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Al Jazeera’s News Package Analysis

An analysis of Al Jazeera’s news package “US basketball team favourites for gold.”

“The US basketball team favorites for gold” is a news package about the expectations of the US men’s basketball team at the 2012 London Olympics. Reporting from London, Al Jazeera’s Andy Richardson talks about how the US has won the gold medal in men’s basketball every year (with the exception of 2004) since their “dream team” was first put together 20 years ago.

This news package starts off at a press conference. However, the reporter doesn’t merely film one of the basketball players speaking at the conference. Instead, there are a variety of tight and medium B-roll footage of the players while the reporter’s voice over is playing in the background. From the start, the package also focuses on one of the most prominent players, Kobe Bryant, in order to get the audience’s attention.

The first transition element seen is how the reporter moves from filming at the press conference to filming the team at practice. This transition is done by having a tight shot of Kobe Bryant at the press conference, and then moving to another medium shot of him shooting hoops at practice. This provides continuity and flow, and doesn’t make this transition awkward.

The camera then moves to a wide shot of the gym the team is practicing in, and includes not only Bryant, but several of his other team mates. The editing here is one particularly well as the movement of the ball remains constant even though the angle of the shot changes. In the first medium shot of Bryant, he releases the ball. The wide shot then starts off with the ball hitting the ground, as if it was the same ball that Bryant had released. Again, this makes this news package flow extremely well with no awkward jump cuts or transitions.

The report then includes its first interview with the player of focus, Kobe Bryant. As he is speaking, pictures of what he is speaking about are shown, with his audio in the background. Then the focus is returned to Bryant at the interview as his segment of the interview ends with a close up shot of his face saying “it’s pretty cool.”

The package then returns to the reporter’s voice over. Again, B-roll footage of the players practicing is taken along with nat sounds and nat pops in the background. Here, the focus is not on just any player, but on the other most famous player on the team along with Bryant, LeBron James. It is in this section that we see the first and only stand-up that this package includes. The stand-up happens in the same gym they are practicing in, providing continuity and flow, but also working as a transition between ideas. It is important to note that what is being said in this stand-up is something that will always be constant; that the US team is expected to win the gold medal. This is in order to ensure that nothing changes that would make the reporter have to go back and shoot the stand up in the same location as this would be highly impractical.

The report then continues with a voice over along with B-roll footage of the team stretching and practicing in the background. A variety of tight, medium, and wide shots are used here, along with several cutaway shots.

The report then uses these cutaway shots to transition into the second interview of this package, with famous player LeBron James. After his segment, the reporter’s voice over concludes the package, along with more B-roll footage of the team shooting around. The focus is set on Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, and there is a very similar action of Kobe Bryant shooting the ball as there was at the very beginning of this package. This serves to provide flow, and to tie it all back to the beginning, providing a nice complete report.

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