Successful Story Topics

Josh Meltzer-Photojournalist-in-residence at Western Kentucky University, formerly with The Roanoke Times


Daniel Edgington, left, and Alvin Stamper rest after a grueling hour of competition. (Photo by David Stephenson/ ZUMA Press)

Not every topic lends itself to a videojournalism story—some are better suited to being told in print or on the radio. So how do you pick a topic that will compel viewers to watch your video? Ironically, poor people or people touched by war make excellent subjects for compassionate videojournalists and audiences alike. Poverty’s sting and the ravages of war touch the hearts and minds of viewers everywhere. People overcoming adversity, handicaps, and other seemingly insurmountable problems also make good material for visual storytelling.

Luckily, life consists of more than the tragedies of poverty and war. The stories that underlie the daily lives around us can make for compelling videojournalism, as well.


Cutting Through the Competition: Spectators try to peer over the tops of tobacco plants to get a glimpse of the competitors at the Garrard County Tobacco Cutting Competition. During the tobacco harvest at the end of every summer, men gather to compete against each other to see who is the fastest at cutting the crop before it is hung in the barns to cure. From planting to the auction house, tobacco remains one of the most labor-intensive crops, and the hands and backs of laborers have yet to be replaced by machines.

Excerpted from Videojournalism by Kenneth Kobre © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved

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