Today was pretty eventful for me at the station! I started out my day at the 9:45 news meeting that we normally have every morning. Next, I shadowed one of the producers for the 12:00 news show. Even though I had shadowed producers before for news segments, it’s always an exciting experience for me to see how different producers bring their own unique personality to the show. After the 12:00 show was over, Janell, the assistant news director allowed me the opportunity to write a VSOT for the 6:00 show about how Congressman Sanford Bishop Jr donated $10,000 to the local African American Museum in Columbus and donated $15,000 to the House of Mercy homeless shelter. It was my first time creating a VSOT so I was a little lost at first but luckily, I had people around me willing to help me create a great VOSOT. After I was done creating my VSOT, Janell partnered with me about the Media Roundtable meeting that she was organizing for Tuesday night at 7:30 in the Schuster building. The purpose of the meeting was to bring awareness to the recent occurrences of police brutality in the media and also shed light on domestic violence. Janell had me make a few copies to create a packet to pass out at the event and she had me create a few nameplates from the guest panelists that would be at the event. I will update later with more info on how the event turns out.
Today I had the pleasure of working alongside Tasia. Tasia is one of the producer’s at WTVM and she just began working as a reporter about 4 days ago. She and I got the chance to cover a story today involving the residents that live between Blackmon Road and JR Allen pkwy and the new development of a neighborhood market Walmart. The concern of the residents of that area was that traffic would increase in that area with a new Wal-Mart and it would make the area less quiet. Tasia and I went out to the area and met up with one of the supporters of a Facebook group called “Say No to Walmart on Blackmon Rd” and we were able to interview her for the 5:00 news show and get her opinion of the new Wal-Mart.
One we got our interview with her, Tasia and I got some b-roll footage of the area and oncoming traffic to include in the story. Once we got our b-roll, we drove around the area to find other residents in the area to interview for our story. We found another subject in a nearby subdivision that was willing to speak in front of the camera and give her opinion on how she felt about the new Wal-Mart. Once done with that particular interview, Tasia and I set-up for our standup in front of the camera. After a couple takes I finally got my take right and we went back to the station where we begin editing our package. As usual, it was a great experience working soo close to the reporters and learning more about their craft and what it takes to make a successful news package.
Last Week I had the opportunity to meet and interview some important people in Columbus. The stories we worked on included a gas leak and new construction on an intersection on J.R. Allen Parkway. With these stories it was interesting because I had a chance to see that reporters go above and beyond to complete their story. For instance, with the gas leak we had to walk a while to get to the school because of the traffic and it was great to see different angles of reporting. Also, I was able to shoot some stand-up shots as well to add to my reel. It was a great week!
Week one with Dave Platta. Dave and I went to the Carver/Spencer game. This is a big rival game for these two teams. Dave and I first went about the task of getting rosters for our highlights and stats later that night. We made our way down to the field, now I was not filming this game because Dave wanted to get me familiar with the camera and atmosphere. Now, playing high school football this was not a problem for me, because the field was second nature. Before the game started, Dave briefed me on how to frame the play in the camera and how to take notes so we can be faster when editing film for air. After we filmed the first half, we headed back to the station to edit our film and get ready for the 10 and 11 o’clock shows. Not only do we edit our film at a very fast pace at the same time we have to answer phone calls to record the other high school game scores. What did I learn the first day out? I learned that if we wanted to be successful when in the news business you have to be fast.
Now that you know the difference between a News Anchor and a News Reporter from my last blog, here’s another one for you…
Q: What’s the difference between News Reporters and News Photographers (Or as they’re most commonly called, “Photogs”)?
Before my week with the Photogs at WTVM, I would have answered this question differently. I knew they were both sent out on location for stories, but I probably would have figured that the reporters do the interviewing, while the photogs do all the filming. Not so. Both reporters and photogs do filming, and they both conduct interviews. The main difference I’ve noticed so far?
A: Reporters speak in front of the camera, while Photogs do all of their work from behind the camera (True, there is a little more to it than that, but we’ll get to the rest in Reporter week.)
My first day working with the Photogs was particularly exciting, because it was the day that Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be retiring at the end of the month; A huge story, since no Pope has retired in 600 years. Naturally, WTVM was looking for a local reaction from the Catholic community. So, for my very first assignment out on location, I found myself interviewing my own priest about the Pope’s announcement. Jonathan, the Photog, was happy to let me ask all of the questions because he admittedly does not know much about Catholicism. After the interview, I also edited the segment and chose the 15 second sound-byte from the interview.
Q: What are the first two questions you ALWAYS ask in a recorded interview?
A: What is your first & last name and can you spell it? What is your title?
I spent the second day with Paul, a Photog for over 30 years now. We spent the afternoon working on a story about the Columbus Black History Tour. We interviewed Johnnie Warner from the Columbus Black History Museum, then drove around town gathering footage from several locations on the tour. During my internship with WTVM, I’m not only learning a lot about professions in news media, I am also learning so much about Columbus, Georgia.
The assignment desk is the hub for collecting news stories. As the Assistant News Director for WTVM, Janell, explained, “The assignment desk is the nucleus of the news station.” Working at the assignment desk includes constantly monitoring police scanners, phone calls, emails, online sources, and other news stations. Once a newsworthy story has been identified, the Assignment Editor assigns the stories to reporters. Then, the producers plug the stories into their shows.
My first full day at WTVM Channel 9 began Friday at 10 am and ended at 6pm. It went by so fast and did not feel like work at all. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had the opportunity to listen in on the morning meeting. After the meeting, I was introduced to Brittany, the Video Journalist I would be shadowing for the duration of my internship. Brittany had a few stories she was working on, which led us to visit a man’s house in Phenix City, Alabama. Brittany allowed me to record her interview. I did not get a chance to record very much, because the man mentioned that he did not want to be on television . So I had to turn off the camera. All of this was so exciting for me. We went a few other places to get different perspectives of the story, and then went back to the newsroom where Brittany began editing and preparing her package, which is another word for story. I was able to go into the sound room with her while she recorded her voice-overs. I also watched her present the news live for her segment of the show concerning the news she had gathered and prepared that morning.
Saturday morning we had to be at the station at 6:30 a.m. to prepare for covering the return of Soldiers from Afghanistan. We met the Fort Benning Public Affairs Officer at the front gate along with other news affiliates. We then convoyed to the site where the Soldiers would return and where eager families were waiting to see their Soldiers. There was so much positive energy and excitement in the air. This unit returned home with zero deaths. This was a serious event for Brittany and I was able to see first hand her professionalism, assertiveness and drive to do her very best to get a story her audience could identify and connect with. Brittany is shorter than I am, and I was practically running to keep up with her on several occasions. With all of this going on and the importance of getting her story, Brittany was still cognitive of the fact of me being with her and ensured that she was teaching me and giving me guidance every step of the way. After this event we went to another event.
The Annual Buddy walk, where Brittany allowed me to record the entire event. I taped interviews, and B-roll during this event. It is great getting hands-on training from an expert. We then went back to the news station where she taught me how to pick out the important personal part of the story, and I became familiar with EDIUS the software used at WTVM to enter packages voice-overs and sound on tape. Overall I had a fabulous experience. What I love most about the profession is the opportunity to meet new people everyday. There never seems to be a dull redundant moment.
Until next time keep this in mind… “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” ~ Henry Ford