Ryan's Writings…at Mason

Briggs Chapter 8: ‘Telling Stories with Video’

Painting a story with your words is something that journalists learn how to do perfectly.

But sometimes words just aren’t enough for the reader.

Videos can take a story to the next level — letting the reader watch the story unfold is the perfect way to get them reading.

Mark Briggs’s example in his eighth chapter of “Journalism Next,” is a perfect example of how a video can gain a reader’s interest better than any well-written lead:


This video makes the reader want to learn more about this 8-year-old — not just because he has one leg — but because it is apparent that he’s a fantastic baseball player.

Video’s like these are powerful tools for journalists who need to enhance their writing, but it also takes a lot of practice to shoot a good video.

Briggs notes that nowadays, because anyone can upload a video on YouTube, journalists don’t need to make broadcast-television-worthy videos.

And especially if a story is breaking news, journalists don’t have the time to sit at home or in their office editing videos to put up on the Web. Being fast-paced and accurate are qualities a journalist must possess in order to have a good video, just like writing a story.

Sometimes even raw video gets the most hits, because audiences want to see the real, live action of a breaking news event and not the clean-cut edited version that looks like your local news television broadcast.

But regardless of the type of video you are shooting, practice makes perfect, and in order to create compelling videos in a timely manner, journalists MUST practice shooting video.

One Website to check out is BBCacademy.com. BBC has made this training website specifically for the broadcast industry, and it is a vital tool for journalists. The Five-Shot Method is mentioned in Chapter 8 of Briggs’s book as one of the fool-proof methods for shooting good video.

Leave a Comment