What Do You See?!

via wallpaperpimper.com

via wallpaperpimper.com

It’s always about what you see, hear and smell when you are a reporter. Of course, if you can touch or taste something that helps, too.

Having the quotes and information is great. Those help carry the story along and give the reader the background and know-all to understand what’s going on.

But that’s not all of what you should be concerned about.

Adding details about what you are seeing, hearing and smelling is invaluable to any story. What did the fire smell like? How long was the room silent for? How many were present at the meeting? All of those questions should be answered. It’s something that is easy to overlook.

I started using my senses more over the summer when I was covering the first days of school for our districts. I think I did two stories and I remember I wasn’t getting many quotes from parents are students. It was tough and I was running out of ideas to coax people to talking to me.

I don’t know what sparked the idea, but once I started writing down what I was seeing and hearing it all made sense. I was able to get more details into my story, while weaving quotes and information together.

It’s not as hard as you may think. I thought it was tough, at first, because I was never really a details guy until then. I’ve always said that I’ve been a hard news guy. I think I still can say that I am. Features don’t come as easy to me as they do for others. So, adding observations and details was new, but fun.

Adding more details, adds that little something special to a story. And, for readers, they know it when they see it. I don’t think they are actively looking for it (they may be, though), but when they see it they certainly notice it.

From what I’ve experienced so far, editors love details. I’m not saying bog down your news stories with mindless details, but mentinoing the weather or general observations brightens up a story and, I feel, puts it on another level of writing.

By writing, I mean reporting. We aren’t writing non-fiction or romance novels, we are crafting news stories together for a newspaper.

What I’m saying is be curious. Do yourself a favor and try it out.



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