Pre-production is an essential aspect of Broadcast Journalism. The goal is to be ready for any eventuality, or at least as prepared as available time and your budget allow. BuzzFeed is using Facebook Live to increase its audience reach, and last week it scheduled a live video interview with President Barack Obama. The broadcast networks do this sort of thing all the time. But while Facebook Live had previously been used to stream a wide range of video content, this was something of a first. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out too well.
A still undefined technical “glitch” resulted in the video freezing. A memorable experience, to be sure, but hardly the one that Facebook and BuzzFeed wanted. Despite valiant efforts by the Facebook tech staff, the interview couldn’t be saved. Fortunately, BuzzFeed had a “plan B.” Simultaneously, it was live streaming the interview on YouTube. While the project wasn’t a total loss, it had to be embarrassing for the folks at Facebook. The day was saved by none other than their arch rival Google, the owner of YouTube.
A more successful digital project is Finding America, a collaboration involving 15 public media organizations. It is a brilliant effort to capture diverse aspects of American life. Given that these reports are not limited by available air-time, the producers can explore their subjects in-depth.
It is a wonderful example of how new technologies have transformed both the production and distribution of non-fiction video. Even more important, the series provides genuine insights into contemporary America. It reminds me of a landmark series that was produced at WNET here in New York back when I was a very young producer. Called The Great American Dream rchine, it was the first magazine-style program in U.S. television history. (60 Minutes was the second…)
In alumni news, NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Barbara Makarevich celebrated the second anniversary of her TV talk show in Moscow. Barbara is the producer/host of the broadcast, which airs on Russian public television.
In Brazil, grad Paula Varejao tested out the running track at the site of the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics. Paul noted that her time was considerably slower than the runners who will be competing there in just a few months.
And in one of the most stunning pictures of the past week or any week, NYFA alum Liz Rose has her oxygen mask in place as she continues to explore the ever dangerous Mount Everest. Stay safe, Liz!
Back here is New York, the Fall 2015 1-Year students are now only days away from graduation. Last week, Broadcast Journalism instructor Marta Dhanis arranged for them a tour of the Associated Press headquarters in Manhattan. Besides getting a behind-the-scenes look at how one of the most influential news agencies in the world operates, they were also able to try out some of the Virtual Reality (VR) equipment the AP is now using to cover major stories.
Last Thursday was the final studio session for the Fall 2015 students. And at the end of a long (and productive) studio day, we took a final picture of the some of the instructors, production staff and students.