"Nats" are short for "Nat Sounds" or "Natural Sounds." As a storyteller, it's easy to forget that our broadcasts employ video AND audio. We can bring a viewer to where we are through sight and sound. That's where nats comes in.
Using nats can bring the viewer to the scene of the story just like seeing pictures of it. Maybe even better. In TV news, there's always images from the story, but it's only once or twice a newscast that nat sounds are employed. So having nats is like gold.
Two of my most recent stories used nats. Both of them were "nats off the top" or at the very start of the packages, immediately drawing in the viewer.
Memorial Day camping.
Memorial Day at the National Cemetery.