The angle, a journalistic choice
Every day, rival radio stations treat major stories. Everyone can see that when it comes to a same story, the treatment will never be the same from a station to another. It all depends on the angle the reporter has chosen to breach the story. If the angle is good, people will be interested in the report.
The angle : an answer to the practical constraints of a journalist’s job
It is impossible to give out all of the information in a one minute voicer. The radio journalist takes this constraint and shapes it into an advantage. Choosing the right angle makes up for the limited time allotted for making a report. Nothing forbids you from treating your story under two different angles: you can offer one for the evening news, and the other for the following morning’s broadcast.
When should the angle be chosen?
The right time to choose an angle is during the morning meeting: How is every story going to be treated? What in this story will catch the audience’s attention? Who are the right interlocutors for an interview? The best way to answer these questions is by discussing them together, as a team, in the morning.
Let us imagine a devastating fire has broke out in a neighborhood, and houses and shops are going up in flames. Here are a few potential angles :
- First angle : Send a reporter out there. He will call and describe the fire during the broadcast. Treatment : a live shot.
- Second angle : Write up a precise account: how many dead, how many injured ? How is help being arranged? How far has the fire spread? Treatment : an extract of an interview with an official.
- Third angle : Explain exactly what happened. When did the fire start? Was it an accident or an arson? Treatment : a voicer.
There is a wide variety of angles to choose from. Various angles can be treated, so as to vary reports from one bulletin to the other. If the event is a major one, it can be treated through various angles in the same bulletin.
These rules stand for all events, be they political, cultural, economical or sports (pre-match voicers, pre-match audio, report, analysis, interview with the players…).
The same goes for a trial: portrait of the defendant, package with interviews with the lawyers, summary of facts…