A Clever Way to Do A TV News Story When No One Will Talk on Camera

Anyone who has reported in TV news for any amount of time knows there is nothing more frustrating than to turn a story when no one will talk to you on camera.  I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I was told that there would be no comment from the principal parties or no one would talk about the issues, or someone told me they didn’t have enough information to address the issue or (and this is my favorite) someone wants to talk to you but not on camera and not for attribution. The last one is usually some yahoo who can’t wait to share his or her opinion but doesn’t have the gonads to stand behind his ir her comments publically.   Having said all of that, I was talking to my friend Jamey Tucker (formerly of WREG and now a VJ at WKRN in Nashville) about a story he was working on (as I understand it) regarding the banning of video shot by camera phones at SEC football games.  No one from the SEC wanted to talk about it, nobody at Vanderbilt in Nashville wanted to talk about it.  Basically he had a story to tell and no sound to do it.  Now, I have turned a story which amounted to long walking stand-ups and graphics and it got the point across but it wasn’t anything to write home about.  Jamey, IMHO, is a very resourceful and creative sort and he is one to make lemonade when someone hands him lemons.  Take a look at what he ended up doing with the story.  Again, IMHO, it conveys the information and does so in a humorous way.  Plus, it’s a story that I’M talking about.  Here’s the link, check in out.

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2 Comments on “A Clever Way to Do A TV News Story When No One Will Talk on Camera”

  1. DougJ. Says:

    I did something like that in Savannah in ’87 with another reporter to promote a charity bachelor auction he was participating in (no, it wasn’t really news, but that station didn’t really do a lot of real news).

    I seem to remember a news director at WREG having a “at least two different interviews per package” suggestion (edict). It wasn’t always easy – but news directors never are…

  2. Former Fox 13'er Says:

    Had a similar type of dilemma. We were following up the story Wendi Thomas broke about the firefighter “fashion show” where the firefighters walked out with nothing but soap suds covering their naughty bits. Ok, so how in the world are you going to find FCC safe b-roll for THAT story? Got our interviews, then I had an idea. Found my old ‘police light’ that I bought from Spencer gifts back in HS, and filled the sink with soap suds. Shots the soap suds in different angles with the ‘police’ light flashing on them. Did the same for Wendi’s CA article. Ended up being a decent PKG. There are ways around ‘no video and sound’.


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