Tuesday, 18 August 2015

What is "authenticity?"

I hear a lot of talk these days about making factual programming more "authentic" for audiences. But what does that mean, exactly? Here are a few criteria I would use to define "authenticity" in terms of storytelling for factual programming:
- Stories that are closer to the real lives of the viewers (based on audience research) 

- Stories that have a strong human component, i.e. strong emotion 

- Stories with a strong protagonist/character (a reporter is not a protagonist) 

- Stories where there is a lot at stake for the character, i.e. life and death, illness, fears, difficult goals, etc. 

- No "betrayal" - stories are always: accurate, journalistic and deliver what they promise    

- Tell the whole story, don't leave anything out; fulfill the audience's expectations and don't leave any unanswered questions 

A key metric to ask: why should the audience care about the story? 

And here's another: "what will the audience talk about tomorrow... or share online right now?"