How to Choose a Cut or Bite

There is a consensus among veteran radio and TV reporters that the best bites or cuts are those that have emotional impact, but if it’s an extreme emotion, a little bit goes a long way.  There’s a fine line between using a cut or bite that conveys strong emotion, and one that’s a discomforting invasion of personal space.

Long-time former Madison TV reporter Joel DeSpain says “as for picking a SOT, find those that say something you cannot: emotion, reaction, and passion are always good”.

Some sage advice from former Madison TV anchor and radio News Director, Tara Arnold: “the best bites show emotion.  Let the people’s feelings and opinions tell the story”.  She also says the best way to select a cut or bite is to “Listen to the people you are interviewing.  When you really pay attention is when your get the best bites”.

Canadian Television newswriting guru Jessica Grillanda says sometimes it’s better to let pictures speak for themselves.  If you have a compelling piece of video, sometimes it’s best not to talk over it, and just let the video run.  She also says timing matters, and advises that cuts be selected to change at a precise time to convey a story.  She uses the example of “The toxic soup goes in here/ and comes out there”, with the cuts timed to match your narration.