The big news at New York Film Academy (NYFA) last week was the graduation of the Spring 2018 1-year Broadcast Journalism students. That’s them below, with members of the NYFA faculty. Congratulations to Clyde (third from left), Sharath (fourth from left), Idris (fifth from left), Braddany (sixth from left) and Hartnell (eighth from left). (Graduates reading this can identify the other photogenic folks in the picture.)
Afterwards, it was pizza and goodbyes… A bittersweet ending to an eventful nine months.
Before they left, the Spring students had one final surprise. They got the opportunity to work with NYFA camera instructor Daniel Hernandez on a New York Fashion Week shoot. How’s that for a “going away” gift? This is why it is important to study in New York. Opportunities like this just don’t present themselves in Madison, Wisconsin. (I still love you, Madison! I spent two years there. But it’s just not NYC.)
And who should be at the same New York Fashion Week event? NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad, model, and multimedia journalist Amanda Salvato. She posted on Facebook:
“Look who I met in the middle of #NYFA craziness!!! The person who taught me how to use a camera, lights and audio. If I am confident in what I do backstage it is because of all of his patience…”
If you ever wondered what it looks like when a killer storm is about to descend on a community, NYFA grad Marta Dhanis can tell you. A field producer with Fox News Channel, she was dispatched to North Carolina last week to await the arrival of Hurricane Florence. The only way you can accurately report a story is to be on the ground. Hurricane, tornado, and earthquake stories are probably the closest thing to war reporting. Stay safe, Marta…
On a completely different note, GloboNews in Brazil recently sent former Broadcast Journalism student Daniella Gemignani to cover a story on a bicycle. Now, bike riding is not a skill Daniella learned at NYFA. (Well, maybe she rented a bike at the stand across West Street from the school.) Here is how she put it:
“Live on GloboNews for the first time…there were three cameras, five minutes of link and a mad prayer not to hit on the floor. What a delicious challenge! What a wonderful team and how lucky for me to only have wild and generous people around! Ah, and most importantly, it was to call an amazing program that brought a more than necessary subject: bicycles as part of the solution for urban mobility.”
Then there is Genevieve Beyleveld, a grad who uses the skills she learned at NYFA to document what she terms “an absolutely ridiculous life.” As someone else has observed, “she’s one of those people who have turned an incredible gift for gab into a masterful marketing tool…
Her blog reads like a TV sitcom.” In other words, she figured out how to monetize her thoughts (including a new podcast). Now that’s an accomplishment! As Genevieve herself writes:
“What started almost two years ago as a silly idea, turned out to be the biggest challenge of my career. From not earning a cent to finally being able to support myself, is the most surreal feeling.”
She is also South African Foreign Correspondent for See My Africa – a television series which aims to dispel myths about Africa to the rest of the world. Cheers, Genevieve!
So, I am just back from a week in Beijing. It turned out to be very productive, from a number of different perspectives. In my role as Chair of the Broadcast Journalism department, I think it was definitely a success. As usual, I was “multitasking,” with three different projects in play…
It was great to be on the campus of the Beijing Film Academy again. I met with about 60 freshmen, who had just arrived the previous week. It was the first time many of them had heard about the New York Film Academy (NYFA), so I spoke in general terms about the school, its philosophy, facilities, and locations. However, I did play for them videos produced by current and former NYFA Broadcast Journalism students. (That includes Lara Gato’s Resume Reel; a recent “live shot” by Alyssia Taglia; and My NYFA Experience by Sara Quintana.)
The students were a receptive audience, asking lots of good questions. Afterwards, about a dozen of them chatted with me and/or Christina He, of NYFA’s Beijing office. BFA also gave me the opportunity to contemplate what it might be like to win an Oscar…
Later I ran a workshop at the China Film Group. This audience was very different. It was made up of media professionals who wanted to improve and expand their skill set. Surprisingly, a number of them are interested in non-fiction film and video production.
In addition to my standard PPT presentation, we had an extended Q&A session. Frankly, I think it was the high point of the afternoon. The participants had a chance to ask some very specific questions, about both video production as well as NYFA.
None of this would have been possible without Dr. Joy Zhu, NYFA’s Executive Vice President for the China Region, who did all of the preliminary work. And given my extremely limited Mandarin, without Christina I would have been left awkwardly smiling at the front of two very crowded rooms…
As for my production work in Beijing, the schedule was — as usual — hectic. We shot at multiple locations around town, as well as spending a day in the studio. Fortunately I was working with friends, so everything was done amazingly fast. (And since the scene below was a waist shot, no one saw my wrinkled pants. It was one hot, humid day in Beijing…)
Broadcast Journalism Beijing Update
I ended my trip ended being interviewed by a reporter from China Daily. While the focus was onCentury Masters, I talked about my new documentary Shanghai 1937 into the conversation as well. (There is going to be big news about that program very soon…)
Now, all I have to do is get my body back on New York time…
It is no secret that viewership of legacy media — like network TV — is down, while audiences for digital services — like Mic — are skyrocketing. The problem is that digital program producers are still searching for a way to actually make money. At the end of the day, a business has to be just that — a business.
According to Digiday, Mic attracted a huge number of viewers with fast, short-form non-fiction videos. But they didn’t attract enough sponsorship dollars. So Mic is shifting to “long-form” (around 15 minutes) programs that incorporate both studio and field elements. (Their premiere series is called Mic Dispatch.) Sound familiar? It’s a case of “everything old is new again,” as I produced program segments like this for 20 years. Of course, the content here is a lot edgier. Now digital outlets are looking to license content produced by others (why not you?) and many of the deals they are making are for a full year.
Mic publisher Cory Haik says a greater percentage of people are choosing to watch Mic Dispatch beyond the three-second view mark than for the type of short-form news-feed videos his platform used to crank out.
People say that things slow down for the summer. But that doesn’t seem to be true for some NYFA Broadcast Journalism grads, or myself for that matter…
The biggest news of the week is the graduation on Friday of the Summer 8-week workshop. An outstanding class, with people from everywhere. They are inventive, hardworking, collaborative, and talented. We will be hearing more from them…
Friday evening saw NYFA alum Elizabeth Wilson hard at work at NBC Sports, where she works in the marketing department. And she got to spend Sunday there too! It’s a reminder that our profession isn’t a typical 9-5 job…
But, whatever the sacrifices, there are times in which we actually influence history. As regular readers of this Update know, Broadcast Journalism grad Antia Efraim works at Radio Globo in Brazil. The network is doing a series of interviews with presidential candidates, and Anita is right in the middle of it. And she’s not just behind the scenes, but on air as well. And in cyberspace too, as the program is digitally streamed. Which is how I know about it. (And yes, it isn’t summer in Brazil…)
Myself, I am back to Beijing next week. I’m the host of the international version of a CCTV cultural documentary series called Century Masters. Each program tells the story of a 20th century composer, performer, writer, or musician who transformed their field, and in doing so changed China. (This is my second season with the program, which means the first season must have been successful. They don’t bring you back if a series is a flop!)
While I am in Beijing, I will be making two presentations for NYFA. The first will be at the Beijing Film Academy, where NYFA has its China office. (NYFA is the only international school invited to locate on the BFA campus.) I will be speaking to potential students about NYFA, and its various programs. Including, of course, Broadcast Journalism.
I will also be speaking at the China Film Group. It is the largest film distribution company in China, and a major player on the entertainment scene. Part of what I will be discussing is my soon-to-be-broadcast documentary Shanghai 1937: Where World War II Began, which in part mirrors the story told in the Chinese feature film The Flowers of War. (I’ll have some big news for you about my doc in the next Broadcast Journalism Update.) Also on the agenda will be a discussion of post-production in New York. or “every dream has its budget.”
Earlier this month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Chair of Broadcast Journalism Bill Einreinhofer was invited to attend Digital Taipei 2018, a media production forum held in Taiwan. Einreinhofer called it “a wonderful experience.”
In addition to attending Digital Taipei 2018, Einreinhofer was able to visit its associated trade show, which he found to much more gender diverse than similar events. “I was very impressed,” stated Einreinhofer, adding “Unlike many of the conferences I have attended, there were a significant number of women here. (Media isn’t a ‘guy’s club’ anymore!”) The various items on display were as diverse as the crowd, including many cultural takes on mainstream forms of technology and media. This included virtual reality that incorporated Chinese lanterns alongside the high-tech eyewear.
Einreinhofer is an Emmy Award winning producer/director/writer who has developed and produced programming for PBS (PBS NewsHour), ABC (Good Morning America), CBS (60 Minutes), Discovery (Spacewalkers: The Ultimate High-Wire Act) and HBO (Diary of a Red Planet) among many other distinguished credits. He is currently producing the feature film Invisible Love, starring NYFA alum Kazy Tauginas.
Gato and Taglia are just two of the many successful alumni who have graduated from NYFA, one of the country’s top broadcast journalism schools. The core of the NYFA’s Broadcast Journalism program is learning to work both behind and in front of the camera in a location (New York City) that affords aspiring broadcast journalists a huge variety of professional options and challenges students to become resourceful digital reporters who can handle every aspect of covering a story.
In addition to the conference and trade show, the trip allowed Einreinhofer to explore Taipei, a city that combines modern architecture with traditional urban scenes and cultural touchstones.
Einreinhofer made note to give a special thank you to Shawn Tsai, Manager of the Digital Content Industry Promotion Office, who helped organize and coordinate the trip. While we’re glad Einreinhofer got to share his experience and knowhow with Digital Taipei 2018, the New York Film Academy is certainly happy to have him back in New York working closely with the students of our Broadcast Journalism school!
Kazy Tauginas is an artist who wears many hats. He’s an actor, having appeared in television shows such as Sneaky Pete, Blindspot, Person of Interest, Turn, Blue Bloods, and Law & Order: SVU, and blockbuster films including John Wick and The Equalizer 2. He’s also a producer and writer, having worked on an award-winning and very personal short film, Standing Eight.
Tauginas grew up outside of Chicago, and was a restauranteur and Golden Gloves boxer. In 2009, he decided to follow his lifelong passion in writing and acting, and attended the 1-Year Acting for Film Conservatory at the New York Film Academy’s New York City campus. He has been performing steadily since graduating, which isn’t just a testament to his talents. Taguinas is also extremely committed to his art, putting everything he has into every role. “No matter what the project,” he says, “I want to always be the best me I can be.”
Tauginas can currently be seen in theaters with Denzel Washington in the follow-up to The Equalizer, directed by Antoine Fuqua. He recently spoke with the New York Film Academy about his time on set, his award-winning film Standing Eight, and the continuing experiences that make him the storyteller he is today:
Photo Credit: http://kazytauginas.com
New York Film Academy (NYFA): First off, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to New York Film Academy?
Kazy Tauginas (KT): I grew up just outside of Chicago. Attended the University of Delaware for undergrad. After college, I ended up running a 24-hour diner for 4+ years. When my lease was up, and of no fault of my own, I was forced to walk away from the restaurant business. This event brought me to a fork in the road career-wise. I decided to follow my heart and go after my true dream, which was acting and writing. That life-changing decision led me to NYFA, where I graduated from the Acting for Film Conservatory program in August 2009.
NYFA: Why acting? What inspires you most about this craft, and what stories are you most passionate about telling?
KT: I’ve always had an affinity for film since I was a child. I can probably trace back most of my notable childhood events to the films that coincided with them that particular year. I was also an only child, so I had to keep myself entertained. I would create epic adventures for my G.I. Joes. I would run around the backyard pretending I was Indiana Jones. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized I actually enjoyed performing.
Photo Credit: http://kazytauginas.com
What appeals most to me about acting is the ability to step into the shoes of others. Being able to experience different human emotions and walk away (mostly unscathed). I love creating characters. I love being able to surprise people. When I was younger, I always enjoyed a good action movie. But I feel now, as I’ve matured, I prefer films with strong performances — the genre doesn’t matter. If the performances in the films are rooted in truth, I’m entertained. At the end of the day, I just want to be truthful on screen and take people on an emotional ride.
NYFA: You’verecently produced a short film called Standing Eight. Can you talk about this project, and what it took for you to make this film?
KT:Standing Eight is an award-winning dramatic short film about a professional boxer who is forced to retire and contend with his life outside of the ring after being diagnosed with systemic lupus. It’s a story about a man who is trying to face the fact that he’s been beaten by a disease. The conflict only escalates when his former would-be opponent begins trolling him.
This project was a labor of love. Through and through. My inspiration came from my mother, who has been fighting Systemic Lupus Nephritis since before I was born. Lupus affects millions of people around the globe, yet so few people even know what the disease actually does to the body. (It’s an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s own immune system attacks healthy organs and tissues.) Louis Peduto, Brian Kazmarck, and I made a hard commitment to work with each other in a Producer, Director, Writer/Actor capacity. I wrote the first draft of the film at the end of 2014. From that point, we went through multiple drafts of the screenplay, two successful Kickstarter campaigns (one for actual production, one for post-production). Principal, post, festival submissions, and finally an incredibly successful indie festival run. The film was an Official Selection at 28 festivals worldwide. We were nominated for 22 various awards. In the end, we took home 11 different festival awards and 4 Honorable Mentions. I think the film is accomplishing what I originally set out to do, which was raise lupus awareness. Just recently I was contacted by the Lupus Foundation of America, and we’re going to be working together to promote the release of Standing Eight on Amazon.
NYFA: That’s incredible, congratulations. You’re currently co-starring in the Denzel Washington film The Equalizer 2. What was the casting process like for that?
KT: My manager put together a push. Betty Mae Casting agreed to give me an opportunity, which I was and am eternally grateful for. We sent over a self-tape that same night. A week later I was on a plane to Boston. No callback. Straight off tape. I was told they did visit my website. (So, actors: have a website with all your materials readily available. You never know who’s looking.)
NYFA: Any fun stories or lessons learned while on set for The Equalizer 2?
KT: To be honest, the entire shoot was a blast. I was in Boston for almost three months. Shooting the climax was physically challenging, but WORTH EVERY SECOND. I worked incredibly hard with the stunt team to make sure I looked the part. I put in hours of training with the rifle. Huge shoutout to Jeff Dashnaw and Mick Gould. Jeff was the stunt coordinator and put together an incredible team. I’m sure Mick got sick of all my questions at some point, but I’m a perfectionist. I was hellbent on not being the weakest link.
My favorite moment was definitely when I ad-libbed a bunch of lines and Antoine Fuqua absolutely loved it. He jumped out of the van, grabbed my shirt, and said “That’s what I’m talking about!!!” Having a director of that caliber — especially one who I’ve been a fan of for so many years — to give such positive feedback was overwhelming. It was one of those moments in life that just reaffirms that I’m on the right path.
Photo Credit: http://kazytauginas.com
NYFA: How were your experiences different between Standing Eight and The Equalizer 2?
KT: On Equalizer, my only function was to act. So it was relatively simple. Everything was laid out for me and all I had to do was bring my A-game. When you’re an actor, I tend to think of myself as one color on the canvas. When you’re a filmmaker, you’re a painter. On Equalizer I was paint. On Standing Eight, I was more of a painter. Standing Eight was a challenge because I had to wear so many different hats. Luckily, by the time we went to principal photography we had ironed out most of the producing and writing kinks, and I was able to concentrate on my performance. So my experience on Standing Eight was more complex. But to be honest, they were both incredibly rewarding, just on different levels.
NYFA: Was there anything your experiences on Standing Eight and The Equalizer 2 had in common?
KT: Absolutely. My commitment. Whenever I put my name on anything, I put my heart and soul into it. As an actor, Equalizer was the opportunity of a lifetime and I treated it as such. I felt exactly the same on Standing Eight. I wanted my painting to be perfect. No matter what the project, I want to always be the best me I can be.
Photo Credit: Sony
NYFA: What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work on either Standing Eight or The Equalizer 2?
KT: What didn’t I use? Everything you learn in acting school becomes applicable at different points in your career.
NYFA: You’re currently working on the film Invisible Love, produced by NYFA Chair of Broadcast Journalism and Emmy Award-winning Bill Einreinhofer. What was the casting process for Invisible Love?
KT: [Former NYFA Chair of Acting for Film] Peter Allen Stone and I are connected on social media and he’s been following my journey since I left school. My understanding is that Bill mentioned something to him about the project he was producing and needing talent. Peter threw my name out there. It just worked out splendidly. I auditioned for them. Apparently, I did well, so the offer came in. I love the character they want me to play. I’m really looking forward to working on it.
NYFA: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
KT:I’m currently working on a huge film for a streaming service with an incredibly talented cast. Unfortunately, that’s all I’m allowed to say. Invisible Love is supposed to go into production in the winter. As far as producing, I’m working on putting together a feature film with very similar elements as Standing Eight. It’s my dream to put lupus into mainstream dialogue so we can actually make finding a cure a reality.
Photo Credit: http://kazytauginas.com
NYFA: Do you have any favorite NYFA moments from your time studying with us?
KT: I have very fond memories of my experiences at NYFA. So I took full advantage of the program while I was there. I think I ended up doing about 50 student films by the time I graduated. I went to every Q&A — got to meet Melissa Leo and Christopher Plummer. I made lifelong friends with some of my classmates and teachers. I really did have wonderful teachers. Lea Brandenburg engrained in my brain that when you’re on camera, you keep it simple. I remember by breakthrough in learning how to cry in Peter Allen Stone’s voice and movement class. Dressing in drag as my activity in Meisner class. I did that because James Price said that “manly men” like me would never do something like drag. Challenge accepted, sir. Bela Grushka was always so encouraging of my work.
Our thesis film, which was directed by Victor Verhaeghe, was something my entire class was so proud of. We worked incredibly hard and made phone calls during our lunch break and sent out postcards to every single agent and manager in NYC to invite them to our screening. I really learned so much from that program. I feel like by the time I graduated, I was a different person.
NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?
KT: Take advantage of everything NYFA has to offer. Go to workshops. Screenings. Talks with industry people. Meet filmmaking students. Meet writing students. Go to class prepared. Study. Shoot. Act. Apply everything you learn while you’re still in school. Find the other people who are as hungry as you are. Let your inhibitions go. LEARN. Be humble. You have to be a sponge to learn. Focus on the task at hand. Become the best you that you can be.
In 2009, I fully committed to being a creative. If I can do it, you can do it.
The New York Film Academy thanks Kazy Tauginas for his generous time and thoughtful responses, and congratulates him on his current success. We look forward to seeing what the future brings for Kazy!
If you are interested in learning Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy, you can find more information on our programs here.
After screening and logging your footage, you have to write a script (which is sometimes a collaborative experience). If you look carefully, that’s Olivia Newton-John on the poster for the movie Grease, peeking through the window … No, she didn’t participate in the script writing.
Once your script is approved (perhaps by instructor Lexi Philips, or maybe all-star teaching assistant Catherine Kobayashi), it’s time to record your voiceover.
But audio tracks do not magically record themselves, so your classmates monitor your delivery of the script and make sure it gets organized into digital files.
Then all you have to do is edit the story … and re-edit the story … and re-edit the story … and re-edit the story, making sure sure you make deadline to submit it. (What could possibly go wrong?)
If you work hard, you’ll have the skills that will make you competitive in an always challenging job market. Traditionally that meant going to a small-market TV station to prove you “got what it takes.” That’s exactly what NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Linda Zhang did. She went to Monterey, California and, as her Reporter Reel demonstrates, she got a chance to “do it all”: live shots, news packages, live inserts from a control room studio. And how well did she do all these things? Obviously very well, as she has been hired as an Associate Producer on the Los Angeles unit of Dateline NBC.
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…
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. Marketwatchposted 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:
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…
As an international correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, Jane Ferguson is always on the go. This month, she found time in her busy schedule to visit New York, so that she could meet with the Broadcast Journalism students at the New York Film Academy.
Based in Beirut, Jane currently covers stories in the Middle East, as well as portions of Africa and South Asia. After screening examples of her work, she explained to the students the “story behind the story” — what it took to first find, then report, shoot and edit these reports.
She also discussed a concern shared by all students: “How do you get your first job?”
One of the highlights of the session was an opportunity for students to talk one-on-one with Jane, where she answered their individual questions as well as helped them practice the essential art of “networking.”
Jane’s visit was one of a series of unique experiences available exclusively to students in NYFA’s 1-Year Broadcast Journalism Conservatory program. In addition to meeting outstanding news reporters, producers and executives, students also get behind-the-scenes tours of NBC News and other major New York City production facilities.
Once again, news programs here in the United States are dominated by reports of a mass shooting. And, once again, news producers have to decide what to report, and how to report it…
As current and former NYFA students have been taught, “the first report is always wrong.” In other words, initial reports are always fragmentary and usually contain a mix of fact, conjecture and misinformation. That means care must be taken in reporting, with accuracy taking precedence over speed. Now, there is a new complicating factor: As social media and cell phones become ubiquitous, it’s not unusual for “real time” information to emerge from crime scenes. Which is exactly what happened last week during the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Students, trapped in classrooms, sent out desperate text messages and videos.
While certainly accurate in that they reflected students’ actual experiences and fears, how much of that information should be allowed on-air? Does information like this help clarify, or just sensationalize, a story? Might it actually aid an active shoot locate potential victims? There are no easy answers. But you can be sure these questions were hotly debated in newsrooms across the country. Journalism isn’t easy. If it was, anyone could do it…
Another reality for contemporary journalists is the amount of blatantly false information that is readily available online. The box office success of the new Disney/Marvel superhero film Black Panther has led internet trolls to claim that at some screenings white moviegoers were beaten up by black audience members. (The reports, of course, are false.) They even included images of “victims.” But few journalists believed there stories, in part because they did Google Images searches of the pictures, and discovered where they had really originated. (One was a picture of the former wife of a recently resigned White House staffer, an apparent victim of domestic abuse.)
It’s our job to always get information from multiple, verified sources, as well as use the power of social media to investigate what appears on social media.
Swedish NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Emilie Olsson has added another job title to her already impressive resume — radio news anchor. Emilie is working in Stockholm, but as I only understand six words of Swedish I can’t tell you what she is actually reporting. One thing I can report is that radio studios sure look a lot nicer today, compared to the studios I worked in back in my radio days.
Congratulations, again, Emilie!
On a personal note, I’m happy to announce that my U.S./China coproduction Shanghai: 1937 will be competing in this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival. It’s a great honor to even be considered, and should help our marketing efforts both at SIFF as well as MIP-TV. The two events will be taking place within days of each other in April, one in China and the other in France.