Week Five

This week we focused on chapter 8 – Constructing the Story.

‘I can’t tell this story in 90 seconds’. They said ‘that’s your job’… (Berkov 1993: n.p.)

This chapter deals with the struggles journalists face when it comes to deciding which bits of information will clearly, precisely and effectively explain what needs to be said in a short time frame. Being selective can be difficulty, but it is important that as a journalist, you are sticking to your time/word limit while ensuring your story is balanced and telling both sides of the story.

An easy way to begin structuring your story is to list all points or imagery in the order you would like to present them.  However, depending on the medium you’re writing for, that order may change from chronological, to ‘best pictures first’ or the most current material first.
A story for broadcast may be presented in a similar sequence as follows:

→ Intro
→ Reporter’s voicer/package beginning with current material or best vision
→followed by background information moving backward/forwards in time

Picture-driven story: Rescue/search/aftermath
Linear: Search/rescue/aftermath

When deciding what vision to use, whether it be the most current or the best pictures first, sometimes the latter will create a more effective news story. Therefore, it’s okay to use library vision. Without the ability to reuse vision, some stories could not be put together at all. Natural sound should also be incorporated throughout ones story.


In summary, a journalist will gather information and pictures first, then writes up a script whereby the narration and imagery are joined.

‘The camera never lies’ (Frank 1993: 20), but it is selective, and the words that are written to the pictures can be misleading

Using re-enactments and reaction  imagery or vision can lead to a question of ethics in this industry. Issues of realism come to play, because reenactments aren’t authentic.

e.g. Before 2011, the White House was known to re-enact scenes of the president giving televised speeches, in order to avoid disruption by photographers during the real event (Bauder, 2011: n.p.).

Chapter 9 – Narrating and presenting

This chapter talks about the importance of having narrating skills in most journalism fields. Particularly for broadcast television and radio, it’s important for a journalist to understand their own voice, and know how to use it. Alysen says professional help with voice training will give you confidence in your delivery style, pronunciation and common speech errors (Alysen, 2012). The BBC encourages journalists to participate in voice coaching and to look after your voice (BBC, 2016).

References: BBC, The Electronic Reporter – Barbara Alysen
Image via JournalismSara, feature image made for reuse


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