People sitting in a room during a presentation

A Shift in Storytelling

By Andronica Owens
Web Content Contributor

On Nov. 11 the Texas Association of Broadcasters hosted the Southwest Broadcast Newsroom Workshop in Houston. It was a conference welcoming media professionals and aspiring media professionals from all over the state.

There were many professionals presenting at the conference. From Deborah Potter, Advancing the Story in Washington, to Brendan Keefe,WXIA-TV in Atlanta, the audience was held captive by the riveting and relevant topics being presented by these individuals. However, there was one presenter that spoke to me the most out of all of them.

Boyd Huppert, a news reporter in Minneapolis, presented “Newswriting Master Class” and “Social Media: It’s Personal”. Both of these presentations proved to be packed with tips to help journalists write their best stories and engage with the audience in ways we haven’t been able to in the past. Huppert covers how finding the right angle of your story can take it to another level and how to make your social media enhance the stories you write instead of seeing social media as a means to an end.

The “Newswriting Master Class” was dedicated to sharing Huppert’s tips for his best writing. Huppert discussed some steps to take when finding the angle of your story.

“Leave out the things that don’t matter,” Huppert said. “The focus is knowing what the story is about, not the assignment.”

Knowing how to leave a lasting impression on the audience through your writing is an important skill to have in the field. Huppert provided the audience with his favorite literary devices to increase the intensity of your stories. Some of his favorites include twist a cliché, repetition, rule of threes and parallel theme.

In “Social Media: It’s Personal”, Huppert dedicated his time to showing how he has made social media a useful platform to get attention for his stories. His first tip was “don’t forget we are journalists and storytellers”. Meaning our main goal is still to get the story out even if the platform is unconventional.

This is important because with the rise of social media, utilizing it as a tool can be beneficial in engaging the audience in ways we were not able to in the past. Huppert emphasized that point and proceeded to give a breakdown of how social media relates to the impact it can have on our stories. He described a like as a handshake, a comment as a hug and a share as a kiss on the lips.

Huppert said the best techniques he has used to get the audience engaged is quotes, using analytics to know when your audience is online and to not rely on teasers to get their attention. These are all things to consider and remember when you’re out in the field and may be responsible for sharing your stories on an online social platform.

All in all, the conference as a whole was mind blowing. The presentations were insightful and full of information that can really prove to be beneficial to you in the field. The tips and tricks provided were things I had never considered when I’m out in the field. I think implementing these tips will be the tipping point on all future works. Regardless of your specific field or the skillset you have, we can’t forget our role as storytellers.

Featured photo by Andronica Owens.

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