evidence that VJs produce stories their stations wouldnt
get any other way"
Signs You Are
About To Be
Laid Off 10...In
the morning meeting during your turn for story ideas, you notice
the news director
is playing Tetris on his phone.
9...In the middle of the training session on the new newsroom computer
system, you are pulled to head out to a 'pre-school finger-painting
exhibition with cookies and milk reception.' ("Get sound with the
8...The TV station softball coach asks you to give back your uniform.
7...Every manager above producer starts recoiling at your approach
as if you have AIDS-induced leprosy.
6...You see the new freelancer returning from lunch with the news
director...and they're both laughing.
5...The new intern (the challenged one) has been told its okay to
eat at your desk.
4...You overhear the other reporters being told that more vacation
week requests will be opening up very soon.
3...Your in-depth package is bumped to a v/o.
It airs just before the "SPCA pet-of-the-day".
2...When the fire on the scanner goes to 2 alarms with people trapped,
your request to head there is met by the assignment desk with: ''
We'll pull Tracy from the governor's funeral."
1...You are asked to start doing 3 packages a day.
"But it's impossible..." you say.
"Are you refusing an assignment?" is the retort.
Here's a really funny video from BBC's show "Newswipe"
detailing how to construct a video news package. What makes
it so spot on is that I believe every other TV news story is
constructed exactly this way. This formula has worked for reporters
from intern to seasoned pro. Insert your local images here!
KATU photographer attacked, incident caught on camera
man has been arrested after attacking KATU photographer Bob
Bullock in an incident that was caught on camera. Bullock was
injured while shooting weather video outside Laurelhurst School
in Southeast Portland.
years ago I made the prediction that soon we would be wearing
what I called "lifecams"- cameras so small and with
so much storage that you could wear them all day and record
your entire day. Think of the ramifications-courtroom testimony
would say-"let's look at Mr. Smith's lifecam video your
here come the closest thing yet to that reality: the Micro
Camcorder Pro, with excellent video and voice-activated
audio, this thing is no bigger than a thumbdrive. It would
be great for undercover camera work as well. All for $100
more and more apps become available for the IPhone, it was
only a matter of time before an app was capable of producing
an honest to goodness TV
live shot. Yeah...the quality is still below broadcast
standards, but in a pinch in a get-it-on-the-air mode, this
thing actually replaces a live truck.
what could be the another nail in the coffin of the network-affilliate
relationship, Cox Communications has lauched "My
Primetime" in Las Vegas and san Diego-
network and cable prime time shows available whenever you
want to view them.
network shows are available whenever you want to watch, will
appointment TV eventually vanish?
One good thing here, fast-forwarding does not function and
you must still view the ads. But advertisers may demand lower
rates if the video isn't viewed in its initial primetime spot.
fact is that there are still many unresolved issues with DTV
reception problems with indoor antennas. A lot of people
are either going to be headed to their roof to affix one, or
perhaps just give up and call their local cable provider. MORE...
Top 19 Hottest Newscasters in America
with us, if you will, into the world of hot journalists. The
roundup includes everything from short skirts on pogo sticks
and wet T-shirt contests to creepy, titillating YouTube compilations
of crossing and uncrossing legs.
we need more people shooting news, right?
Now comes the IPhone 3G which anybody can point at the scene
and voila!...news video. Soon it seems everybody (and I mean
everybody) will have a news camera stuck in their pocket
just waiting for the next big spot news incident. How many
people will soon be approaching you with: "Hey...I got
video of it...how much will you give me for it?"
will the ubiquity of the pocket-cam mean we will have fewer
professional newsshooters out there covering events?
Hell, that's already happening with or without more camera
options. This might not be another nail in the coffin,
but it is at least, a nail.
So here's some info for you on how the IPhone is already changing
the newsgathering landscape.
Poynter .org looks at an Iphone used to shoot
an entire still photo newsmagazine shoot. And gives you a
on how to use your Iphone to gather news pics. Also some blogs
on "how to file with your IPhone.
B-Roll adds a couple of neat
videos on the use of the IPhone to gather video, and some
At the least, if newsphotogs start carrying these things...we
too, will always have a camera, and used by a pro,
that's a good thing.
Back of the Rack
"What Every Intern Needs to Learn" by
summer my TV station is bombarded with interns. Truth is...I
don't much like it. Joke: "How do you extricate the newsvan stuck in
"An intern under every wheel."
honestly, I realize how important their internship is. It
can lead to a real job in the business if they show the
ability to perform assigned tasks and more importantly,
show a desire to go a step further and find work to do on
News managers, producers and reporters rarely have time
for lengthy discussions with interns. They sometimes are
treated like the least favorite puppy in the litter. You'll
feed it and give it some place to sleep, but it's not going
to be thrown any roast beef from the dinner table.
have accompanied me dozens of times on news stories. They
often seem undecided about the direction they want to go
in, and seem to be just testing the waters. That's okay,
but as we know, the more determined you are about a particular
job, the more likely you will eventually find it. My
reporters and I only have one rule for interns: "What's
said in the car...stays in the car."
I always make a point to give the interns this valuable
lesson. I ask them: " Do you know what TV really is?" They
say: "Of course, you old fart. What are you like a spaz
or something." We're the new media generation. And as soon
as you old geezers get out of the way, we're going to revolutionize
TV with new and better concepts and ideas."
good" I say. "Just make sure you understand what TV really
is." And then I take them and show them real TV.
them to the back of the racks.
them how every piece of equipment in this place has a cable
or two or three or four. How everything that makes TV work
is in essense a electronic vehicle that has to be built
and tuned before it can be driven.
every thing about TV that seems as simple as point-and-click
is really an incredible marvel of modern technology that
allows you to see and hear the lousy singers on "American
Idol". Behind all of TV is the "electronica". The underbelly.
the pretty anchorman can read, before the investigative
reporter can go live from the courthouse, before the weatherman
with his myriad toys can still blow the forecast; there
The back of the rack.
a lot of really smart people worked long and hard to make
everything work in this place. They are the unsung heroes
of TV. The technicians who figure out how all of this sh*t
works. And then they make it work.
you have after-show meetings for your local news broadcasts?
do, this article says you probably
have good ratings at your station. A survey found that there
was a "significant relationship' between whether producers
and directors held a show meeting and how they assessed each
this: "the key finding is that not only do producers and
directors not communicate well, they don’t even communicate
minimally although, as she rightfully notes, “One cannot succeed
without the other’s participation and involvement.”
in the new reporter in most TV newsrooms usually involves nothing
more than handing them their assignment ( the crime de jour
usually) and sending them to the garage in search of a van.
But there's gotta be a better way than this sink or swim scenario.
report notes..."a newsroom that invests a little time
early on to help new hires learn their way around will reap
rewards more quickly in the form of better and more original
a how-to on breaking in the new guy
the RIGHT way. MORE...
6 Hazards of TV News Pooling and
How to Avoid Diluting Your Coverage
Philadelphia. Phoenix. Atlanta. Tampa. Detroit. Washington,
D.C. Boston. TV stations across the country have set up pool
agreements -- the sharing of video crews to cover routine,
scheduled events. The driving force behind this cooperation
among competitors isn't love, it's money.
ad revenues drop., stations cut staff and salaries, mandate
furloughs and impose hiring freezes. But if they cut the newsroom
population too deeply, stations can't produce sufficient fresh
material for newscasts and Web sites. So where's the next
place to find relief? The pool -- a single crew that covers
selected news and sports events and feeds the same TV dinner
to everyone in the news family.
directors are putting the best face on it. Veteran news director
Budd McEntee of Atlanta's WAGA-TV told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"How many times have you seen a (press conference) where
you've got six cameras lined up all with the same shot? In
a thriving competitive environment it's really wasteful. This
frees us up to really expand our coverage of the news with
stories that are our own."
known (and liked) Budd for a long time. He's a hardcore newshound,
and I trust he'll do his best to live up to that ideal of
expanded coverage. But Budd -- and every other leader of a
pool-ified newsroom -- must manage more than the mechanics
of sharing. They need to wrestle with pooling's risks and
this one of those "danger" signs you see posted
at public pools, warning everyone to take precautions before
they jump in.
are six hazards of pooling:
may miss contacts and stories in the halls of power.
As pool crews flourish, individual journalists may spend even
less time in places where governmental policy is made. Few
stations have beat reporters routinely roaming Capitols, City
Halls and Courthouses these days, and it's been news conferences
that get them back into those buildings. While in the halls
of power, smart journalists take the opportunity to make contacts,
develop sources and find tomorrow's stories. Now a pool crew
will be there instead. With its targeted story assignment
and loyalty to all its member stations, the pool crew won't
have the time or motivation to mine more deeply at the scene.
video may become devalued.
It's a fact of newsroom culture and human nature: we like
our own ideas best. We place a higher value on the stories
that have our signature on them. It will be a challenge to
keep staff from developing this logic: If a story's important,
we cover it ourselves. If it's no big deal, the pool gets
it. And if it's no big deal, hey, I'd rather work on something
events can blossom.
Savvy self-promoters and media relations people may sense
a real opportunity in the news-sharing environment. Pools
are designed for coverage of scheduled events, so spinners
may dream up more of them. Publicity stunts could increase
because of the natural synergy between those wanting attention
and pool operations needing to demonstrate productivity. Assignment
coverage may become stenography.
If pool crews are doing drive-by coverage -- grabbing video,
sound bites and news releases and rushing off to the next
location -- viewers will get much more of the "who, what
and where" than the more valuable "why and how."
Who, what and where are the product of stenography -- recording
the obvious. Why and how -- plus why not, what else, what
more, and in what context -- are born of critical thinking.
That takes talent and time and that's why it is valuable to
might save money, but not jobs.
It sounds so good: The time and effort saved by sending pool
crews frees the rest of the station's staff to develop enterprise
stories. And that can work -- as long as the news staff truly
remains intact. But in these tight times, management may be
tempted to see the pool arrangement as "outsourcing"
and an excuse to cut positions. If that happens, the pool
stations save money but lose key resources: human resources,
editorial resources and trust.
non-pool players may escape all these hazards at the pool
In some cities, market leaders have said "no thanks"
to joining a pool. Operating from positions of ratings strength,
these stations are betting that branding themselves as independent,
unique and better is more valuable than the potential cost-savings
of pools. They could be wrong, especially if they do nothing
more than scoff at the pools, send their own crews to the
same stories in the same way, and assume viewers will see
a difference. Or, they could end up celebrating the wisdom
of going it alone -- if their competitors succumb to the pool
hazards and deliver diluted coverage.
to think that the news directors who have launched news sharing
agreements know and care about these risks. That they talk
about values and vigilance with their staffs. That they exercise
the kind of leadership necessary to prove that pool coverage
can make sense -- economically and journalistically -- to
stations and viewers. Change like this involves risk, and
that's where strong leadership makes the difference.
that it's weather for wearing shorts, I'm wearing shorts.
I know that photogs wearing shorts can often be pretty unsightly
depending on the legs of said shorts-wearer.
And I've seen every type of photog leg from bulldozer brawny
to vericose vein-ey.
Me...my legs are so skinny that one photog used to joke: "are
those your legs or are you riding a chicken?".
knees are now available for inspection, the other day my daughter
said: "Dad...what's that on your knee?"
I'm like: "What?"
She says: "that thing on your knee?".
So in checking this out and I come to realize something I had
never noticed before.
I have callouses on my knees!
old scaley patches of roughed up knee-skin.
I'm thinking...jeez I've been shooting news so long, getting
down on my knees for that oh-so artistic low-angle award-winning,
god I am so good video, that I have developed callouses on my
to know exactly when this happened so I can warn my fellow photogs
at what point in their career they can expect to have knees
like that of a strawberry farmer.
But I think this thing just kinda creeps up on you.
And now I have to live with not only bony kneecaps...but bony
kneecaps covered in what looks like low-grade sandpaper.
So go ahead
guys...check your knees right now.
You old-timers will discover you have well-worn callouses that
no amount of skin lotion and vigorous rubbing will ever make
And you young guys...if those patches of rubbed and scrubbed
skin aren't there yet...just know that your time will come.
visible reminder to one day show the grandkids.
"Yep...I worked so hard getting those hard-to-get angles that
my knees will forever bear the scars of my dedication and desire
to make my TV news stories great."
the old-photogs home we'll all sit around and compare our battle
Kinda like a night at the VFW...
except we'll toast the glory days with bottles of Jergens.
I'm trying one more time with a messageboard
forum for you. The last one was overwhelmed with spam
so I've taken some more precautions to try to make this one
know that the B-Roll forum is the favorite of most of you.
I like it too. This is just another outlet for you.
I'll try to find some interesting, hopefully unique topics
for you to chew on.
Please take a quick moment to register and have at it.
And thanks for sticking with PhotogsLounge. Still a labor
of love for me
Some veteran newspeople who know the
area and the players and make our newsgathering better.
mix of news vets and young whippersnappers who sometimes
get it wrong, but more often get it right.
mostly young mix of upstarts who want to do well, but
at this point in their careers need time and seasoning.
A bad combination of entry-level phone answerers and
their weekend inferiors who are damaging our reputation
and ability to compete.
monkey who has learned how to push all the shiny buttons,
and a parrot who can mimic the last phrase barked at
final numbers on this poll are actually quite encouraging
in that the more positive answers gathered the largest numbers.
It seems that desks are struggling but trying to make a decent
attempt at gathering relevant news. We haven't all been forced
to work with deskmonkeys. It seems the majority of desk personnel
are still working hard to make the desk a successful focus
for the newsroom.
once in a while it's good to take a little refresher course
on one or another of the many skill sets that news photogs
are asked to master, so I thought I'd bring back a terrific
essay written by Chris Ray on
the basics of using the proper camera filters when shooting
your everyday shooting, you don't NEED to know what the Kelvin
But knowing it and how color temperature works will definitely
make you a better shooter.
Read Filter Facts!
the latest incarnation of a mobile video production truck
I like the roll-on, roll-off production equipment aspect of
With portable monitors, switchers, and audio all in a box,
it makes it very convenient to work either inside or outside
the truck itself.
and VIZIO -- the nation's No. 2 set maker -- say they're abandoning
the plasma business.
the Reporter really means is...
by Tim Rutherford
an interview with the councilman. We...shot video of the scene."
photog can take no credit for hailing the councilman outside
city hall and directing him to me here inside the building
where I asked him how he felt about the new bill.
I, on the other hand deserve to share the credit with my
photog for the 20 minutes of engaging video that was shot
capturing the pivotal moments of this chaotic news event.
Damn I'm good."
just head to the scene."
"No one returned my calls. I have no new info. I have
no old video. I have no fresh insights. I have no story."
need to get some MOS."
"This story will have to revolve around the three
numbskulls' opinions I get on tape that will not propel
the story in any way but will get me a big step closer
to finishing a minute-thirty throwaway package that fills
the producers' empty bottom of the hour hole."
think the notion of one-man-bands to cover stories is
a terrible idea and will really lower the quality of our
"I'm scared .
Is that sound my pedestal being lowered?"
TV is going mobile. It's only a matter of time before every
TV station will be available on your handy mobile device.
of ownership groups are jumping into this big time although
there is still some early skepticism.
But in trying to reach a younger audience to remain viable,
this may be a necessary route and early adopters could gather
in a loyal following if the content is engaging.
camera is bigger than theirs so you must be more important
the idea that you somehow carry more weight (not just on your
shoulder) because of the size of your camera is dying fast.
I've said before that once the main players in town (mayors,
business execs, etc.) get used to the fact that the cameras
are now smaller and the guy behind it asking the questions
is just as important, the idea that these big-ass cameras
we throw around are a necessary evil will fade away.
Most of these smaller cameras produce quality video in the
If they can just get those thorny bad audio problems solved,
that big thing sitting on your tripod may go the way of every
other camera that reached its techno-breaking point.
That old TK-76 is still gathering dust on the top of the maintenance
racks isn't it?
is going full-tilt boogie into producing 3-D television from
start to finish.
From cameras to full HD 3-D displays, Panasonic thinks it
can grab an area of developing techology all to itself and
run with it.
Yeah...you'll still need the funny glasses but this is an
area of TV entertainment that is bound to be attractive to
a lot of couch potatoes in the future.
Heck...3-D porn films are a no-brainer for the lonely technophile...right?
TV-newspaper partnerships are a big flop.
For a number of reasons including: resistance to sharing stories,
too much planning time, the ability of newspapers to gather
their own video and the overriding fact that the newspaper
industry is in total meltdown, are all adding up to the fact
that these local partnerships are going nowhere and will all
probably fade away into the bowels of the great 21st century
information paradigm shift.
students looking to land the first big TV job are remaining
hopeful even in the face of some daunting realities in the
world of TV news.
As TV stations around the country are dropping reporters,
producers and really just about anybody with a heartbeat,
the nation's newly graduated are still primed to land that
The key is that they are not pigeonholing themselves but rather
offering their services as jack-of-all broadcast trades from
shooting and editing to writing and tweeting.
Trade secret #1: if you're ugly, you can hang it up.
Is Your Video Archive Flaking Out?
probably the best-known engineering problem and most
stations do nothing about it: the limited life span of videotape.
Until recently, only major networks and studios could justify
the time and expense of backing up old content or storing the
originals off site. But the explosion of licensed video sites
and the fast-growing market for documentary footage have created
new opportunities for stations to monetize old footage. That
is, for stations who can locate and transfer their footage on
But when it comes to videotape, age both giveth and taketh
away. By the time old footage achieves nostalgic and historic
market value, it has probably suffered physical deterioration.
Too often, potential profits have already evaporated. Or more
accurately, flaked away.
usually give folks the option when I am delivering a good
news/bad news scenario.
Which do you want to hear first?
Me?.....Always the bad news first.
Let's get the crap out of the way now so I can revel in the
With that in mind...here is the bad news:
Geez...this stuff is getting really serious. It seems every
ownership group is going to take their turn at paring down
the size of their local TV news operations.
I know this flood of layoff news can be depressing for many
of you readers. "Enough already. We get it. It's bad
times for TV", you say.
And I hear you. But it's important for all of us to see who
is doing what and how it may affect your future.
So now...the good news.
TV stations in Los
Angeles and Detroit
are adding newscasts.
In an uncertain revenue future, some stations are still taking
chances and expanding their operations.
That's a positive in a hazy forecast
So let's have a look at the future.
TV stations sharing
resources has,in the past, been totally pooh-poohed by
execs. "We're competitiors!"
Now in a time of declining viewers and revenue, sharing helicopters,
pool cameras and the like, is starting to make a lot of sense.
A buddy of mine predicted this years ago. "Why do you
need 10 cameras all shooting the same press conference?"
he would ask. I would explain the competition factor, the
need for isolation, etc. etc.
He said: "It's expensive overkill."
Now he looks like a prophet.
This sharing plan gained a big endorsement from a couple of
media groups who have joined forces.
Expect this trend to continue.
Bad economic times means more local TV news viewers compared
to other media outlets, so says a new
I guess those of us with less money in the pocket need to see
that we are not alone. And TV seems to be the first place of
about journalism students still hoping to get into the field?
They must realize the industry is in turmoil and steer clear,
Nope. Journalism as a major is on the rise, not the decline.
And universities and colleges are trying to meet that demand
coursework geared toward the multi-media platform outlets
It's not about just getting a resume tape with a good standup
on it anymore.
It's about storytelling.
Specifically, how do traditional TV news stories translate
to a web viewing audience?
Berkley professor Richard Koci Hernandez says that his research
shows that the ever-present TV reporter standup does not work
as well on the web as on the TV.
He says: "...on the web, you can put a two- or three-minute
piece up and you can let the subject speak. You dont
even have to be in there if you dont want to, and you
can just let the cameras roll. So instead of telling you can
"Blasphemy!! No reporter standups! How will the audience
know who I am and how objective and personable I can be if
they don't see me" you say.
Truth is, that on the web, it's not as important.
Hernandez says: "Dont adopt something; try something
new. I really think that we do have an opportunity to create
a new form of what we might call web journalism, or storytelling
for the web."
One newspaper journo for the Times in Scotland was suspended
for not using a video camera on a story.
I guess some folks haven't gotten the memo about how the Times...they
are a -changin'.
Finally,a few tidbits:
There was a fight
in a TV station studio in Savannah that sent one person
to the hospital.
I'm guessing this was a blowup amongst some employees.
But if you're gonna come to blows with the bitchy audio-guy
who has finally put you over the edge, at least save it for
the weather segment when all the viewers are too mesmerized
by the super-duper "world's most powerful" doppler
radar to care that there is a slugfest going on just outside
"I'll kill you Buzzy. I swear I'll kill you!"
The governor of Alabama is threatening
to sue the local TV stations over airing an ad that criticizes
Some of the stations have backed off and pulled the ad.
Others are calling it a "1st amendment issue".
One thing I know for sure...TV stations fear lawyers. Even their
The Associated Press is pondering
whether to lower the boom on the many websites out there who
re-use their content or even link to it. They are threatening
lawsuits or offering to strike deals with sites like Google.
I guess the AP sees an opportunity to grab some big-time revenue
from aggregator sites and the like.
Question: What would a morning TV news meeting look like without
the local paper and the AP wire?
a cat looking for a cozy spot to...nap, got
caught in a TV trucks' sat dish as it rolled down the
The cat has now become a celebrity after being safely removed
by dismantling a part of the dish.
For you cat-lovers out there...a happy ending.
For you cat-haters...a missed opportunity for some "fun
You Want to be a News Director
outside looking in, the job doesn’t seem that hard. “I remember
as a producer looking into that news director’s office and wondering,
‘What the hell do they do all day?’” says Kathleen Choal, news
director at KVOA-TV in Tucson, AZ. “All I see them doing is
talking on the phone and watching TV!”
better now. A news director’s job is part admiral, part accountant,
and all consuming. It’s the kind of job you’re never really
prepared for, but you’re still expected to step in and do it
well from day one. Read
the entire article.
Or: How to run a red light and avoid the penalty
off, A disclaimer: If there is even the slightest chance you
could be involved in an accident...DO NOT TRY THIS!
that out of the way...TV news crews do so much driving around
their respective cities and towns that it is often the case
that we have to squeak by an intersection where the light
is in the process of turning from yellow to red.
TV news crews are ALWAYS in a hurry, occasionally it is necessary
that, in order to avoid missing the mayor's admission of guilt
in his perjury case, or the finals of the county fair pig
race, we need to scoot through those amber to red changing
traffic lights and get our asses down the road.
course the natural tendency when approaching an intersection
where the light is yellow and about to go red, is to pound
that pedal to the floor and bust through that sucker. If you
almost make the light by zooming through it...well...that
Especially if a police officer is in a position to see you
do it. Speeding up to make the light is a no-no from a cop's
point of view. And rightly so.
my PhotogsLounge method for running the light and avoiding
the cops: DO the exact opposite.
your foot off the gas...slow down...put both hands on the
steering wheel, put a dumbfounded look on your face, and creep
through the light looking like you wouldn't know a red light
from a green, blue or purple light.
my friends...slow and stupid makes the light.
applies mostly to unmarked vehicles. A police officer's decision
to pull over your marked news vehicle is directly related
to how much he or she said officer hates your weatherman.
at it from a police officer's point of view. Who are you going
to bother to stop? A knucklehead who busted through that light
racing his engine in the process, OR...an idiot who looks
as though he doesn't even know what day it is, let alone what
color the light was?
little acting is required here. Feel free to put on your stupidest
looking expression and let a little spit drool down your chin.
Might wanna take a split sec and muss your hair. We're going
for the absent-minded professor look here. Or maybe the banjo-playing
mutant in Deliverance.
gonna figure" "I'll be damned if I'm spending the next half
hour explaining the traffic laws to a moron who should have
"funny farm" permanently set in the GPS.
I've tested this method and it is guaranteed to work for you
as it has for me.
after me: "Slow and stupid makes the light".
your assignment desk is like mine however, they are alreading
packing up the podium at the event anyway. No need to get
a ticket to boot.
in Cities Around the World Tell You Where to Go and What to Do! Example: "...When
in New Orleans many people automatically
head for Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. That's fine if you
like overpriced drinks, obnoxious tourists and the smells of vomit
and urine. For something different, try Frenchmen Street in the
Faubourg Marigny, just downriver from the Quarter." More...
the Assignment Desk Really Means... Assignment desk says: "I need you there
by 2 o'clock!" Really means: "It doesn't start 'til 2 thirty...but I need
to start covering my ass after missing the anchor's speech at
that ladies luncheon yesterday.