Whether print or online, The USA Today is consistently known for delivering quality images. In their article entitled “Training molds dogs into police and military officers,” they continue to live up to their expectations.

As the title suggests, the story is about the training that’s necessary in order for a dog to become a reliable police or military dog. The story jumps out at you right away with the head trainer Ken Licklider yelling as a black dog attacks him and locks his jaw onto his padded-covered arm. This is effective because he yells so loud that you’re immediately wondering what’s happening and if he’s ok.

As the dog bites Licklider, he strikes the dog several times in the back with a wooden rod. These are the most powerful and emotional images conveyed, and therefore immediately capture the viewers undivided attention right off-the-bat. This also helps the story get straight to the point. Despite being over two and a half minutes in length, the story is told effectively, which in turn makes the story seem shorter.

The video has a clear beginning, middle and end. After immediately introducing the attack training process, the story transitions with a cross-fade into Licklider explaining the process of transforming the dogs from sports dogs into military or police dogs. Furthermore, in the middle of the story he elaborates on the difference between a military style dog and police dog. The story ends with Licklider discussing the dog’s relationships they have with their commanding officers.

There’s really not much I would’ve done differently with this story. Video works best because people love watching animals. They grab their attention. If this were text, then the training process could have confused readers still. By showing the audience a wide variety of training courses, Licklider doesn’t have to explain the process as much.

The most important character in the story is often the dog. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t tell us his name, which is something that I would’ve added. The emotion in the story comes from the natural sound and b-roll of the three shots of the dog attacking different trainers.

The action in the video provides for a fast-paced story. This works well because the training that takes place is in itself fast-paced. Never once though did the story seem over-done.

There are a wide variety of shots in the video, including photos mixed in. For how little time the editor had to work with, there are a number of different shots of the training course. For the most part they are all wide shots, which seemed fitting to convey the story. However, I would of like to see a little more close-ups of the dog.

People who watched the video definitely left with a better perspective of what goes into training police and military dogs.

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