NPPA Workshop notes: Part 1

By: Mandy Mitchell

I got a chance to attend the NPPA southeast storytelling workshop this week and it was really outstanding. I am going to post all of my raw notes here so you can learn some of the great stuff we learned.

One big piece of advice: GO TO WORKSHOPS if you get the chance. It’s a great chance to meet people who are passionate about the business like you are. NPPA, Poynter, RTDNA all offer chances to learn from other people. Don’t be afraid to ask your station to pay for education and don’t be hesitant to spend your own money. You never know who you may meet or what you may learn that will lead to your next job.It’s also a chance to get motivated if you have lost your “spark.”

A look at the landscape: Panel discussion with TEGNA VP of news Ellen Crooke and Sinclair Broadcasting VP Scott Livingstone.

Livingstone: “It’s not just the what, it’s the so what”…we spend too much time just scratching the surface of stories on TV news right now. The biggest challenge we have is to dig deeper and research shows people want that.

-Crooke’s three keys to succeeding in this new TV news world

  • Be Curious
  • Be brave—willing to stand up for ideas and try new things
  • Embrace ambiguity—We have no idea what new things are going to work, but we have to have fun trying new things and seeing what sticks.

What do you do if your station isn’t really “interested” in long-form reporting and your great story ideas and they just want you to get things on air now and quickly?

Crooke: The best way to deal with management conflict is to come with a solution. What can you offer me for what you want? Can you do a VOSOT instead of a live PKG so you have more time to craft the great pkg? Don’t just say “I can’t.”

Crooke: “News people are good at coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t do something” (I laughed out loud when I heard this. HOW TRUE!)

Sinclair broadcasting is working a website to be more “transparent”…they are experimenting with posting raw interviews to the web to create context to soundbites.(Interesting idea. How can I use this?)

Crooke (talking about young journalists): talking like a reporter or anchor with your “news voice”…people are sick of it and can smell it a mile away. BE MORE REAL!


What I took away from this session:

There are innovative managers in high positions at media companies who are interested in new ideas and changing the way we do things in local TV.

Crooke talked a lot about how the business is broken and the format of how we do the news each day needs to change completely.

I am going to check out this project from TEGNA station WXIA. It is a completely digitally released documentary on heroin use in Atlanta and was a chance to experiment with new forms of journalism.





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