Mistakes In Student-Produced
News Releases (VNRs)
Updated 14 August 2015
Too promotional --
Not really newsworthy. Lacking a "news hook." A good VNR takes
a neutral tone that makes it look and sound like any other news story.
This does not mean that the VNR should not have a purpose: i.e. to introduce
a new product or create awareness of a new service. However, like
a any news release, print or video, it will not be used if it does not
have a perceived news value.
There is often a tendency to add chyrons or music in an effort to "jazz"
up the VNR. That's the opposite of what broadcasters want.
They want something that is flexible enough to put their own imprint on,
such as their own graphics package. In short, if they can't make
it look like their own production, they are less likely to use it.
Missing key elements --
A good VNR contains each of these elements:
A :60-:90 "rough cut" package
(minus graphics and special effects) with a couple of soundbites and an
announcer voiceover with a generic outcue. This should be
preceded by a billboard chyron which gives pertinent background information
on the story, the suggested lead-in, the length of the package, the outcue,
and the name of telephone number of a person who may be contacted
for more information. If the material is dated and should be aired
before a specific date, that should be indicated as well.
Three to five minutes of "B-roll."
It may include video from the package, but should also include additional
video. The video should be steady and well-framed. Each shot
should be held long enough to give the editor some flexibility in editing.
When appropriate, a chyron billboard should describe what is on the B-roll
(the billboard is separate and is not keyed over the B-roll). This
B-roll should also include any logos or title graphics that are appropriate.
"I forgot" --
By this, I mean that students have often forgotten or ignored the basics
of picture composition and continuity they learned in J301 and J435.
The lessons of good broadcast writing in active voice are ignored.
Don't "do your own thing." Stick to the basics.
A series of soundbites.
These bites should run from eight to 20 second in length. They may
include cuts from the package, but should include additional cuts, as well.
Each should preceded with a chyron billboard the gives the name of the
speaker, the set-up to the question, the length of the cut, and the outcue.
Pictures don't match the
words -- Because students often do not adequately plan their video
shooting in advance, they often find themselves trying to "stretch" in
the editing booth by using inferior or inappropriate video.
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