1. Stress the visual: (provide and discuss example of how reporter used weaved sight and sound together; did it work? why or why not?)
2. Stress the moment: (provide and discuss example of how the reporter uses broadcast writing style to achieve this principle; could it have been done better? if so, how?)
3. Stress the simple: (provide and discuss example of what the reporter did to use this principle to help the viewer process the information in the story)
February 17, 2010--5 p.m. newscast
Union Depot Renovation
1. The package was centered on a press conference given by St. Paul city officials, because funding has been approved for the renovation of the historic Union Depot to be used as a hub for light rail transit. Therefore, much of the audio came from talking heads. A few outdoor shots of Union Depot were complemented by natural car sounds that made it clear that the depot is in the heart of the city. Given the tighter shot the station used, the depot's locale may not have been otherwise apparent to unfamiliar viewers. The camera's pan of the city's on-paper renovation diagrams was an effective way to show viewers exactly what would happen to the depot. Later, Cronon appears with toy train cars from "Thomas the Tank Engine" imitating various political arguments about the financing of the renovation. Quite frankly, this looks both sloppy and unprofessional. His child's play detracts from the apparent news value of the story and makes WCCO look less credible.
2. Though the plans to renovate the depot and the press conference had happened that day, the nature of this story didn't lend itself to "live and breaking news," because the Union Depot renovations won't be complete for years to come. The impact of the story lies more in the fact that a historic building will function as a hub for 21st century transit. I don't think this could have been made to look much more urgent, but I think a tighter story (see response to part three) would have made it look like a much more important news for the city of St. Paul.
3. An inverted pyramid style summary of the important facts of the renovation and a short history of Union Depot that followed a simple chronology were understandable on the whole. But Croman took the reins, and his breakdown of political arguments using toy train cars went too far to simplify the story for the viewer--making the fact that the renovation's funding look like a joke. Though the fact that there was debate was important, the story could have been more effective with a reporter that told the facts without getting into the politics--or the toy trains.
A simple assessment of the history of Union Depot, the renovations' funding, the subsequent press conference, and the outcome would have been less of an embarrassment. Furthermore, it was detrimental to the viewers' processing of the story--a viewer might think they know all about this project, when in fact, they have seen an oversimplification. If it had stuck with "just the facts," this package would have also taken less time (it ran at two minutes long), and made WCCO look more credible as a news organization.