Journalism is a cutthroat industry. Everyone is trying to beat each other to the stories and trying to be the best. How can you stand out from the crowd when everyone appears to be the same?
The first step to being unique is to be yourself. When reporting, you have creative license to how you shoot things, what you say, and how you say it. Everyone has their own style and it is important to find yours. In college, I found that I would watch the national anchors on television and try to mimic them. While that style worked for them, it didn’t work for me. I became too serious and put too much pressure on myself.
I am a fun, bubbly and outgoing person, but I also know when to be serious, practical and assertive. I use these traits to my advantage when anchoring and reporting.
Anchor: host of the newscast who navigates the audience through the show, similar to an air traffic controller who is incharge of all of the planes (stories).
Reporter: shares one story and focuses on it for either a short or longer period of time. Appears on camera once or twice in a show. Similar to an individual pilot who is in charge of one flight at a time.
As an anchor, we are covering a variety of stories. From COVID-19 vaccination updates to National Puppy Day, anchors navigate the audience between stories of triumph and tribulation. For me, I try to use different parts of my personality to convey each story. Sometimes we go from very heart wrenching stories to cross talk about weather, in fact I did that last week. In my script, I make notes to remind myself where I am going in the next story. It allows me to effectively transition and bring in our meteorologist. In transition, it is important to slowly fade between stories. For example, when transitioning between a story about the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and weather, it is important to acknowledge the tragedy before fully moving on to the sunshine outside.
Video Storytelling basics from the University of Massachusetts.
As a reporter, you are focused on one story and do not have to make these transitions, but it is important to recognize where emotion can go in the story. People connect to how you tell the story. If something is confusing, ask a question. If something is tragic, pause for a second and give the audience breathing room. If it is happy, smile when you speak into the microphone as you track your package. All of these small tricks play a role in making a compelling story.
Package: a full story featuring a variety of sources and video.
Track Package: create a voice over or a recorded voice track that goes in between the source sound bites.
These small details make you stand out from the crowd. The audience may not recognize them, but they will remember how you made them feel. As a journalist my goal is to inform and relate to my audience to show them what is going on and why it is important. These details make all the difference to achieving that goal!