certain amount of rhythm into the piece?

Did the reporter use compelling soundbites to tell the story?

In an earlier post, I shared some of KGO reporter Wayne Freedman's thoughts about story telling, but what I'm looking for is probably an easier starting point.

While I was at WEEK, Jim Garrott brought in a reporter (Boyd Hupert) and photographer (Jonathan Malat) from his old station, KARE, in Minneapolis to do a workshop for us. Most times when you take part in something like that, you're kind of jazzed for a couple of weeks, then it fades. But that session stuck with me throughout the rest of my time there and influences the way I watch stories even now.


Anonymous said...

Every photographer should be required to watch a tape of Jonathan Malat's work. He knows how to tell a story with pictures and sound.

Anonymous said...


Gehly said...

Edgar, I think it just shows the difference in the way we watch news stories to the way most viewers do. but I think if "the average viewer" were to see a story using some of those storytelling techniques, it would be memorable and they'de really like it, although they may not understand why.

I wasn't there when Boyd and Jonathan came, but I have a copy of the tape they showed with all their best stuff on it. I pop it in now and then for a refresher course. Wayne's book is great. I akso have a god one by Bob Dotson. I think if your fellow blogger read Freedman's book, he'd get it. and it's really fun reading even for non-newsies.

I'm currently going through a tape from an NPPA workshop one of my photog buddies went to a few year ago. it has all the stories shown during that week by all the instructors...about 6 hours of some classic stuff from the best of the best.

Jeff Nau said...

Thanks for bringing up the "Context" issue... you're not the only one who has mentioned this to me.

I was sort of sketchy as to why I score the way I do for a reason. It's hard for someone who is not in the biz, and doesn't really know what's going on to truly judge these station reports.

I, like you Edgar, are a fan of our local TV stations, and I do not want to put out there online a really critical analysis of a report. I don't want future employers of our great reporters to look and see that I gave harsh words to one's piece by doing a search online.

We are both aware that if you do a search online for a certain reporter... both of our sites pop up.

Keeping that in mind, I did want to give more context than I did back in February. This is kind of a day by day analysis, than a monthly one. I still plan on giving a monthly post that sums everything up.

But I'm glad you commented, and I have written a new post that explains a little further how I score the reports at the site.