News gathering, working sources, getting strangers to open up on camera. Reporters, especially multimedia journalists like myself, have a tall order every day. If you’re anything like me as a one-woman band in TV, not only are you shooting and editing, you need to get information, process it and make it worthwhile to watch.
As EIJ15 draws closer, I am reflecting on the year behind me. It sounds more like lyrics to a Billy Joel song than a year as SPJ president: FBI, Ferguson, Charlie Hebdo, ISIS, the U.S. Forest Service, Brian Williams, Rolling Stone, Hillary Clinton and Indiana’s RFRA.
Broadcast news, particularly in local television, is going through major changes with technological advances. That’s nothing new. Unfortunately, along with those changes, early career journalists trying or thinking of entering the field are changing too, and sometimes not for the better.
In many stories you do, there will be the one interview known as “the get.” For instance, when news broke about a gunman on the Florida State University campus in December, everyone wanted to hear from the gunman’s family. I got it.
On the heels of a busy 2013-14 led by SPJ President Dave Cuillier, I am honored and eager to serve SPJ during the next year, continuing his good work and embarking on new projects and initiatives to better serve journalists. While journalists continue to face daunting challenges, including fighting for press freedom, facing arrest and even death in extreme cases, there is much SPJ can do to support journalists and our industry.
Public records and the information and data that come from them can be invaluable to your stories and can take your reporting to the next level. This is true for all journalists, but particularly important for young and early-career reporters trying to make their work stand out.
Journalists are among those professionals expected to know how to write a sentence. Whether in print, online or in a broadcast script, we reporters and editors need to know how to draft sharp, precise copy at a moment’s notice for public consumption.
When I was 24, I landed my first reporter position at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. I was one of the youngest reporters on staff, and I looked even younger. I remember thinking, “Man, I really need to stay on top of my game to prove myself!”
Sheriff: “We have at least two shots fired in the theater.” (five minutes later) Sheriff: “Only one shot was fired and it went through the wife’s hand into her husband’s chest.” (Producer calls) Producer: “We have aerial footage from the chopper in house.
#DIGITALDETOX. This may be the most ironic hashtag ever used, but I found out a lot when I went on a self-imposed digital detox over the Christmas-New Year stretch. I learned about the things I wanted to share, how people interact with media and what news I missed while I stepped out of the digital space.
Jayson Blair. It’s a name that evokes two immediate responses: lies and The New York Times. More than 10 years after the biggest ethics debacle in journalism’s modern day, Samantha Grant is trying to show that there’s much more to the story.
Video on the Internet has come a long way in the last decade. What was once an hour wait for Real Player to stream five minutes of clumsily shot footage is now instant access to Emmy-winning episodic dramas. David Fincher took home the Emmy for best director for his work on Netflix’s original series “House of Cards.”
Are you a journalist? Are you regularly “gathering,” “collecting” or “preparing” information about “matters of public interest”? You may think the answers to these questions are easy or should automatically be yes. But what if you had to prove that you were a “journalist” to be protected by the proposed federal shield law?
Sometimes hearing or just seeing “FOIA” can put you in a tizzy. Yes, the Freedom of Information Act and similar state laws can be hard to work through. And yes, it is a law, which can be intimidating on its own.
Going into work comes with the nail-biting issue of pitching stories. Even though I have been working professionally for six years, the pressure to produce is still there. I try to come in with three hard news stories each day. There are news cycles where my sources have nothing, and I walk in the door empty-handed.
OK. I’m stumped. It’s true. I’m racking my brain to come up with a good lead to this article about writing good leads (or ledes, the official spelling in newspaper speak so it’s not confused with “lead” type). We’ve all been there — or here where I am presently — trying to craft, conjure and contrive a winning hook for a print or broadcast story that will engage the audience and make them hunger for more.