VIP Storytelling

By Doug Drew 

There are three keys to storytelling that every reporter should follow. Every reporter should think VIP when producing his or her story.

Television news is all about pictures, so the visuals should be considered front and center. In fact, if you don’t have the pictures, think about whether the story is even worth doing. Some stories obviously transcend this, but if it’s not a visual story and you have other options, you might want to choose something else.

Once you have decided to cover the story, then consider what the visual will be and write to those pictures as specifically as possible. See it, say it. Describe what the viewers are seeing. Look at your pictures before writing the story. Words must match the pictures or the viewer will get confused.

Viewers want to know that you are out on the streets covering the story. They want to see you outside the station gathering the news. Involve yourself in the story in a way that helps explain the story. Do something in your standup that shows the viewer something interesting. If someone shot at a house, walk up to it and show where the bullet holes went in. If the playground is being closed because of aging equipment, show the rust on the teeter-totter. If the storm knocked down a tree, show how it just missed the propane tank on the barbeque grill.

Find interesting people upon which to focus the story. Most officials are boring. Viewers can identify with regular people, people just like them. If the story is about unemployment, find someone who is out of work. If the story is about health care, find someone struggling to pay for health care for a loved one. If the story is about pot holes, talk to a truck driver who has to driver over potholes all day long. If the story is about the high cost of college, find a college student who has to work two jobs just to pay tuition.

Keep Visuals, Involvement and People in mind when telling your story and your viewers will find the story more interesting.

Doug Drew is a morning news specialist with 602 Communications. He can be reached at