The elements of a good news package

As a TV news reporter, your goal every day is to create a good package. A package is basically the best TV version of your story, which uses video, audio and writing to tell a story completely on its own. So you’d be surprised how often young reporters struggle with it.

I’ve seen reporters take one long 2-minute soundbite and call it a package. I’ve seen reporters point to an anchor reading a script and call it a package. What they’re not understanding is that a package needs to contain everything – sights, sounds, and words. A package is a self contained video element – it needs to stand on its own. If all a viewer had to go on was this single package, they should still be able to understand what is being told.

You need video clips, you need short sound bites, you need a reporter narrating the video, you need natural sound, and you need good writing.

Want a better demonstration? What’s a better way to learn about packages than with a package? Here’s a package I put together with the Orange Media Network at Oregon State University to show students what needs to be included to make a good package. This was done with just me and a camera, which is what you will be doing as a one-man-band:

To recap, a package needs:

  • B-roll – video clips illustrating the story, edited in sequences to give the viewer an accurate picture of what’s happening.
  • Reporter track – your voice as the reporter, narrating the b-roll. If you want to compare it to a newspaper article, it’s everything that’s not the quotes.
  • Soundbites – You will be interviewing several people for every package, but you’re not going to use their entire conversation. Chop the interview into short, meaningful soundbites.
  • Natural sound – the ambient noise in an area lets the story breathe, and nat pops (short bursts of natural sound) can jump out to the viewer and grab their attention
  • Stand ups – The reporter on camera, demonstrating or showing something. Don’t use it for face time, use it as a way to illustrate the story. Use props or set the camera at unique angles to show something.

Include these items, and you will be well on your way to crafting a good package!

One thought on “The elements of a good news package

  1. Pingback: Words Broadcasters Never Say | Steven Sandberg

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