Friday, August 31, 2012

More suggestions for the webscast

Here are more ideas for fine-tuning the daily webcast to make it look more professional and be more compelling to viewers:

• Put more news in the newscast. I know it's a tough transition to a daily-news mindset after years of gathering news for a weekly publication, but news does happen on campus every day (or at least every weekday). Once the staff gets in the swing of daily coverage, both the website and the daily newscast should have at least three solid news stories to post. Section editors, especially, need to make short versions of stories available to the online editor, who should edit them for broadcast.
• Write 'em in the present tense. The typical print brief is written in the past tense, but you want viewers of the webcast to feel that things are happening as you're talking about them. That means writing things in the present tense as often as possible (but still be logical). So, instead of reading the print lede:
"A majority of students in Chico State residence halls surveyed last year thought the food in Sutter Residential Dining Center was average or above average..." 
bring the webcast lead into the present
"Food served in the Sutter Residential Dining Center gets a thumbs up from a majority of dorm students.
That's according to a report released over the summer by ..."

• Cut down on the national weather stories and emphasize what happened and what's going to happen on campus. I think the ideal line up would be something like
- 3 voice-over (VO) or sound-on-tape (SOT) news stories from the day's events (60 seconds)
- A forecast of the next three days' weather with a graphic that shows highs, lows and conditions (sunny, rainy, cloudy, etc.) (20 seconds)
- A rundown of events happening on campus or in Chico that day of interest to students: athletic contests, concerts, lectures, performances, important deadlines, etc. (10 seconds or a little more, depending on what's happening).
• Tighten up the frame on the anchor (the shot on the left is what's being aired now).

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