Sunday, February 3, 2013

On The Job Hazards For Television/Video Reporters

I work for a newspaper, the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, and I had until recently always been a print reporter. You know, try to write a narrative in such a way that readers will become informed, maybe entertained by the news you describe.

The world  is changing, and everything is Web based. People want their news online, especially on their smart phones and tablets these days.

That's fine by me. Truth be told, I get a lot of my news that way. And  this blog is on line, but not on paper,  so there you go.

People who use their mobile devices often want their news and information, and entertainment, in the form of photos and, more often than not, video.

So, the Burlington Free Press has been training us reporters to make, edit and post videos of the items we cover.  For those of you reading this, it sounds like extra work, but it really isn't that much extra. Actually, I love this push toward video. It gives me another creative outlet, another way to tell stories, 

I think in pictures, not words anyway. When I write, I have to see the picture of what I'm talking about, then convert that picture into words. With video, no need to convert! Just show 'em what you saw. 

A few years ago, the Free Press sent us to a class to learn how to make and edit videos. It was so cumbersome that we never really got it. Nowadays, the process in intuitive, and fun.  We're all getting the hang of it pretty quickly. 

I swear on a stack of viral videos I'm not saying all these things to impress the boss over at the Burlington Free Press. It's what I really think.  At some point in the very near future I'll share with you some of the videos I'll be making for the Free Press.  I just want to work some of the bugs out in my technique first. 

But, for now, I'll show you some of the hazards I might be facing as I become a video reporter, in addition to my duties as a writer.

Our first case takes us to Georgia, where an investigative reporter, Jeff Chirico, discusses what alleged is a shady business whose owners apparently tried to evade authorities.
The alleged wrongdoer's father comes out, and ultimately punches the reporter in the face. I guess Dad here doesn't like negative publicity, but he didn't think this one through. The publicity really looks more negative and all, since we have a criminal assault all recorded on camera for the police and prosecutors to view at their leisure.

I bet our cops and prosecutors appreciate our man's efforts to make their job easier!

See for yourself in the video:

Next we go to New Orleans, where a reporter is doing a happy story on the happy goings on in the Crescent City.  The problem with an assignment like this is, some of the happy people in the happy story in the happy city are too happy. And drunk. So they photobomb the report, which has to be irritating to the television journalist trying to do their thing.

This reporter, however, finds a way to shut down a photobomber quickly. The reporter just switches the topic of her report to something more serious, and embarassing, and includes our photobomber in the story, to hilarious effect.    


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