Final report week – how to


And so it ends on a discussion of mental health services funding. This week was my last as a reporter for UOWTV through Newsroom. Next week I’ll be playing editor, but I feel the finale of reporting deserves commemoration.

I was once again on audio this week and once again had a fab time. My story was another pretty news-centred local piece, this time about healthcare funding in South Eastern NSW. It was mildly dry, but sometimes that’s unavoidable. It was a much more serious subject matter than last week’s, but I think the production value was pretty similar.

You will notice in this piece the interviews were recorded over the phone. I always feel audio stories sound much more cohesive when interviews are recorded face-to-face, but sometimes this just isn’t an option.

Being my last reporting week, I thought it might be an idea to take you through a step-by-step explanation of the news creation process. So;

  1. FIND A STORY – this might involve an existing news search, responding to a press release, scouring the internet for interesting events or simply hearing something news-worthy on the grapevine.
  2. RESEARCH – figure out why your story is relevant, who it affects and how. This will help you find your ANGLE for the piece.
  3. FIND INTERVIEWEES – first you have to determine who is relevant, then find how they might be contacted, see if they’ll agree to an interview, and then set up a time/place/method for the interview. In most news settings, you’ll need to do this on the day you’ll produce your story. The key to this process – back up talent and persistence.
  4. DO INTERVIEWS – this could be in person or over the phone, but you’ll generally record the conversation for your notes. It’s advisable to have a set of questions ready, although thinking on your feet and adapting questions to other responses is essential.
  5. EDIT INTERVIEWS – find that quote! Depending on your medium, you’ll probably use about 10% of what your talent has said. Find the most meaningful, unbiased and relevant quotes that fit your story.
  6. RECORD/WRITE/EDIT REMAINDER – in the case of an audio story, you then need to script and record you voice over that will provide context to the chosen quotes and tell the rest of the story. Ambient sounds or music can also be added to capture and maintain the attention of audiences. In video or digital mediums, you’ll need to find the relevant shots/images and for written you’ll need to structure and craft the quotes into a written story, considering hyperlinks (for online) and other multimedia elements.
  7. EDIT FOR PUBLISHING – in Newsroom, after you’ve put everything together, you’ll have to produce or source a photo and other multimedia elements that add value or depth to your story. You’re also required to write a concise piece that adds further meaning.
  8. EDITORIAL CHECKS – an editor will look over your piece for inaccuracies, spelling/grammar issues and general quality. They will decide if the story should be published.
  9.  POST CHECK – make sure the intent of your story has been delivered after editorial checks. Now go home and have a lie down.

*This whole time you should also have been sharing information, promoting the story and interacting with audiences on social media.


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