NYFA Broadcast Journalism Weekly Update Oct. 9

October 9, 2017
BuzzFeed went into the “morning TV” business late last month, and TechCrunch reports that they are already nearing one million “viewers.” But this isn’t a typical TV show. Besides being younger and more stylish than its traditional counterparts, it isn’t on TV. Rather, it is distributed on Twitter. Which is perfect, seeing as its target audience doesn’t watch (or own a) TV. (Do you? The answer is largely age dependent…) The fact it is, Twitter allows audience members to interact with the program on the same screen, avoiding the dreaded “second screen” phenomenon where someone is watching TV and posting on social media simultaneously, obviously not paying attention to the commercials advertisers pay lots of money to run.

Of course, the irony in this is that Twitter still hasn’t found a way to turn a profit…

Speaking of “interactive,” in 2013, the interactive documentary “Hollow” won a Peabody Award for its exploration of West Virginia’s McDowell County, and the hardships and economic contraction the community is facing. Jeff Soyk, an award-winning media artist and Open Documentary Lab fellow at M.I.T., collaborated with Elaine McMillion Sheldon on the documentary, planning the layout and producing the interactive elements. (Read Storybench’s  interview with McMillion Sheldon here.)

Increasingly, non-fiction video (which includes news) is being distributed across multiple platforms. Take a look at how “Hollow” allows people to do more than simply view the project. They can actually become part of it, plus see how their experience compares with other viewers.

Looking for advice on how to be a better journalist? Often someone you work with, a respected teacher, or a mentor can provide useful guidance. Or, you can do like I did many years ago and write the executive producer of a network TV news program and ask him (or her) to take a look at your work. The resulting feedback isn’t always pleasant. In my case, I was told my stories were “workman-like,” but the advice is still valuable. (I realized I had to significantly step-up my game…)

The Columbia Journalism Review has a wonderful posting in which top journalists reveal the best reporting advice they ever got. It’s worth a read, if only to get decades of good advice in 15 minutes…

Looking for advice on how to build a career in TV journalism? You might want to contact NYFA grad Nicole Cross. Nicole was a member of the first NYFA class to graduate when I became Chair of the Broadcast Journalism department four years ago. Last week, I learned that she has joined the news staff of KVUE TV in Austin, Texas.
Nicole is following a traditional career path, as she started at the smallest media market in the United States (#208 – Victoria, Texas); from there it was on to Monroe, Louisiana; then Shreveport, Louisiana; and now Austin, Texas (market #35). She went from a reporter, to a morning anchor, to a midday anchor to an evening anchor. Pretty impressive, especially since Nicole came to NYFA to embark on a total career change…
Congratulations, Nicole! That’s her below, with some of the Associated Press awards she has won.