Broadcast Journalism
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  • Good Morning Connecticut, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Cannes From the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    So another week, and another item about Snapchat … No, I am not obsessed with the digital platform. But if you look at the image below, you’ll notice that a wide range of content publishers are.
    As reported by Digiday, Snap — the parent company of Snapchat — has hired veteran digital executive Sarah Gallagher to coordinate communication between Snapchat and the growing number of news and non-fiction content creators that rely on the digital distribution service. Why are major legacy media outlets anxious to distribute their content via Snapchat? Because people my age watch TV, and people your age (well, the age of the majority of people reading this) use apps.
    At NYFA, we offer a skills-based Broadcast Journalism program because there are certain key skills you need to know in a world that includes both broadcasting and narrowcasting.
    Traffic is moving in the other direction as well, with well-known broadcast outlets searching out digital content. Vice is the preeminent digital platform for edgy non-fiction. Begun as a free arts magazine in Toronto, the now USD $8+ billion production powerhouse cut a deal with Channel 4 in the UK. Channel 4 has a reputation for cutting-edge non-fiction programming, and this alliance allows them to build their brand (and their on-demand video service), without the expenses associated with original production.
    Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, is a lot of time to fill. And, as one of my former colleagues once put it, “every dream has its budget.”
    I heard from NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Alyssa Taglia on Thursday. Last year around this time, she was a student. Now, she is the morning traffic reporter, and a multimedia journalist, at WTNH in Connecticut. Plus, last week she got the chance to anchor the station’s 9 a.m. Good Morning Connecticut newscast.
    Congratulations, Alyssa!
    Meanwhile, in Georgia (“the country, not the state“), NYFA grad Liza Tsitsishvilli works at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Recently she did a story about one of the most famous singers in her country. It is evidence of just how much they value her that she was given such an important assignment!

    Broadcast Journalism alum Federica Polidora should probably get an award for the sheer number of Italian news outlets she contributes to. Recently she interviewed Philip Glass, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.

    She was at the Cannes Film Festival, but instead of the usual red carpet shot she sent us a picture of her with two of her colleagues, and her son…
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  • Univision, Conference Calls, Story Corps, & Memorial Day With New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    Here in the United States, the months when national TV audiences are measured are known as “sweep” months. This past May was just such a month, and the local news programs on stations that are part of the Univision television network did very well; in fact, they made history,  finishing first in a number of key demographic groups and time periods.
    What makes this especially historic is that all of the programming on Univision is in Spanish, yet these Spanish-language news programs drew a larger audience than English language news broadcasts in the same cities. It says a great deal about changing audiences, and a changing America.
    A primary lesson to be learned from these results is that news organizations need to continually look for novel ways to engage audiences.
    The Neiman Lab at Harvard University, a research group that studies American journalism, reported recently that The New York Times is using conference-call technology to bring together hundreds of subscribers for what might be called “a private radio program.” Much like a conventional radio talk show, there are subject experts and the opportunity to “call in,” only — instead of being broadcast — it is distributed by telephone: often mobile phones.
    One of the things that typifies all of the departments at the New York Film Academy (NYFA), not just the Broadcast Journalism program, is an emphasis on storytelling. As broadcast journalists, we are in the business of “electronic storytelling.” One of my favorite examples is an organization called Story Corps. This nonprofit group travels the country collecting stories from everyday people. They do it in a novel way, in that they ask people to visit their small mobile recording booths in pairs. And it is there the storytelling happens. Recently, Story Corps began to create animations which portray some of these stories. This is especially important for social media, where people respond to images more than audio.
    Here is a wonderful example, posted online late last month for Memorial Day, the day when America remembers its war dead. And like all the best stories, it has a twist…
    The multimedia journalism (MMJ) skills students learn at the NYFA can be used in a wide range of ways. Former summer session student Alexandra Saeys was recently the on-site reporter for a digital conference called #DES2018, the Digital Business World Conference, which was held in Madrid. As you can see in the picture below, she had all the necessary resources to capture insights and trends that were being hotly debated at the conference.
    Congratulations Alexandra!
    Staying in Europe, in Georgia (“the country, not the state”), New York Film Academy alum Mariam Shalikashvilli works for Georgia Public Broadcasting. And while she is pretty tall, for one stand-up she needed to be a little taller. I don’t think she brought the little platform she is standing on in the picture below. In fact I think she “found it.” But in either case, it was just right.
    We end this week with a moving Memorial Day story produced by former Broadcast Journalism student Melissa Aleman, who works at CW33 in Dallas, Texas. She wrote:
    By far, one of my favorite stories that I wrote and produced … hope you all enjoy it… and truly remember the meaning of Memorial Day. 
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  • Congratulations to 1-Year Broadcast Journalism Fall 2017 Grads!

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    Last Friday was graduation day for the latest group of 1-year NYFA Broadcast Journalism students. And by the looks of things, everyone had a good time.

    Photos by Evgenia Vlasova and Joao Queiroga.

    One of the graduates has a job here in New York. Another submitted her resume and resume reel for a general assignment reporter position in Texas. And that was before they even graduated!

    Photos by Evgenia Vlasova and Joao Queiroga.

    One of the grads — Sara Quintana — summed-up her NYFA experience in a wonderful 70-second video. (Here is a link to it.) Those names you see at the end are her classmates and instructors. Yes, it’s always a “team effort.”

    Congratulations to our 1-Year Broadcast Journalism Fall 2017 grads!

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  • Green Screen & Graduation for the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism Fall 2017 Cohort

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    It is almost graduation day for the Fall 2017 1-year Broadcast Journalism students. Last week, they were in the studio for the final time, recording special material for their resume reels. This week will be consumed by editing, editing, editing, and editing. Graduation is at 10 a.m. on Friday.
    We use a “green screen effect” to create our “virtual” news set. That means the only things that are “real” are the chairs, desk and (of course) air talent…
    In the Control Room, and when the show hits “air,” it looks a lot different…
    Still, there’s nothing quite as nice as an “anchor” close-up…
    Even a few minutes before going “on set,” students are still rehearsing. In this case, in the hall outside the studio. (And if she wants to delete any part of the script, the waste basket is immediately to her left.)
    When it all comes together, it is the closest thing to “magic.”
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    May 23, 2018 • Academic Programs, Broadcast Journalism • Views: 234

  • The Fourth Estate, Cheddar on Snapchat, the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation and More From the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    This is a difficult time to be a journalist in the United States. The level of trust in American institutions has declined significantly in recent years, and that includes journalism. So, is it a good time to let people see how the news business actually works? How the process is chaotic, messy and difficult? How sometimes there are fundamental disagreements on the way to cover a story, not because of partisan bias but because of differing perspectives? The New York Times obviously feels it is, and allowed documentary filmmakers unprecedented access to their operation: 150 days of access, to be precise. The result is premiering later this month on the American Pay-TV channel Showtime, in a series called The Fourth Estate. 

    “You see how much we sweat getting it right, how imperfect it is, too,” media columnist Jim Rutenberg said in an interview with Politico. “I don’t see how you could come away from watching it and not see how much we worry about things people think the media in general is cavalier about.”

    You may or may not have heard of Cheddar. It is a business news video service aimed at younger viewers. (With the exception of faculty and administrators who read these NYFA Broadcast Journalism updates, that means you…) It has a very different tone and approach than conventional business news channels like CNBC and Bloomberg. Now, Cheddar is setting up a new distribution platform on Snapchat. (Yes, the same Snapchat I referred to last week.) It’s another example of a programming service affiliating with a popular, well-known app, instead of depending solely on one they developed themselves.

    Last week I attended a conference on streaming and other OTT (Over The Top) distribution strategies. As always, these meetings amaze me.

    One case in point was a presentation by Google on how it is possible for anyone to to create his/her own personal streaming network — and the ways program suppliers can monetize them. (If you can’t figure out a business model, you can’t stay in business.) One of the biggest challenges is “latency,” the lag time between you clicking an on-screen icon and something actually happening.

    The skills students learn in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program can be used in a wide range of fields, one of which is commonly known as “corporate video.” NYFA grad Georgia Hammond is back home in Australia, and once again this year producing videos for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation. I can’t think of a better use of multimedia journalism (MMJ) skills.

    Great job, Georgia!

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  • SnapChat Breaking News, NBC Bakersfield and More: Updates From New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    I have said before — and I’m about to say again — that I have “seen the future” of electronic journalism, and it is “on the phone.”
    The folks at NowThis were among the first companies to build a business on this realization. The notion began at the HuffPost, when that successful online publication decided to start producing full motion video. But it chose to emulate MSNBC’s liberal-chat format. (A decision that proved wrong…) That led a key member of the creative team to jump ship, and help create NowThis, which targets people who get their news on the phone.

    Last week Axios reported that NowThis is launching a breaking news channel on Snapchat. Why? Because, increasingly, people don’t view news “on the phone.” Rather, they view news via an app on their phone. And what better app to ally themselves with than Snapchat? It looks to be a very smart move…

    Meanwhile Ad Age, an old-style print magazine about the advertising industry that has reinvented itself as an online source of media information, reports that Google is stepping up its game when it comes to covering news. The Google Newsstand app is said to be on the way out, and a new app is on the way which will be faster and have more video content. Full-motion video is the “secret sauce” that attracts digital viewers. Printed pages with the occasional photo or graphic, not so much. This is why we teach NYFA Broadcast Journalism students to be multimedia Journalists (MMJs).
    The Poynter Institute is one of the leading journalism research institutes in the United States. A recent post had the headline, New York Times Co. is dipping a toe into television production. There are two fascinating aspects to this story. The first is that The Times is using digital platforms (podcasts, feature-style films) not to report the news, but to bolster their image as an outstanding source of unbiased reporting. They don’t see these efforts as potential profit centers as much as ways of shaping public perceptions about The Times. It is certainly not conventional television news.
    And that’s the second tantalizing aspect of the story. Unreported — and perhaps unknown to the reporter — was that The Times started a subsidiary to produce long-form TV news programming back in the 1990s. For a variety of reasons, it didn’t work out. Its founder, a long-time friend and former PBS colleague, would go on to do quite well sans The Times. You may have heard of a little thing he helped create called NY1?
    And speaking of news, we got some last week from NYFA graduate Karen Hua. She just got her first on-air reporting job:
    Some personal breaking news … In just two weeks, I’ll be starting as an on-air reporter for the NBC station in Bakersfield, California! Thank you to my mentors, teachers, and dearest friends for supporting and encouraging me this past year … ENDLESS thanks, Bill. Can’t say it enough —  literally would not be here without you, or Evgenia!  

    NYFA Broadcast Journalism alum Karen Hua.

    I should point out that Karen is a graduate of our 12-week Evening Broadcast Journalism program. Proof that, if you want to reinvent yourself while working a day job, learning key content creation skills can help you get to where you want to go. (In this case, Bakersfield, California … which I am confident is just the first step up the ladder, and back to NYC!)
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    May 7, 2018 • Academic Programs, Broadcast Journalism • Views: 620

  • Variety’s Best Film Schools 2018, Brazil’s Agency France-Presse, & Shanghai: 1937 With the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    For those of you who live outside the United States, you may have never heard of Variety. It is the Hollywood-based, leading entertainment industry newspaper/magazine in America. And last week it named the New York Film Academy one of the best film schools in the world. When I read the review, I was amazed to see that Broadcast Journalism was one of the departments they singled out for mention. They’ve done the impossible — they’ve rendered me speechless…

    One thing I am never speechless about is the work of our graduates. Yesterday I saw, via LinkedIn, a fabulous story done by NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Suzane de Oliveira. Suzane works for Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Brazil. Here are the credits for the story:

    Entrevista exclusiva da Anitta pra AFP.
    Reportagem: Daniele Belmiro e Cecília Sorgine
    Imagens: Marie Hospital
    Edição de texto e vídeo e narração: Suzane de Oliveira
    We can’t take credit for Suzane’s wonderful writing and narration skills, but she learned how to edit video at NYFA. And this is a very well-cut story. So good, in fact, that AFP posted it online and on social media!
    Now, contrary to what some of you may believe, NYFA grad Gillian Kemmerer does not pay for the frequent mentions she gets in this newsletter — she just keeps accomplishing things! The latest is a scholarship to travel to Moscow for intense Russian language studies, then work there as a correspondent with an international news agency. That means good-bye to Asset-TV and mornings on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. However, if you need help with Russian grammar, Gillian, NYFA instructor Evgenia Vlasova will be happy to help you. (Because “once you are our student, you always are our student.”)
    On a personal note, I’d like to thank all of the current and former students and NYFA colleagues who wished me a happy birthday. (If you are adept at investigative reporting, you can figure out just how many birthdays it has been.) One of the nicest “gifts” I got was a lovely preview of my documentary Shanghai: 1937  by the China Global Television Network (CGTN). A special screening of the program is being arranged to take place in conjunction with the Shanghai International Film Festival in June. Negotiations are also underway for American and international broadcast distribution, along with home video and VOD.

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  • Episodic Instagram, Austin Veterans, Copenhagen TV2, and More From New York Film Academy’s Broadcast Journalism School

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    Digiday posted a fascinating article last week about storytelling in the digital age. The premise was that “publishers” (the online sort) are treating Instagram stories like episodic television. It’s really a brilliant innovation. The way people process information is changing (or should that be “has changed?”). People react less to words and more to images. So how do you take what would otherwise be disjointed arrays of pixels and give them staying power? You tell a story — and episodic television has been telling stories since the dawn of the TV era. By creating basic storylines, that carry over from “episode” to “episode,” you create anticipation, tension, interest and (most importantly) audiences!
    The same is true in nonfiction video too.
    NYFA grad Melissa Aleman is back in the Weekly Update again, this time with Col. Jack Jacobs, the chair of the NYFA Veterans Advancement Program. Melissa was the videographer at a special veterans event that NYFA held in Austin, Texas. It is wonderful to see how Melissa is using the skills she learned as a Broadcast Journalism student not just to build a career, but to “give back” as well. Meanwhile, Col. Jack Jacoba is the heart and soul of our veterans’ activities here at NYFA.
    So how do you produce news stories in the digital era? Well, you can learn a lot from NYFA grad Celina Liv Danielsen. She works in the news department at TV2, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Look carefully at the picture below — Liv is using three microphones. Two are wireless lavalier mics (see the antennae on the back of the camera?), and one is a mini-shotgun mounted on the front of the camera. Just like she learned to do here at NYFA!
    The skills students learn in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program can be used in a number of different ways. Recently I heard from graduate Karina Gaudereto. She is working for a company called SEVEN PR, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She wrote:
    This is a PR Agency for techlology startups, and I am a press agent for some companies in this area … There is one TV production called Floresta Produções which is a joint venture with Sony Entertainment. They make one of the most famous reality shows here like Lady Night at Multishow, and also UFC, Shark Tank, and shows like Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. They called out our help because they want to expand their productions for branded content and TV premium. It’s been cool but tough!

    Here is a screen grab from one of Karina’s student projects. I know for a fact she misses New York … if not the winter weather.

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  • Broadcast Journalism Alumni Reporting From CGTN Beijing, CW 33, and More!

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    There is no better source of information regarding trends in American journalism than the Knight Foundation. The foundation is funded by the proceeds of the sale of the national Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, which took place just before the business model for local newspapers collapsed.

    Strictly nonpartisan, and rooted in the realities of journalism today, the foundation just posted a report on the impact of new media on local TV news. The summary is well-worth reading, as it explains how local TV news has — so far — avoided the dramatic decline in viewership seen by network news programs. It also exams the strategies stations are using to become cross-platform distributors of news.

    Ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China have meant some very long days for NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Grace Shao. Here is her summary of one of those days, reporting for CGTN from Beijing:
    What a day! Woke up at 0500 to the White House’s announcement of a proposed tariff on 100 bln dollars worth of Chinese goods … then proceeded to do a live cross with DC at 0800, 0900, 0930 and live cross with Beijing at 1400 while waiting for the Chinese MFA & MOFCOM’s official response … at 1700 I aired a pkg summarizing the U.S.-China trade tension which was aired again at 1900 … at 2030 MOFCOM held a press briefing and I finally got to wrap up the day with the official response, finishing a final package at 2300….and now sitting on my couch, I’ve never felt more satisfied eating a tub of ice cream!
    Closer to home, alum Melissa Aleman has moved from New York City to the heart of Texas — Dallas, to be precise. And after doing some freelance work, she is about to start working at CW 33.
    I wanted to fill you in on the CW 33 journey. I got the job as AP for NewsFix! I’m very excited for this opportunity. I will be starting April 18! Thank you for everything you and the instructors taught me in NYFA! 
    BTW, you may have seen Melissa’s picture in the current NYFA Viewbook. That’s Melissa on the right … Her classmate with the camera, Lara Gato, is now an Associate Producer at CBS News.
    As for myself, I am just back from Vietnam where I was working on a joint China/Vietnam/U.S. project. It’s something of an understatement to say it was a “challenge” working in three languages, but it was a great experience. I ended up spending a good deal of time in the countryside, including up in the Central Highlands, which saw far too much fighting during what is known there as “The American War.” Da Nang, which used to be more of a small town than a city, has grown exponentially…
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  • Students Fighting Fake News, a Visit From CNBC Correspondent Leslie Picker, Reporting the Austin Bombing, and More From New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    As everyone reading this email already knows, this is a challenging time to be a journalist, especially here in the United States. In fact, some have gone so far as to to term the current style of political discussion here as nothing short of “toxic” to democracy. Marketwatch posted a fascinating story last week on one of the unexpected results of the battle over “fake news”: Journalism schools in the United States have seen a noticeable increase in the number of students attending. This growth in enrollment seems to be driven by a sense of duty, as well as a belief that there are a growing number of career opportunities for those studying journalism.

    Journalism.co.uk is always a good read. Last week they posted an article on how 45 newspaper writers and editors in Slovakia, in response to their paper being taken over by a local oligarch, started their own “paper” … only this publication is primarily digital, but it still has a physical presence. And instead of outsourcing news coverage — as many sites do — they outsourced the business-side of the enterprise. That way they could devote their time to what they know best — journalism. Fascinating story…

    A big thank you to CNBC correspondent Leslie Picker, who was kind enough to take time out her busy schedule to meet with some of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism students. Her detailed description of her own personal career arc taught our students that the process is never easy, but is full of potential. She also told them “the story behind the story” of an award-winning investigation she reported for CNBC. She’s a great role model, and a fabulous communicator. Thanks, Leslie!

    CNBC Correspondent Leslie Picker visits the New York Film Academy.

    NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Nicole Cross admitted mixed feelings last Wednesday, when police in Austin, Texas, apprehended the suspect in a series of bombings. The suspect chose to blow himself up, rather than be captured. Nicole reports for KVUE in Austin, and has been following the story (along with her colleagues) from the start. And while the bombings now appear the be over, the story certainly isn’t…

    Former NYFA student Daniella Gemignani reported a complex story last week on how agriculture represents one-third of Brazil’s GDP. (I know that thanks to Google translate.) It’s the kind of story that isn’t easy to visualize. It also involves figuring out complicated economic, business and technological concepts. And then there are the cows … another great job, Daniella!

    Abiola Jinadu traveled a long way, from Nigeria to New York City, so she could study at NYFA. Smart, inquisitive, hardworking, and personable, she has a lot going for her. She writes, via LinkedIn:

    I create and produce content for a living. Folio Communications PLC was my first client this year and I produce content for their online platform – Miss Nigeria TV. 
    Congratulations, Abiola!
    The Broadcast Journalism Update will be on hiatus of the next two weeks. It is Spring Break at NYFA, and I am using it as an opportunity to travel to Vietnam for a feature film project I am consulting on. It is something of an irony that last week I was shoveling snow, and this week I will be looking for places to cool-off. It is the first U.S.-Vietnam-China co-production I have ever participated in, and it promises to be challenging. Any project involving three languages is, by definition, challenging…
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