First, I am staring a new category for the site called Buzzed. It’s where I’m going to put all the caffeine infused opinionated rants I sometimes go off on. This being the first in the category, but also followed by my previous ones.
Okay, let’s start. In our newsroom, we’re finally training reporters how to use multimedia tools. And yes, I know there’re religious wars being fought over this subject. I hope not to add too much more fuel to the fire. With that said, let me put things into context. As photographers and reporters in this brave new world, I consider all of us, visual journalists. The days of the one talent journalist are over. Now don’t get all crazy with the term, visual journalists, because I don’t care about labeling things the right way. Why? Because there’s never the right term for anything that makes everybody happy. As a recent example, I was at a conference where my colleagues in ‘multimedia’ where actually concerned that we use the term multimedia. PLEASE! Who cares? Can we please use our energy– what little we have left after our long day– to obsess over other things, like story-telling approaches? Okay, back to my visual journalist rant. Let me set it up with a hypothetical story. Substitute your own newsroom variation.
Reporter X comes to the photo desk with a story idea.
The photo desk doesn’t have a warm body to assign.
Reporter X is told to do the visuals themselves.
Reporter X mentally screams inside their head, “What the hell! I don’t have time to do that. I can’t write a 30-inch story AND take photos. I haven’t been trained. This isn’t my job. I’m a reporter, not a photographer! I didn’t go to journalism school for this! They don’t pay me enough for this crap.” Then, smiles and goes and checks out a camera.
Reporter X comes back to the newsroom, bitter and complaining.
INSERT complaining here.
Why we shouldn’t worry about this:
1. Latecomers to the multimedia party will learn how challenging it really is.
2. They’ll begin to learn and become better partners in gathering and producing multimedia.
3. They’ll also learn what really makes a visually interesting situation. This of course makes better story telling for everybody.
This is meant with all due respect to all reporters out there.
Hey, welcome to the club. Photographers and some reporters have been doing double duty for quite some time. They’ve been in the field doing the job for print and adding an audio/video load to their job. At no extra cost of course. Therefore, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOU COMPLAIN ANYMORE! This is meant with all due respect to all reporters and even many photographers out there. I’m not being a ‘hater.” Just don’t complain to those of us who’ve been busting our collective asses, because this isn’t what you signed up for, welcome to the frontlines. Now let’s go kick some butt! Together. Hand-in-hand, everybody feel better now? I do.
Okay, rant over. But since I’m not the kind of guy to bitch and not offer some advice or possible solutions to my complaints, here’s some random goodness.
Let’s start with some advice for those of you who:
1. Want to abandon previously held beliefs or loyalties
2. Want to be somebody who chooses to live outside of the laws or conventions of a group
- Gather all the passion and commitment you have for journalism and break down the obstacles that are holding you back from moving forward and being part of something truly great.
- Sacrifice yourself on the altar of mediocrity.
- Don’t be afraid to be a work in progress.
- Even though our paths are different, let’s share the knowledge we learn along the way.
- Remember the words of Albert Einstein “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
- Always remain the beginner, not the expert. The expert only sees one way of getting things done, the beginner sees many possibilities.
- “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”-Albert Einstein
- If this is true, then why not choose the risky path?
- Dump all your baggage about video.
- Remember if you fight for your misery, then that’s all you’re going to get.
- Stay away from toxic people and blogs.
- Get visual. Watch. Examine. Look hard. Create.
- Don’t be afraid to change directions or ask for them.
- Create compelling and concise multimedia.
- Let go of your fear of failure. As journalist we learn, rightly so, that being wrong or failing is bad. Yes, when it comes to facts and the truth, but not to how we distribute the news. Experiment.
- Don’t let others pull you down with their criticism or blow you up with their praise. Neither changes who you really are.
- Recall daily, the passion that got you into journalism in the first place.
- The words, “That’s a bad idea!” means you’re going in the right direction.
enjoy, or not,