The one shot story

During the past school year, I’ve learned a lot about broadcast journalism. I learned how to write to my shots, include a human element, shoot those shots and edit them into sequences to tell a compelling story.

There was quite the learning curve, and even to this day I know there’s still a lot left to learn about creating a broadcast news story.

Today, I read an article that changed all of that. It’s something that I think I’d love to experiment with some time, but the time has to be right.

Poynter discussed how some journalists are experimenting with the one-shot story. A straight two minute shot with no video editing that tells a compelling story.

Read about it and see some examples here.

What I’ve gathered from this is that while it SEEMS like it’d be a very easy thing to do, it’s obviously not. The journalist must have an idea of when the two minutes is going to start and when it will end, and work with all sorts of different audio channels as well (just like when creating a sequenced news story too).

The time must also be right for creating a story like this. It can’t be over done and needs to be used to create passion, emotion and make you feel like you’re there with the person in the moment.

This single shot story works well to tell the story of a family who fought so hard to adopt her children from Africa. It even makes a two minute walk from a bus stop to a job interview so appealing. Because it’s not what you SEE on the TV, it’s what you feel.

Many of the same elements of a sequenced story are still used in this single take. The journalist must still write to what’s happening on the TV and fill us in with the information that we might not otherwise have.

I find this story-telling to be incredibly appealing because it is raw and to the point. I look forward to seeing how it will be used in the future and if it will catch on. But hopefully not so much that it becomes overdone.


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