Location! Location! Location! 4 Ways to Improve the ‘Where’ of Your Coverage

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

Location! Location! Location! 4 Ways to Improve the ‘Where’ of Your Coverage
Mar 12 2011
By Lynn Walsh, Texas Watchdog & RTDNA Blogger

Whether it is online, on the radio or on TV every story we report happens somewhere. For many the “where” part of that is very important.

As reporters we are traveling in and out of neighborhoods in our communities every day. We become familiar with places and neighborhoods more than most do just living in them. Sometimes, I think, that the familiarity we gain as reporters, editors or photographers can be taken for granted as we write, produce and tell our stories.

We tell the stories and may forget to include our location or just include it with a lower-third or caption in a picture. While the location is there, it is not always the most helpful. Here are some ways we as reporters can better include location in our stories.

1. Create and publish maps. Whether you are talking about a school that may be closed or a big event take the time to create a map, especially if there are multiple points involved. Google Maps, makes it very easy to create maps that can be linked to and embedded in stories. You can add all sort of information to the map including pictures and links to other stories about the points.

2. Improve stand-up locations. Don’t just stand in front of City Hall to talk about something city council members are voting on. Go to the location of the what is being affected. Think of where people being affected live or hang out and go there. This goes for lots of stories we cover, think outside the box and head to areas where people are instead of buildings.

3. Show distance. Showing someone a map of the locations is helpful, but why not take it one step further? See how far the points are from one another or from popular destinations in your community. Look at driving distance, walking distance and even public transportation distances. You could even look at radius of distances and more. You can also use your stand-ups or video stories to demonstrate distance.

4. Include neighborhood names. This may sound basic, but it can be helpful to people who live in your community. Include the names that they are using and add descriptions that tell which part of the city it is too.

Location can provide people with a lot of perspective when reading, watching or hearing a story. When you think about distance and how a person may get there (walking, driving, etc.) it can add even more to the story and maybe even create new and interesting angles.

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