Broadcast Storytelling

Recent posts

11 Ways To Take The Planet Money Approach To Your Stories

This morning, StateImpact Florida aired its first piece in a series of “Planet Money-style” explorations on an issue of interest. Reporters take a single question and pursue the answer, then they have a (scripted) conversation with one another with relevant sound bites sprinkled in.

Planet Money’s conversations come in the form of their tremendously popular podcasts and radio pieces, and their explanatory approach to reporting has landed their first Planet Money piece, “The Giant Pool of Money,” as one of the Top Ten Works of Journalism of the DECADE.

Florida StateImpact reporters John O’Connor and Sarah Gonzalez are aiming to do these segments regularly, and it’s a format you, too, can try in your own state. It’s a good way to work together with your reporting partner and give your audiences an answer to important question on your beat.

How does the Planet Money team do what it does? Here’s the guidance from Planet Money’s Robert Smith, who spoke with our Florida staff. (Hat tip to WUSF’s Scott Finn for taking notes that I could then turn into a blogpost.)

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Broadcast Workshop: Keeping Your Audience’s Attention

Thanks, broadcast reporters, for taking part in this week’s webinar with Ken and Cathy on how to keep your listeners hooked during your stories. Here are Cathy’s key tips in case you missed the action.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to ignore a radio story? It’ll start and then a few minutes later you’re lost and you don’t care. Once you get out of the story, it’s hard to get interested again.

The key to getting and keeping listener’s attention is storytelling.
The key to good storytelling is story structure.
That means a strong beginning, middle and end.

This is especially important with policy stories. You have to share your passion and enthusiasm for an issue in a way that makes people care. As Nancy Updike said at Third Coast a couple of years back, “the biggest enemy is not bad-ness. It’s okay-ness.” You need to constantly ask yourself: “Is there a better beginning to my story?” “A more interesting middle?” “A snazzier end?”

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Web Writing for Broadcasters: The Webinar weekend web editor Melisa Goh explains how to convert radio scripts for web and passes on some other helpful web writing tips.

Writing for the Web:

  • Text is king on the Web.
  • Your goal for everything you write on the Web is to get the user to stick around.
  • Your Web text needs to hook people in early and get them to keep reading.

Melisa Goh’s Ten tips for writing web text:

  • Think about how to tell the web story before you start reporting.
  • Report for the web while you’re reporting for broadcast.
  • Keep your writing tight and compelling.
  • Think visually: what parts of the story can you tell with images?
  • Use nut graf.
  • Manage your quotes and transitions.
  • Always attribute.
  • Watch your spelling, style and grammar.
  • Consider how the user will get to your story.
  • After your story posts, promote it.