code20photog has brought up an interesting discussion in the b-roll.net FORUM. The basic concept being – the EP at his station has laid down an edict that all night-side packages begin with night video – even if it is not the best video.
The debate is interesting, but it brings up a gripe I’ve had with many new concepts brought into newsrooms. Taking tripods from shooters so everything is hand-held… Never starting with a soundbyte… Absolutely no politicians in stories…
I’ve seen many ideas like these over my career, and often the basic principle has merit. In the night video example, it’s a good idea to have as much fresh “night-side” video in your evening packages as you can get. This allows the viewers to feel that they are seeing the most recent aspects of a story. But to develop a strategy that lacks the flexibility to adjust to the story at hand is inherently flawed.
Not every story should be told the same way. We visual story-tellers carry a lot of tools in our repertoire. Good shooters know when to use certain story-telling devices to best tell certain stories. Putting immovable restrictions on a photographer is not going to give you the best story possible.
If you want to improve your newscast and grab more viewers, why not just produce more high-quality stories?