VJ, one-man band, sojo, mojo. Is there a distinction? Pete Liebengood, president of the VJ training company OnQCo, says the only real difference is that a one-man band uses more gear than the others. In his opinion, a VJ, sojo or mojo only needs a camera and a laptop to do the job. What, no microphone? Anyway, at last week’s RTNDA convention, Liebengood said the “spiraling” VJ movement has both an upside and a downside:
People like the idea of ownership of the story. It’s a motivational force for them to come to work each day. The other thing is, it’s hard. Some of them don’t have time to eat during the course of a day. I’m concerned about the burnout issue. It’s physically hard, mentally hard, it’s stressful, draining.
In a video presentation, two journalists from all-VJ KOHD-TV in Bend, Ore., offered a similar assessment. “It’s a lot more work than I thought it would be but it’s also rewarding being responsible for all of the elements,” said Lauren Biskind, although she also admitted, “Some days I just want to back away from the computer and go home and go to bed.” Brian MacMillan had experience as a shooter before becoming a VJ. “I think you have to love what you do, be excited about news, and it’s tough to get in there every day and do this. If you’re not excited about it you’re going to burn out.”
KOHD (market 192) launched its all-VJ news operation a little over six months ago. If their reporters are already exhausted, how long can they keep it up?