Monday, August 6, 2007

Soundbites Aren't Just for Newsmakers

The television generation has morphed into the Internet generation which is quickly transitioning to the Text generation. Today, most adults speak in soundbites. Tomorrow, we may all be speaking in letters!

Until we get there, though, we all use shorthand versions of old sayings, truisms, proverbs, quotes that sum up the situation and explain what's going on. We use these cliches to encourage, to motivate and to help us out when we don't have other words.

Here are a few examples I've heard in conversation recently:

Woman: It's been a rough few months. My husband is in the hospital for kidney stones, my best friend from college died and our air conditioner broke.

Man responding: Well, they say bad things happen in three's, so you've gotten it all out of the way.

Friend: I just can't understand why I'm putting on weight. I exercise five days a week and eat better than most people I know.

Friend responding: I hate to tell you this, but we're not spring chickens anymore.


Man: I'm not sure we should take that route.

Woman: What have we got to lose?


Sometimes the words don't come, and we feel awkward. If that happens to you, often it works to admit the truth, "I just don't what to say."

What are the moments in your life that you need soundbites for? Let me know--I'd love to help you!

Friday, August 3, 2007


News coverage becomes less controversial when our nation experiences a tragedy. As viewers, readers or listeners, we become hungry for details and focus less on a reporter's perceived bias, but instead, what we can learn about the breaking news incident.

In the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the Phoenix helicopter crashes, did your mind rush to think of everyone you know in Minnesota and Arizona? In our newsroom, we all asked each other if we knew the photographers who died when the two news choppers collided. Broadcasting is a small fraternity, where friends move often from market to market.

When news becomes personal, the what, when, where, why and how fade away, and it's all about the who. I encourage my colleagues in the press to remember that when they cover the tragedies of others. And for those of you who like sensational/entertainment/tabloid-style news better than more factual coverage, stop and think about how you'd like to be on the camera end of those reports.