Standup tips for student broadcast reporters shooting news

Within EGMN, the majority of my students are broadcast journalism majors who want to be tv reporters.  After years of reviewing countless demo reels, I’ve noticed that the majority of students need significant help delivering a polished stand-up.  Below are some tips from various resources that will help you perfect your standup.

Things to consider in your news standup

via Newslab.org

A little forethought and some critical questions can make all the difference:

  • Why would I want to include a stand-up in this story?
  • What information would I convey in a stand-up?
  • Do I have something to show or demonstrate in this stand-up?
  • Where and when might I do this stand-up?
  • How will the stand-up fit into the finished story?

Types of standups

Lee Hood, University of Colorado

  • Demonstration (or interactive) stand-up — demonstrates a point in the story, using props or the natural setting.
  • Bridge stand-up—bridges the gap or makes a transition between two different ideas in the story.
  • Closing stand-up— summaries or wraps up the story. (We discourage this. It’s more memorable/powerful to end on a strong visual and a great line to go with it.
  • Information stand-up — incorporates information you don’t have video to cover.
  • Scene-setting stand-up ‑ establishes the reporter’s presence at the scene, to   add credibility to the report.

Doing standups in the field

For most news stories, you will need to shoot your stand-up in the field, before you log the tape and write the story. Learning what to say, and how it will fit into the story, can be a challenge to new reporters. Here are some ideas:

  • Try for an element in the story that won’t change, not a fact that may need updating.
  • Look for a relevant fact in the story you can highlight with your stand-up, or an important element you don’t have video for.
  • You may use the stand-up to set up (or come out of) a sound bite, if you’ve already done the interview.
  • You may use the stand-up to show yourself at the scene of the action.

Other important ideas for successful stand-ups:

  • The setting/background should be pertinent to the story and immediately recognizable, or referenced, as such.
  • Try to do the stand-up without notes.
  • If using a stick mic, hold the mic close to you and firmly, to display confidence.
  • It’s usually best to limit your story to one stand-up. Stand-ups work best in the middle of the story or at the end, not at the beginning.

Evaluating your stand-ups

  • Does the stand-up tell or illustrate something better than video could alone?
  • Is it interesting?
  • Does it fit well in the context of the story?
  • Does the reporter make the location clear?
  • Does the reporter look relaxed/natural?

Standup Tips

(Newsteam Boulder)

  • Look for a relevant fact in the story you can highlight with your stand-up, or an important element you don’t have video for.
  • Try to explain, rather than “report” or “read”.
  • Speak in phrases. Relay the information in natural, conversational language.
  • Make maximum use of your surroundings. When appropriate, take advantage of movement, props, etc., without being contrived, cute or staged.
  • The setting/background should be pertinent to the story and immediately recognizable, or references, as such.
  • Try to do the stand-up without notes. It helps if you keep it short – two or three sentences is all you need.
  • Keep your stand-ups to one thought/idea. Don’t combine two different ideas. Keep it simple.

 Additional tips (Advancing the Story)

  • Show the audience something they might have otherwise missed.
  • Demonstrate how something works.
  • Be sure that whatever is coming out of your mouth directly relates to what you are doing with your hands, feet and eyes.

 

For additional coaching and mentoring on your journalism career follow me at @EGMNRay on Twitter You can also email me at president@egmncorp.com