A friend is applying for a job titled “multi-media journalist” – which launched an hour-long discussion between the two of us about this growing trend – sometimes called the multi-platform journalist, the backpack broadcaster, or (rather irreverently) the one-man-band…
We talked at length about the best ways to approach that position, and manage time efficiently.
Setting a work flow that works for you is key – using every minute to either gather information, write (often on several platforms), or present your report. The good news is: technology is making that process so much easier now than in years past, from smaller cameras to more portable laptops with speedy video editing software.
Multi-media journalists who work with me have offered these suggestions:
- Set daily deadlines for yourself – when you want to have your story shot, written, edited, fed, etc.
- Take a collaborative approach. Identify people in the newsroom who can help you with research, phone calls, etc. and keep their numbers on speed-dial.
- Pre-interview sources. It will allow you to get the facts down on paper and start your web story, and free you up to only ask the emotional, colorful questions on-camera.
- Write a skeleton web story first, with the basic information. It will help you focus your story more quickly and knock out a more detailed version later.
- Make use of drive-time. You can call sources, record audio notes for yourself, and submit graphic requests over the phone.
- In breaking news situations, shoot first, ask questions later. But if it’s not a breaking story, interviewing first can help identify shots you need.
- Use a prop that’s your same height to frame stand-ups – a light stand is often handy.
- Capture/cut soundbites and shots you like as you log the video rather than hand-writing your log and cutting later.
The most valuable resource journalists have is time. Normally, we don’t have a lot of it before the deadline strikes – every minute is precious. So it’s of utmost importance to use what time we do have efficiently.