Top tip: Give your audience a break(out)

By · Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

not teaching,
still THINKING …

Stuck on a story idea? It happens.

But when news breaks or even when covering routine events, here is a good way to generate ideas, provide important information and involve your audience at the same time.

It’s called a breakout. And it works because it provides a point of entry for the audience.

A breakout tells people: Here is something else to know; here is another place to tap or swipe; here is a new direction. Breakouts can be interactive. They can be smart icons that take people where they want to go.

Here are our top choices of things to break out — all 30 of them:

  1. Lists of all kinds
  2. Background information
  3. Next steps
  4. Causes
  5. Effects
  6. Biographical information
  7. Names
  8. Phone numbers
  9. Addresses
  10. URLs
  11. Dates
  12. Facts at a glance
  13. History
  14. Questions and answers
  15. Sequence of events
  16. Reactions
  17. Reasons
  18. Symptoms
  19. Treatments
  20. Chronologies/Timelines
  21. Costs
  22. Examples
  23. Quotes
  24. Directions
  25. Event information — place, time, date, cost, parking
  26. How-tos
  27. Laws, rules, regulations
  28. Where to donate
  29. Where to volunteer
  30. Where to find more information

Breakouts are also a way to keep a story alive and move it forward. Take the recent fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. It’s a tragic event whose story is still being told. And a good number of breakouts on this list have been — and could be — employed to tell it.

(These two profs are no longer teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, but we are still thinking.)

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