Great Tips For Safe Reporting - Part 5

Posted May 03, 2020
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Perhaps the most difficult and most challenging job in the TV news business today is being a sports reporter.

Pretty much every sport is in hiatus. 

Where you used to be able to start with a game or a well known player who had just done something amazing, you now have to manufacture as much content, just without the raw material

On top of that, if you're a TV journalist, you have to produce stories that are compelling while staying safe.

This is not so easy to do.

A lot of TV network sports reporters have reverted to doing Zoom interviews.

This gets old fast.

Spectrum1 News MMJ (Los Angeles) Nikki Kay (a graduate of our bootcamps) has done a stellar job of covering the sports world without sacrificing quality and while staying safe. You still feel like you are there with the athletes, even while she stays safe. 

I wrote to her to ask her to share her tips:


Sports Storytelling in the time of Covid-19


Getting started: 

-connect with your old sources… you already have the video and the contact!

-find a story in “a new normal” how are athletes/teams finding ways to adapt?

                i.e. zoom workouts, kettlebells in their apartments, solo track workouts

-the training continues, even though sports are on pause… there is something unique for everyone’s situation, and that is an inherent story arc.  

-when I reach out to people I present two options

                - are you available for a quick 5-10 minute zoom?

                - are you training in a way that you wouldn’t mind if I came with my Iphone, kept socially distant, and documented what you were doing? – athletes are usually open to letting you tag along!



The Arc: 

-the obstacle: cancelled season, no facilities, postponed games  

-so what? How have YOU been affected- what’s been the hardest thing you have personally ? Did you pivot?

-the triumph: how do you respond? What’s the silver lining



Interview points to hit (can have more than enough material in ten minutes worth of questions)

-What’s your daily routine looking like?

-How have the past couple of months been?

-What’s been your emotional low? And how did you pick yourself up?

-What’s something your doing to stay in shape, that you might never have seen yourself doing before? What’s a funny story of an extreme you’ve gone to?

-any comical moments on a zoom workout?   

- what have you learned about yourself?

-What are you looking forward to?

-While you are interviewing keep notes of potential good visuals…. At the end of the interview say this

                “hey, I don’t know if this is an inconvenience… but could you provide some horizontal phone video of you doing your different workouts?

                Could you have your roommate/ mom video you over the shoulder while you are doing your online zoom classes?/studying/ kicking a ball against your garage?

                It can be as easy as texting me the videos!” 



Visuals  - sometimes you have to make do with chicken salad!

-have them record their zoom workouts, have them set up an iphone videoing them during their own workouts

-when you get video back, while you are editing a monotonous shot… try and mix up the shot by zooming in on different parts of the action!

- WRITE to the visuals… when you are dealing with limited sequences, or you’re not in control of the video you receive, watch it and visualize how you would describe this video as it RELATES to the story that is unfolding! 



Stuck? Here are some easy ways to start your story with old video





Easy ways to start story with new video:

  • Training looks a little different for The Rock these days ….
  • Jimmy John never thought he’d be here


You can follower her @NikkiKaySN1


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