CNN’s multimedia toolkit and mindset

More than a year ago we reported CNN was hiring what they call “all-platform journalists” to expand their coverage in ten U.S. cities.  So far, they’ve hired four.  Victor Hernandez, director of coverage, says it’s because they’ve had trouble finding people who meet all their criteria. Speaking to a crowd of broadcast journalists at an RTNDA …

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Making Flip cams do more

We’ve written here in the past about traditional TV journalists finding Flip cams useful for certain types of newsgathering.  The lack of an external mic creates challenges, but the video quaility is quite high.  However, the camera was not designed for getting sweeping, panoramic wide shots by any means. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of …

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Why social media matters to journalists

I’ll be honest, I don’t really enjoy Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn. Often times keeping up with them feels like just one more chore. But, if you’re going to be a journalist, I think it’s inevitable that you’ll have to get plugged into the social media scene. Consider these excerpts from a job description for an “Interactivity Editor” at …

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How newsrooms deal with trauma

Some news stories have lasting psychological effects on journalists. Just ask anyone who covered the 9/11 attacks or the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But traumatic effects like stress disorders aren’t confined to major national disasters, as the staff of WGAL-TV learned in October 2006 when a gunman killed five little girls and injured five at …

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Keep your multimedia voice healthy

What’s the most harmful thing you can do to your voice? That’s an easy one: Smoke. When I first started working at CBS News, I sat across from Dallas Townsend, the longtime radio anchor of the morning World News Roundup. He went through two packs of unfiltered cigarettes in an eight-hour shift and it destroyed …

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Shoot with your ears

There’s something missing from a lot of television and online video stories, and without it, those stories fall flat. Every picture should have a sound to convey the full experience of what it was like to be there. That’s what visual storytelling does best. But if you don’t capture crisp, clear natural sound, you can’t …

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Story structure for the Web

When it comes to writing, what works on TV or in print doesn’t necessarily work on the Web. Stories that begin with an anecdotal lead may send online readers clicking away, if they can’t figure out quickly what the story is about. Many broadcast journalists have taken to rewriting their stories for the Web by …

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Backpack journalism explained

Whatever you call them–VJs, MMJs or backpackers–reporters who shoot and edit their own material are becoming more common in large market television stations. WUSA-TV in Washington, DC, was the first in a top-10 market to make solo journalists the norm. So what’s it like? Georgetown University grad student Deborah Lynn Green, who interned at WUSA …

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Avoiding early burnout

A reporter in her early 20s starts losing her hair. Another loses weight and has symptoms of depression. Everyone knows journalism is a tough business, but that doesn’t make it any easier to cope with the stress of feeling overworked and unsatisfied in your chosen profession. Scott Reinardy of the University of Kansas surveyed young …

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