By Bram Weinstein/@RealBramW:
What I never endorse is doing a live shot for the sake of doing a live shot.
If you are merely giving a rundown of who what when where why? We don’t need a reporter to supply those facts. The anchor can do so with the aid of a video element. If the reporter can add context to those simple truths, then the live shot has merit. The anchor in turn must know what this event is about, why it is important and allow for context. What if the satellite feed fails during the live shot? Can you continue to tell the story (not with the depth of the person on the scene) but for the sake of explaining why this was important and why you’ll return to the scene when the technical difficulties are cleared.
Live TV is the best TV. It leaves the viewer in a state of the unknown. Turning a scripted broadcast into one that has the feel of flying by the seat of its pants can be thrilling for the viewer who is seeking information of the here and now. Live shots offer this in real time as long as they have merit to airing them. The other caveat is if the live shot is in a location that in itself does not tell the story. The major storm live shot by meterologists will never have the same effect if the person reporting it is not at a location that is obviously going to be directly affected. The wind and rain speak for itself. A live shot from a set outside a stadium will only give off an impression of tailgating. It won’t set the scene for what may happen on the field behind the players. Like real estate, the effectiveness of a live shot is in part due to the location location location.
There is a responsibility of both the anchor and reporter to have an understanding of how the story will be set up and how the reporter intends to provide their information. So it is OK for the reporter to tell the anchor, I’m not sure if this is the direction you want to come to me because the information will either counter what you just said or is leading to an aspect the reporter is not comfortable adding to. In turn, the reporter needs to supply information that allows the anchor to paint this picture properly and why watching what the reporter has to say is imperative.
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