As obvious as it may seem, TV news needs to have visuals. It’s a visual medium. But, with newsroom budgets tighter than ever before, journalists don’t always have the time and resources to collect the footage needed for a story.
According to a Perspectus Global survey of 120 journalists: ‘Fifty per cent of respondents said PR-sourced content had become more useful during the pandemic, compared to 26 per cent who said it was less.’
This presents an opportunity for you to get your story seen by a larger audience. The story has a much better chance of being broadcast if it comes to the journalist with b-roll included...and b-roll is not limited to television, if you have the content you can also offer b-roll to radio stations to use on their social media.
B-roll is footage typically used by journalists and producers to visually illustrate a story or to demonstrate what an interviewee is describing in an interview. For example, if an interviewee says, ‘We have a number of volunteers who help out at our foodbank’, there may be a b-roll shot inserted into the main footage of the volunteers in action.
Andy Thomson, Planning Editor for ITV News - Anglia, explains what value b-roll gives to a media pitch:
‘Well shot footage helps tell any story better - or sell it to a journalist who's not sure what it will look like on screen. If you can provide interesting b-roll that news desks will struggle to get for themselves - charity projects overseas or support workers at night on city streets - that can persuade desks to take up your story.
‘Don't send dull footage, but don't be afraid of the ordinary if it's the sort of thing news crews rarely film (e.g. a video diary of a family depending on food banks). And don't forget what sells - strong case studies, human drama, and emotion.’
Andy reveals some of the key things you need to think about when pitching b-roll to journalists.
‘First and foremost, be aware of who you're pitching to, what they need and the sort of stories they cover. Also note that the Ofcom code means there are plenty of rules and restrictions on how submitted footage can be used.
‘Filmed interviews and case studies can help news desks judge the merits of a story and see how interviewees present themselves, but most editors will want to shoot their own interviews and ask their own questions.
‘You've got much more chance of a planning editor watching a two-minute film than reading a two-page press release. But their phone's probably going and someone else is shouting at them so make it simple and keep it brief,’ says Andy.
Here are eight things you need to think about when pitching to a journalist with b-roll:
If you are looking for support with the video content you offer to journalists or haven’t started on this journey yet, Jersey Road PR can help you. Drop us a line at [email protected]
Written by Andrew Horton, Head of Content, Jersey Road PR.
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