How To Produce a Professional News Package

Creating an excellent and impactful news package is a skill set that develops over time. Some reporters typically learn the hard way how to best prep and plan for their assignment.

However, taking advantage of a few tried and true tips can make even the cub reporter look like a pro.

The first tip for any reporter looking to master their fate is to develop credible news sources. Reporters should keep plenty of business cards on hand at all times and pass them out like candy while on the beat. This sounds simple, but it is effective. Reliable, abundant and credible news sources are the lifeblood of any beat reporter.

If you are consistent at establishing contacts and sources, two things will happen:

1) You will consistently develop great story ideas.
2) You will be thought of as a rock star in the newsroom.

Nothing frustrates the producers and news managers more than reporters who show up to the morning meeting with no story ideas, looking like a deer in headlights when they are asked to pitch what they could turn that day for the newscasts.

So, assuming that you are properly building your news information resources, let’s discuss some best practices for producing a great news package.

1) Prep the Package:

Once you have established your story idea, and are planning your fieldwork, you should determine if there is any file video that you will need prior to exiting the newsroom. This will save you a great deal of angst if you are on a deadline and have to stay in the field to edit and go live. By doing this you will also build credibility with the editors back at the station. Next, you should have a prep conversation with your photographer about what characters you will want to talk to. This quick discussion should happen in the car or live truck on your way to your first interview.

2) Characters & Sound bites:

As a standard practice you will need ‘official’ sound bites for most if not all packages. Typically this includes people of authority, like public information officers, government officials, or certified spokespeople. It’s a good idea to get these sound bites out of the way as quickly as possible so that you can spend time getting great character sound. It is best if you can find people who are animated and have a natural ability to talk in quick sound bites. A good benchmark to strive for is that your sound bites should be able to be weaved together as standalone story without your voiceover track. For more detail please visit these sites:-

3) Voiceover Track:

Your voiceover track should be clear and to the point with minimal words as possible. Keep the track tight. Your track will act as the glue that weaves your character’s sound bites together. A succinct and clear track is key as the package should always be about the characters — not your own personal pontificating.

4) B-roll:

Your B-roll is your Picasso. The video content that you and your photographer shoot is just as important as the manner in which it is shot. Sometimes you end up with overly creative photographers who overshoot – so be careful not to get caught up in their directorial hype. Remember: you are on deadline and time management is critical to your success. That being said, you want to make sure that you get the “money shot.”

5) Storyline:

While you will likely be pursuing an initial preconceived storyline, remember, things can change quickly out in the field. You need to be flexible and let the story go where it goes. At the same time, it is not a good idea to put too many angles into one package. This confuses the viewer. Stay focused on one direction and message. If you have information that is relevant to another aspect of the story, consider out-boarding and let the producer use that information as part of your set-up. That results in a win-win for everyone.


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