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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Waugh

Because 90 seconds isn't enough

Updated: Jun 27, 2018

"Can I have a little more time?"

That's an email I write to my producer often. The standard length for a reporter's story in a newscast (called a package) is 1 minute, 30 seconds -- if you're lucky! In larger markets, where there's a lot going on and more stories to cover, reporter packages can be as short as 60 seconds long.

Me, writing this very post

Think about that. We spend all day long pursuing interviews, asking dozens of questions, delving into a sometimes complex issue. At the end of each day, after hours of work, we have 90 seconds of video to show for it. Not much time for nuance. Just enough time to get straight to the point.

Seven years into this business, it's still hard for me to get used to our time constraints. I often find myself thinking -- "I spent all day on this story! All I get is 90 seconds?!" And almost every day, my stories run too long. Either my producer generously finds time in the show for a few extra seconds, or I go to surgery -- cutting up the story, removing an unnecessary words -- sometimes removing entire soundbites or facts to get the story just a few seconds shorter. All too often, my favorite parts of the story end up on the cutting room floor.

This is what a 1:30 long story looks like in writing: about 8 voice over tracks, 9 short sound bites, and 1 stand up.

Since I always feel like I could say a little more -- I decided to start this blog. Here I intend to expand upon my stories and provide some behind-the-scenes perspective. I'll probably also include some posts from my life outside of work. I hope to create a blog that helps you to get to know me, and my work, a little better... if I have the time :)

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