Three basic questions for TV journalists

By Jacob Fenger

In my experience many journalists venturing into TV production let reality and their research overwhelm them. Instead of making distinct choices they line up their findings like beads on a string. The result, often, are unclear and overloaded stories. A simple cure to this is to ask yourself three basic questions before starting your production:

  1. Who is my main character? (The main character will often be a person but can also be a group or even the journalist himself and the main character is typically the one followed by the camera)
  2. What is he/she struggling to achieve? (Is there a resistance he/she is trying to overcome?)
  3. How can I best demonstrate this struggle to my audience? (Can I be present and follow “before”, “during” and “after”?)

Choosing can be hard. But letting fate, coincidence or luck decide is even harder in the long-run. Not making a conscious choice beforehand costs a lot more time and effort during the production and in the editing room resulting in a poorer outcome.

So grab an editor or colleague near you and try to answer the three questions above!

For inspiration and tips on storytelling techniques, a journalist may use fictional storytelling, such as this story about one man’s improbable travails.

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