Journalism

Tyrell Ceremony

The artifact that I have chosen to reflect on is a sport story for MC-TV.  This story is coverage of the memorial ceremony held by MC Softball team for their assistant coach Jeff Tyrell.  Through taking several TV workshops, I have learned several skills to make a good story.  Knowing what I learned about what makes a good story in the world of broadcast journalism, I was able to plan out how I wanted the story to go.  Before starting any story, a journalist has to think about the flow of the story.  I wanted to start the story by giving the audience the background information of who the coach was.  How did he get his nickname?  What made him so good?  I wanted to answer those questions first.  Then, I wanted to show how the softball team was going to honor him by dedicating the season to him.  I did this through interviews with players and coaches.  Then, the last thing I wanted to do was to show the coach’s legacy that he left on the game.  I did this with an interview with his son and he explained what he thought his father’s legacy was.

To make this particular story, I focused on the interview shots and made sure I did two that I learned during each interview: allow for look space and have an interactive background.  For all four of my interviews, including the stand-up at the beginning and end of the piece, there was what we call “look space.”  Look space is the amount of space given to wherever the interviewer is located.  This is important to make the interview look like a natural conversation between the subject and interviewer.  This creates a relaxed atmosphere in the story rather than having the subject look directly into the camera, which creates tension and more forceful atmosphere. For example, in the interview with Jeff Tyrell’s son, he was placed on the left side of the screen because I was on the right side of the camera.  The space in between the subject and the right side of the screen is larger than the space between him and the left side of the screen.  In an interview shot, I learned that an interactive background or exciting background is more pleasing to the viewer.  For my interviews, I made sure to have the softball field with players warming up behind the subject.  I also learned that B-roll is important when shooting a news story.  B-roll is video that better describes the event while the anchor explains what is being seen.  The B-roll needs to be smooth flowing with the script.  When I talked about “tears and sorrow” I showed video of player crying and when I talked about Coach Tyrell’s son, I showed pictures of him talking.  Another skill that I had knowledge of and used in my story was that B-roll needs to be centered on one specific thing rather than a wide shot of a variety of things.  B-roll is supposed to control how the viewer looks at the story.  By giving the viewer only one or two things to look at, they can get a better idea of what is going on.  The main purpose of my story was to show how the softball team honored their assistant coach who recently passed away.  In order for the viewer to see that purpose in my story, each B-roll shot had one or two things from the ceremony.  I used mainly close-up and medium range shots that captured a sign, the bracelets the softball team was selling, a picture of coach Tyrell and a group of three or four people listening to the speeches.  Each shot focused on one specific part of the ceremony rather than getting one wide shot of the whole field.  This allowed the viewer to get a closer look at what happened during the ceremony.

Stories always have to have two important things when considered to be put into a local newscast: timeliness and newsworthiness.  Timeliness is how sensitive is the topic in concept of time.  When did this happen? Is it important right now?  My story is timely because the celebration happened during the softball season.  Coach Tyrell’s death happened far earlier, but the story was not about his death, but rather the celebration of his life by the team that he coached.  News worthiness is how important the story is to the audience.  Since my audience is the Monmouth College campus, included faculty and students, this story carries a lot of news worthiness for two reasons.  The first is that is affects the softball team which is important to many students and faculty.  The second is that many students and faculty had a relationship with coach Tyrell.  They would want to know how the softball team is dealing with his death and honoring him during the season.

One thing that was always said during class was not to tell that the event happened but to tell what happened at the event.  This is important when writing a script.  I kept this in mind when writing the script for this piece because I told more about Coach Tyrell and his life and how he impacted Monmouth college, rather than writing about the softball team holding a memorial.  Everyone knows that the softball team held a memorial; my job is to tell them what they missed.  For example, I took stories that the head coach told in his speech and I used that to create a list of what coach Tyrell did and how that impacted Monmouth college softball players.  One story Coach Goddard told the crowd was about spending a lot of nights in the same hotel room as coach Tyrell.  He learned a lot of new things about him during this time and I shared a few of those in the script to give more information about coach Tyrell.  I did that by using all the knowledge that I had learned and applied it to my news story.

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