Start Your Video Story with a Strong Open: A Poynter Tutorial

Course Overview

Title:
Start Your Video Story with a Strong Open: A Poynter Tutorial
Type:
Video Tutorial
Cost:
$9.95
Time Estimate:
Seven minutes

About Video Tutorials

In a video tutorial, Poynter faculty teach tightly focused lessons on key journalism skills. Loaded with practical examples and instruction, each tutorial gives you tools you can put to work for you right away.

Viewers and readers are restless. They can graze, surf and flip through so many choices that you have to snag them with your first sentence or they're gone.

Good leads are not about using clever or tricky language. Engaging story openings are not about scaring people. To draw viewers and readers into your story, you need to tell them why they should care.

In this seven-minute video lesson, Poynter's Al Tompkins will show you how to use your lead to connect with your audience and keep them from moving on. Using examples from TV news stories, he will show you what works -- and what doesn't. You'll also see how some simple editing can immediately improve the opening for almost any story.

What Will I Learn:
  • How to use conflict and surprise to write a strong story open
  • How to transform worn-out leads into openings that connect with your audience
  • The essential elements for effective leads

This video lesson is part of Telling Memorable Stories: A Poynter Tutorial Series. You can purchase the individual lesson here or purchase the entire series.

Who should take this course:

Reporters, bloggers, columnists and any writers who want to hook readers and viewers quickly and engage them for the whole story.

Instructor: 

Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world. His teaching focused on writing, reporting, storytelling, ethics, critical thinking, photojournalism, social media and online journalism.

Tompkins has taught television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his workshops in 49 states, Canada, Egypt, Ecuador, Denmark, Cayman, Iceland and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad how to build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues that arise online.

Al is an FAA licensed drone pilot and has organized and lead drone journalism workshops around America that produced more than 325 graduates. He co-authored the drone ethics guide.

Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: Write, Shoot, Report, Produce for TV and Online,” which is being used by more than 125 universities as their main broadcast writing, reporting and ethics textbook.

He co-authored four editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s “Newsroom Ethics” workbook. In 1998, Tompkins joined Poynter’s faculty from his job as news director at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn. For 24 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director.

Awards: During his two and a half decades as a journalist, and nearly two decades as a teacher at Poynter, Tompkins has been awarded many of journalism's highest honors.

Tompkins won the National Emmy, the Peabody Award (group award), the Japan Prize, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, seven National Headliner Awards, two Iris Awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. Tompkins was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and in 2008 was awarded The Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also been honored by the National Press Photographers Association and the Radio and Television News Foundation for contributions to journalism and journalism education.

Al is a juror for the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards and served as a final juror on the duPont-Columbia Awards, and the Investigative Reporter and Editor awards.

Al earned a Master's Degree in Digital Journalism and Design from the University of South Florida and a B.A. degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University.

Consulting and Teaching in Newsrooms:

Among the hundreds of clients for whom Tompkins taught and/or consulted are: Harvard University Nieman Foundation, ABC Owned and Operated Stations, Telemundo Television Stations; Meredith Television Stations; Scripps Howard Television, NBC owned and operation stations Promotions Directors; Stations; Hearst Argyle Television Stations; Gannett Television Stations; Griffin Communications; NBC Owned and Operated Stations; New York Times Television Stations; Cox Television; Cox Cable, Cox Washington DC Bureau, RUV TV (Iceland), Belo Television Stations; Freedom Newspapers of Florida, Freedom Newspapers of North Carolina, The Raleigh News & Observer, Shurz Broadcast stations, Radio and Television News Directors Association; RTNDA Canada; Radio and Television News Directors Foundation; The Ford Foundation; Hampton University, Kings University, Marymount University, Scranton University, University of Kentucky, University of South Florida, Belmont University, Western Kentucky University, Middle Tennessee State University, The Sacramento Bee; The Scholastic Journalism Association; Global TV Calgary; Global TV Edmonton Ca, CBC Toronto, CBC Calgary, CBC Regina, CTV Toronto, Canada AM; Alabama Broadcasters Association; Arkansas Broadcasters Association; Oklahoma Broadcasters Association; Hawaii Association of Broadcasters; Texas Association of Broadcasters; Ohio AP Broadcasters Association; Pennsylvania Broadcasters Association; Illinois Broadcasters Association; Washington State Broadcasters Association; Georgia Broadcasters Association; Tennessee Broadcasters Association; Louisiana Broadcasters Association; New York State Broadcasters Association; West Virginia Broadcasters Association; Missouri Broadcasters Association; Virginia Broadcasters Association; North Carolina Broadcasters Association; South Carolina Association of Broadcasters; Wisconsin Broadcasters Association; Iowa Broadcasters Association; Oregon Broadcasters, North Carolina Press Association, Alaska Broadcasters Association, Montana SPJ, New Mexico Broadcasters Association; Illinois Press Association, North Carolina Press Association; Hoosier Press Association National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences — NATAS (Pennsylvania); PBS-Nightly Business Report, NATAS(Washington DC); NATAS (Miami); WMC-TV; WSB-TV;KXAS-TV; KHOU-TV; WNEM-TV; KPHO-TV; WEWS-TV; WPTV-TV; WESH-TV; WKMG-TV; WTVW-TV; WPBF-TV; WHO-TV; KWTV-TV; WZZM-TV; WNEP-TV; WTKR-TV; KTHV-TV; KCTV-TV; WGAL; WTVF; WSBT; Bay News 9; News 8 Austin; RNews, WTSP; KTHV; KVUE; WHO-TV, RUV-TV Iceland, WNBC, KCBS, WCBS, WMAQ, WBBM, WFOR, WBZ and WTVT.

Technical Requirements:

This course requires the Flash Player 8 plug-in. For the highest quality viewing experience, we recommend using Flash 9 or higher.

This course contains audio, so please make sure you have your speakers or headphones on.