Posted on July 14, 2009
How to gather, shoot, write for video
This is a great resource: the Television Scripts portion of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, online for free, accessible by anyone. Check these sections:
- Write to Pictures
- Story Structure
- 10 Key Words Approach (this is great!)
- What Is the Story? (also excellent)
- Shooting Soundbites
I’m saying this from the perspective of a journalism educator who struggles to find good professional materials for my students to learn from. Too many textbooks are written as if for idiots, and the prices are ridiculous. I’m embarrassed to ask students to spend $50 for a book that contains only 10 or 20 valuable pages — and far too many journalism textbooks fit that description.
(One of the more notable exceptions is Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production  — less than $20, and every chapter is truly useful.)
I’m stunned to see this Reuters handbook. From the BBC (public, not-for-profit), I wouldn’t be so surprised. But from Reuters, a fully commercial enterprise? I think someone should give Reuters a medal, a prize, a commendation. The entire Handbook of Journalism is cool, but this video news portion is so much more clear and concise than all the TV news textbooks I have ever examined — awesome. The whole handbook is a wiki (NOT editable by the public, of course) to make for easy corrections and updating. It’s brilliant.
Thank you, Reuters. Every journalism program in every college and university should thank you for this.
(Tip of my hat to the broadcast journalism blog Advancing the Story, where I learned about the Reuters handbook.)