Props are a must for live feature stories. Props visually enhance the story.
Instead of watching an ordinary talking head, viewers are visually entertained.
Using props in a feature story makes the report more active and therefore more engaging if the reporter is holding, wearing, or using a prop, instead of simply standing in front of the camera.
This is more interesting to watch because the reporter is actively involved in the shot. They are holding that free cup of coffee the local coffee shop is giving out, they are petting the cute puppy up for adoption, or playing a carnival game at the county fair. All these situations are more visually appealing than watching a reporter describe these things while the videographer films the scene.
The story becomes more believable to viewers when the reporter demonstrates with a prop because the audience witnesses what the reporter says, giving the reporter’s words physical support.
Cory McCloskey‘s feature story on modern archery demonstrates how to successfully employ props. McCloskey holds the bow for viewers to see. He looks it up and down so the focus of the audience is on the bow. By focusing on a tangible aspect of the story, McCloskey diverts attention from himself, and directs it to the bow to visually inform viewers about modern archery.
He then feels and holds what is called the trigger and later shoots the bow and arrow. By actively using props, McCloskey makes the story more realistic to viewers because they can clearly see what McCloskey is explaining.
The viewer feels more engaged with the story because McCloskey is making his words come to life by utilizing props.
Using props also makes the storyteller more conversational because the reporter comes across as personable when he or she interacts with people involved in the story.
In Heather Ford’s live-shot, The Wonderful World of Paintball, Ford dresses in paintball gear to make herself more personable.
Ford may have had better interviews because the paintball participants viewed her as a part of their group due to the similar attire. This also may have made it less intimidating for the paintball participants to speak to a reporter on live television.
Use props when appropriate. Imagine if these two reporters did not use props and simply pointed to their surroundings. Actively using props in live feature stories adds visual entertainment.
Kelsea Wasung is majoring in journalism with an emphasis in broadcast at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. She is also enrolled in Barrett the Honors College and is expected to graduate with her Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in 2013. Kelsea has a passion for learning and sharing her knowledge with others. When she graduates she hopes to work as a field reporter, and eventually an anchor with a major network.
Kelsea writes her articles based off questions she has as a college reporter. She analyzes the work of other broadcasters to discover the best techniques they use and also researches broadcast topics of interest.