When you’re just starting out as a TV journalist, one of the hardest things to do when you’re on assignment is to strike out on your own. If you hang around with the other reporters, the thinking goes, you’ll learn from what they do and you won’t miss the big story. Or will you?
Matt Mrozinski, chief photojournalist at WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, says breaking free of the “gaggle” can be the best way to find the real story. On one assignment, for example, while everyone else waited by a command post Mrozinski says he was out with volunteers looking for a missing child. I imagine he got much better video and sound than his competitors.
If you just can’t pull away, Mrozinsky says, at least take time to look around.
The next time you’re at a crime scene, take a look at the cameras that line the yellow tape and rarely ever leave. If they would just glance over their shoulder, the story is behind them. People are waiting to model your wireless lav and are glimmering with reactions and moments.
When I share similar advice with journalists, I urge them to “do a 360″–turn all the way around to make sure they’re not missing something better than what they’re getting. You’d be surprised how often that simple technique turns up something unexpected and memorable.
Here’s an example. Reporter Brahm Resnik of KPNX-TV in Phoenix was covering a news conference on the results of a court case blocking the state’s governor from denying driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Instead of focusing only on the podium, he turned his attention to the audience.
“I saw several people crying. I pulled one of the gals outside and she again couldn’t stop crying, she was so happy, thrilled that it had happened,” he told BusinessJournalism.org. Talk to people one-on-one, he says, and you’ll get a better story.
You don’t want the sound of a somebody standing at a podium, you want to talk to people away from that….At news conferences, always, always be observant for the person you think would be a great one-on-one. Otherwise they’re just performers; they’re reading from a script.
Try it, and see if you don’t agree.
GTT NYC recently slid over to Action Park in Vernon, NJ to feature the park on an episode on Extreme Water Park. The park is the source of many urban legends back in the 80′s for having some down right dangerous attractions. The safety has been upped since, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have extreme rides. Using a Canon C300 and a ton of gopros we captured people going down the Zero-G. The ride loads people into a capsule, the bottom then drops sending them down 30 feet before the twist and turns start on the slide. Definitely not for the faint on heart.
While the rest of the country is prepping for college and pro football, GTT’s NYC crew recently sat down with Stephen A Smith to talk basketball. Smith is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to knowing everything from Dr. J, Magic Johnson, the greatest college rivalries, the rise of Michael Jordan, and so on. We used a Cannon C300 paired with a convergent Design Odyssey 7Q and produced a great image that’ll be part of a great documentary.
New…and improved! The third edition of Advancing the Story has just been published by CQ Press and is available for pre-order at Amazon. If you’ve used an earlier edition, you’ll see that we’ve added a separate chapter on TV producing and renamed some other chapters as we restructured the text. Our goal is to make it easy to find material either thematically (writing, storytelling and producing) or by medium (broadcast and multimedia).
We’ve included lots of new material as well, especially in the realms of social media, mobile journalism and ethics.
Pardon us for tooting our own horns, but we’re excited that the revisions we’ve been working on for more than a year are now in print. Isn’t the new cover great?
We hope you’ll like the book. Please do let us know what you think.