TIP: Build Stories with Follow-Ups and News Archives

One of my first jobs in TV was to work the Follow-Up Desk, a franchise segment reported and fronted by one of the anchors.  I had to come up with two follow-up or “what ever happened to ____” each week.  The follow-ups were very popular with viewers.

Here’s some tips for follow-ups:

  • Check newsroom records for the big story six months ago.  Use the electronic records of the assignment desk, the newsroom system or station archives.
  • Do the same for the big story a year ago. If you have access through a local library for the archives of the local paper, that’s a big help.
  • Talk to the weather staff about the biggest weather-related stories in the last three years.
  • Ask the web staff which stories garnered the most forwarded and shared in the last year.

You likely have good file tape from the story. Using your archival news video is a big plus and can bring a lot of viewer interest.  What about putting more file video online? Consider doing online video interviews with the reporters or anchors who covered the story as they can give insight, background or context about why this was such an important or memorable one. 

Poynter has a helpful article here on ways other news organizations have used archival photos and video to great advantage. Borrow some of its tips.


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