Advanced Video Camera and Editing

Finding Your Story

What makes a good story? You need to develop a gut feeling for whether the story will work or not. If you find it interesting, then that enthusiasm will help you engage your audience. A defining characteristic of a good reporter is curiosity, and part of telling a good story is conveying that curiosity, and sense of intrigue, to an audience. 

Is the idea viable?

Finding an idea is one thing. But it's just an idea until it gets developed into a powerful narrative. However, before committing to an idea first think it through and ask whether there is a story. Also, ask whether it has strong visual potential. Then, explore the topic in-depth, determining aspects that make the story interesting to you. There may be heaps of information to sort through, but the journalist must know what information can be left out.

The key to telling a good news story is knowing what to leave out.

Many reporters will collect heaps of information and then feel obligated to use all of it, or as much as possible. A reporter who tries to explain everything will succeed at only confusing the audience. It's fine to put additional elements into the Web story version of a broadcast story, but on the air, your time is limited.

To assess your story consider the following:

  • What makes the story newsworthy?
  • What relevance does the story have on your audience?
  • Does the story have an emotional appeal? (That is, does the story have the potential to connect with your audience? Does the idea evoke an emotional response?)

Then try to explain the story as if you're having a conversation with someone. Or try it on a friend. 

If you can't explain the idea to yourself or a friend, then you certainly can't explain it to an audience.

Whether you do news or documentary work, good storytelling is key as it connects everything together. Take a look at this video on Documentary Storytelling: Story Basics to learn how you can produce engaging stories. Produced by Videomaker