Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How to tell a TV news story without any pictures...

What makes TV news different from print journalism (other than the smashing good looks of the anchors) is... pictures. Moving pictures to be exact.

If a newspaper has a picture poor story, it's okay. It can still go to print. For TV? Uh uh. Nope. Gotta have those images flickering by.

Today's offering. Old people and pot-laced brownies. Yep. You heard me. But the old folks didn't know they were imbibing maryjuana. Nope. They simply partook of some brownies at a friend's memorial, and three of them got quite sick. An 82-year-old man even fell down due to the dizziness. (He ate three brownies. His wife said he loves brownies.)

Here's the deal: The deceased was a man who suffered with cancer and used medical maryjuana. His daughter, in tribute to him, made the medical maryjuana brownies and brought them to the memorial. Some of the quests knew what they were; some did not--like the three elderly who were taken to the hospital with symptoms of nausea and dizziness.

The problem with telling this story for TV:  the victims weren't identified, so we couldn't go talk to them, thus no pictures of people. The culprit, in this case the baker/daughter, also not identified, thus, no bad guy. And where does one find pot-laced brownies in the middle of a Tuesday to take pictures of? Yeah... so no pictures of brownies. The cops said the memorial took place at a local golf course; the golf course named said it wasn't them, so no location. ARGH!

What pictures did we have for our news story? Exteriors of the hospital. Some video I'd shot a while back at a medical maryjuana dispensary, and the interview with the cop. And my super exciting creative "blurred out elderly." That's where we go all Dateline-style.

Why did we still do the news story without the primary elements, you ask? Because the cops wanted to get out the message that even if you have a doctor recommendation for medical maryjuana, it is NOT OKAY to share with your pals, or to feed it to unknowing senior citizens.

So there it is.

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