NPPA Workshop Notes: Part 2

Boyd Huppert of KARE 11 in Minneapolis was the keynote speaker at the NPPA Southeast Storytelling workshop. Huppert has become a bit of a celebrity for those of us who truly appreciate great storytelling.

If you have never seen his work, do take the time to check it out here. He does a series called “Land of 10,000 stories,” and is given three days a week to work on those features. He is also a general assignment reporter two days of the week.

This segment with Boyd was great because he brought his photog up on stage to tell his perspective of the story. Very educational on both ends.

Here are my raw notes from the workshop. Please feel free to shoot me a note and ask for more context if you would like. Or just comment on the Facebook page.

You catch watch the story we studied here. It will help you with the notes. If you missed Part 1, you can check that out here.


The most important thing is having a commitment to finding a focus of the story. This is something to build your story around.

The idea of a handshake shot. We form impressions about people the instant we meet them. Find the right shot to introduce people…This means finding a shot that truly shows the person’s personality in a second. Not a wide shot. Not a creative shot. A tv “handshake”…

analogies- “Wasted more bucks then a Kardashian on rodeo drive”…this was a line about a video game for shooting deer. Bucks and bucks. Fun play on words.

If it’s not special, it’s not done. (What a great quote! May print this one out for my desk)

Try to make your soundbites hold hands with your tracks….something he learned from news director Jill Geisler

“I hate your stories because I can’t cut them down.” -greatest compliment given from a morning producer. Should be a goal for all of us. Everything is so connected it CAN’T be a vosot.

It’s not accidental.

Detail- “tragic” or “shocking” or “horrifying” is not detail. You don’t have enough detail if you need to use those words. Try to have actually details. “A town so small they didn’t bother counting.”

every shot in a PKG should have purpose.

Put the wireless mic safely beside to the road. You want the texture. Crisp audio…

Little things are what change stories.

Write with a colon. “She did pretty well…” leading in to a soundbite about how she won. Boyd didn’t reveal she had won. He set up the bite.

Action/reaction…Daughter reacting to mom’s bite. Pay attention and be ready for this.

If you know what your focus is, it makes it easier to write your story.

Shot gets less interesting when you use it over and over (interviews). Work for different shots.

Not telling them to do anything, not staging. Just being smart about how we do our jobs.

Don’t tell someone to walk down the hall because they are now actors and they are waiting for your direction.

unfold—don’t just dump info. He didn’t lose two wives. He lost one and then a second. (this was from another story)

The most important part of finding a focus is to look for it.We have to look for it.



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