Best news video 2017

Cut to the chase.

The Excellence in News Video/Streaming category had a rough start. There were six entries — and according to the judges, too many struggled to get to the point.

“I would have liked to see an entry that telegraphed the essentials in the first 15 percent,” said one disappointed judge. “Maybe it’s a personal flaw, but I don’t like being strung along and forced to wait through an entire video to understand what the point is going to be.”

When writing news stories (including videos), a best practice is to start the piece by stating the purpose of the article in the very beginning. Some journos call this the nut — the most important bits of the story bundled up nicely in an introductory sentence or paragraph. It usually follows a lede, an opening sentence meant to draw the reader in.

“Call me old-fashioned, but especially when you’re tackling a lot of data or numbers I feel like the approach should be: Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you just told them. (In detail, this time.),” that same judge explained.

“In other words, counterintuitively, you give the conclusion very early and then spend the rest of the time backing it up and reiterating it. If you just start slogging through a bunch of numbers without giving a reason to care, don’t expect me to follow very far.”

As a holistic critique of the entries, our non-anonymous judge Gideon Grudo had this to say:

“Presenting opinion as news is misleading and unethical. Generalizing the activities of journos is bad. Generalizing anything is bad. Stick to what you know, report it.”

In other words: Don’t state opinion as fact. Don’t make wide-sweeping claims which can’t be proven and present them as facts. If you have an opinion to share, clearly identify it as an opinion.

“Analysis, observation, and speculation are necessary and totally acceptable, as long as they’re introduced, described, and attributed as such. That’s a big part of the value any person can offer any other person, in any context by which one person has spent the time to look into a topic the other person hasn’t. Also, everything I just said is my flawed, biased, and personal opinion.”

Choosing a winner for this category was tough for the judges. Two of the judges put one piece in their top three — out judge Grudo picked no winners at all. Considering the disparate opinions, the judges agreed, no placements will be awarded. But there is one honorable mention…


Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the public’s right to know — either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.


comments powered by Disqus

Connect

Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Instagram Pinterest Pinterest LinkedIn


© Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ