A lot of what I've written in the blog posts describes strategies MMJs can use to solve problems. The list of obstacles to overcome on the way to producing a story on deadline is pretty extensive: getting people to agree to talk, getting there in time, making sure the equipment works and on and on. That's part of the job. You can't wish it away. But what you can wish for is just one day - JUST ONE! - where things go right. That happened today, the last day of my 2016 KPIX summer experience.
Over the past two years, the success of the Golden State Warriors has buoyed the spirit of the East Bay community. Folks of all stripes are totally behind the Warriors. So, when the team doesn't do well, when it loses, it strikes deep into the fan base's psyche. In fact, you might say the Warriors fans were whining about last night's Game 6 loss in the NBA Finals. Post-game sound bites included: "It was the referees;" "The NBA wants the Warriors to lose;" "This whole thing is rigged."
That sounded like a story to me: How come sports fans make excuses after a loss? Who on earth can I talk to about that? Some type of sports psychologist, maybe? I started the story process as many reporters do with a Google search: san+francisco+sports+psychologist+fans. The second result looked promising:
And indeed, check out the author's byline in the Washington Post story:
YESSSSSS!!!!! Knowledgeable and local. Perfect. The assignment desk helped me find his phone number and he agreed to the interview in a timely manner. I consider days such as these a reward for all the hard work MMJs typically have to put in to make TV magic happen. Just right. It's not often you can say you talked to the person who "literally" wrote the book on your subject.
Like it or not, journalists need to grab the viewers' attention to be successful. It sounds like marketing because it is. There's so much competing information out there, we can no longer just publish and expect the audience to follow along. Sometimes, being a little provocative can help turn eyeballs our way. In this case, the story could have been presented generically: "Expert says human brains are wired to express passion about sports teams." Fine, but not all that compelling. Instead, the social media and anchor intros I wrote focused on Warriors fans being whiners. That's a hot potato! Check out the response I got to my promo Tweet. I'm guessing she tuned in to watch the story.
Going live is a skill that takes time to develop. There are lot of things to think about, and "just look comfortable" is a lot harder than it appears. But one thing beginning reporters can do to make their live performances look more professional is keep them short and simple. A big mistake many students make is writing an elaborate live shot script. This inevitably leads to stumbles and a painful result. "Short and simple." I kept that in mind today, the only time I was live in the field this week. I didn't need to get into a lot of the details of the story, I only needed to keep the viewers interested until the package rolled.
That's it for this year. Thanks again to all the folks at KPIX who make this possible. Some random parting shots. Click for the caption.