This reflection will have absolutely nothing to do with absentee ballots – just as a forewarning. Instead, I want to focus on where I have grown a little as a journalist with this story.
I have always wondered what makes a package so unique. What really ties it all together into a concrete story that people can follow, learn from, and feel satisfied with in just a minute and thirty seconds?
Well, I looked at numerous packages, some shown to me by my supervisors and experienced journalists, and others just online. What I noticed is all great packages have a face or a character to the story. They start us off by investing our attention in trying to relate to one person, not the entire situation.
So that’s where I started with my story about absentee ballots in Meridian Township. I found someone who was in the Air Force around the time of the 2004 election and had experience with absentee ballots. He is a very outspoken character, which definitely helped. But I found that by utilizing one character to anchor the story down not just allows people to relate to the story better, but it makes the information more consistent and allows me to find a succinct direction with it as well.
I was pleased with how the story turned out, yet there are still plenty of areas I can improve upon. So my tease for future packages – nat-sound!