Description adds color to even the most drab story
Google: It may be the next best thing to being there.
The best way to get description is to go to the scene and observe. The second best way to get description: Whatever gets the job done.
Which — when editing a story about something that happened many, many months ago in a country many, many time zones away — often means Google.
Here are two examples, from stories I recently edited for a client:
1. Robin Hood caps and sloganeering
For this story, the client got right to the point in a newsy lead: We helped ensure security for everyone involved at the G20 Summit.
But if you’ve written a good headline and deck, your readers already know that. Better to start with the problem, then bring it to life through scene setting so people can see what a big deal it was to accomplish this mission.
To set this scene, I simply reviewed news coverage of the event online.
Research time: 15 minutes.
When the G20 summit took place in Cannes in November 2011, ABC secure communication systems helped to ensure the security of everyone involved.
As host, the French government deployed 12,000 security personnel, including the Police, Gendarmerie, State Security Police Force (CRS), firemen and special services. The success of the summit provided several valuable lessons about the key ingredients needed to get the security of such a high-profile event right.
Outside the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, some 5,500 protesters donned Robin Hood caps, shouted “People First, Not Finance” and demanded a tax on international financial transactions.
Inside, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, German chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. president Barack Obama and other world leaders discussed Europe’s banking crisis and the possibility of a Greek default.
The 2011 G-20 Summit was the sixth meeting of the G-20 heads of government in a series of ongoing discussions about financial markets and the world economy. It brought together leaders representing 85 percent of the world’s business and two-thirds of its population.
Behind the scenes, helping secure the leaders and the event, were XYZ secure communication systems from ABC.
2. ‘More than a mile into the sky’
In this piece, again, scene setting not only grabs attention but also helps illustrate the problem the organization helped its client solve. Details, again, via Google.
Research time: 15 minutes.
The Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort is located in Krasnaya Polyana in the Northern Caucasus in Russia, close to the Black Sea. The resort is set to receive a major boost to its profile by becoming one of the major projects of the 2014 Winter Games. Some 43 hectares of sport tracks will reach nine kilometres in total in order to meet the requirements of the International Federation of Mountain Skiing (FIS).
The resort has therefore been equipped with a state-of-the-art XYZ system. ABC’s value-added reseller, Whozits, was commissioned to implement the system.
In Russia’s Western Caucasus, some 30 km from the Black Sea, a massive mountain range towers above a tiny subtropical village called Krasnaya Polyana. There, at the Rosa Khutor Mountain Resort, the world’s best athletes will assemble for the alpine skiing competition at the 2014 Winter Games.
You have to tilt your head to see the tops of the mountains, which soar up to 1,760 km — more than a mile — into the sky. That makes Rosa Khutor one of the biggest lift-served mountains in the world, as well as one of the world’s largest resorts.
But that spectacular terrain also adds up to a major event security communication nightmare. It’s no wonder the Russian resort has commissioned a state-of-the-art XYZ communications system from Whozits to help make sure the games run smoothly.