Summer Post-Production, Dateline NBC, and NBC News With New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism SchoolIn the previous update, you got to see the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Broadcast Journalism summer students out in the field shooting … but following “production,” there is “post-production.”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.Congratulations, Linda!By the way, Linda joins fellow NYFA grad Sergei Ivonin at NBC. Sergei was a multimedia journalist at Dateline, then moved on to become a producer of long-form and live NBC News programs. His stories run the gamut from confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin, to pop music superstar Ed Sheeran’s admission: “I am insecure.”Fabulous, Sergei!
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…
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
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!
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…
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.
Real Time Social Media Coverage, Fake News, and Stockholm Radio: Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School
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.
As this is the final Weekly Update for 2017, I wanted to tell you about what some of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates have been doing recently…
Celina Liv Danielsen is one of the hardest working people I ever met, and that hard work has apparently paid off. I heard from her last week via Facebook: “I have been working at the Danish television company TV2 for a year now, and I just found out that I’m among (together with a colleague) a nominee for the Best News Story of the Year at the award show ‘TV Prisen 2018.’ I just wanted to thank you and the school for teaching me so much…”
Congratulations, Celina! Not bad for one year on the job…Meanwhile, more recent alum Melissa Aleman is now working on “Somos Texas,” a series that airs on Azteca TV. And her most recent story has a definite holiday theme: “Don’t miss out on the best location to take your selfie this Christmas! Today I’ll be showing you the place that has more than 4 million Christmas lights! Don’t miss a brand new holiday edition of #SomosTexas only on #azteca.”
Want to find out about the plot of the next blockbuster film in the Jurassic Park series, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”? NYFA grad Daniella Gemignani interviewed director A.J Bayona for Globo TV in Brazil.
Bryanna Reynolds recently interviewed international entertainment legend Kylie Minogue at the Melbourne premiere of the “Swinging Safari,” which Bryanna describes as “an Australian comedy.” It’s a coming-of-age film that takes place in the 1970s.When Elina Mukherjee went to Times Square to report a NYFA student project earlier this year, she had no idea it would turn out to be a job interview for TV Asia USA. Someone from the New Jersey-based programming service saw her doing her stand-up, and he was so impressed he offered her a job as a freelance reporter after she graduated. Her first assignment is the Global Healthcare Summit taking place in India. Then she will be reporting stories from Long Island, which is a suburb of New York City. Congratulations, Elina!Finally, on a personal note, it was an amazing year. I never dreamed I’d be asked to participate in the international version of a major CCTV cultural history series … and end up as the host. The six-part documentary series is headed to the MIPTV international TV market in Cannes next April.Have a wonderful holiday, whatever tradition(s) you follow, and I’ll be back next year with more news about the NYFA Broadcast Journalism department.Until then, stay tuned!
Another week, another tragedy that journalists from around the world are sent to cover. This time it is in a small town called Sutherland Springs, Texas. In fact, it isn’t really a town: It is an “unincorporated area” governed by an adjoining community. Once again, it is a case of gun violence. And once again, “the first report was wrong.” But as Gizmodo effectively points out, often these weren’t stories based on fragmentary initial information. No, these were deliberate lies spread to promote somebody’s agenda. Google and Twitter were initially the chief purveyors of these falsehoods.
In the echo chamber of social media, the gunman who systematically killed as many members of a small Christian congregation as he could “was a member of a ‘Pro Bernie Sanders Group,’ a ‘#MUSLIM Convert,’ ‘a radical Alt-left, with potential ties to ANTIFA,’ or named ‘Samir Al-Hajeeda.'” In fact, he was a white guy who had received prison time and a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, after being convicted of domestic violence. The Air Force failed to notify civilian authorities of the conviction, allowing the gunman to legally buy the weapons he used to commit mass murder. How did that information come to light? It was reported by a journalist … a real journalist.
Lauren McGaughy of the “Dallas Morning News” wrote a touching “open letter” to the people of Sutherland Springs, apologizing for the way journalists and “media” had overrun their small community, robbing them of their privacy, and complicating an already tragic situation. There has to be a better way to cover events like this, but I don’t know what it is. (Do you have some ideas?) McGaughy said it all when she told the people of this small Texas town, “You’re more than a hashtag.”You may, or may not, be familiar with Cheddar. They are an upstart financial news service that aims to provide viewers in their 20s and 30s with information attuned to their needs and style. (They bill themselves as the “Leading Post Cable Network.”) It’s very different from CNBC, Fox Business News and Bloomberg TV. And that’s intentional. Personally, I prefer Asset-TV. But I’m prejudiced, because NYFA grad Gillian Kemmerer is an anchor and head of U.S. programming there. However, I do watch CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” where Broadcast Journalism workshop alum Cameron Costa works. (I can’t play favorites, can I?)Digiday reports that Cheddar anticipates revenue of $11 million this year. And a chuck of that will likely find its way into the launch of a general news off-shoot. You can bet that it won’t look like conventional network or cable news fare, as the folks who watch those platforms aren’t Cheddar’s target audience.Public broadcasting outlets are far less flashy, yet as in the classic children’s tale of “The Tortoise and The Hare,” the race doesn’t necessarily go to the fleet of foot. (And if you don’t know one of my favorite childhood stories, you can find it here courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, no less.) Public radio was something of an endangered species, until podcasts came along. That allowed Public radio stations across the United States to get into the content business, where they could “push” programming to subscribers, instead of hoping that the audience would “tune in” to AM or FM broadcasts.Increasingly Public Radio stations are banding together to generate news programming relevant their particular region, instead of relying almost exclusively on programs originating from the East or West coasts. It’s a smart move, as it allows these stations to offer unique programming geared to local interests, and to cut costs through collaboration. And “doing more with less” is pretty much the mantra for most journalism outlets today, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.
NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Yasmine Muffoletto is currently working with French broadcaster M6, which is part of the pan-European RTL network. Last week she reported on the sale of phony college degrees (“faux diplomes”). It seems you no longer have to get a bogus degree from one of those “mail-order” universities. Instead, you can get a forgery of a diploma from an actual school.Earlier in September, the Cox Media Group TV stations across the United States ran a story by NYFA grad George Colli, about how the front lines of a future war could be fought above Earth, not on it. He looked into a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives creating a new military branch called the Space Corps.As many of you know, George comes from the American state of Connecticut, and that is where he started his career. Now another NYFA grad from Connecticut is making her mark there too! Recent grad Alyssa Taglia is in the news, about starting to report the news. She is now at WTNH Channel 8 in her home state of Connecticut, where she will fill-in for traffic anchor Teresa Dufour, who is on maternity leave. She will also be working as a multimedia journalist (MMJ), just what she studied at NYFA.That’s Alsyssa, on the right, with morning co-anchor Laura Hutchinson, and below that with the “Good Morning Connecticut” team. Congratulations, Alyssa!Brazilian NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Paula Varejao continues her world travels, this time stopping in Indonesia for her digital series “Coffee Time,” an exploration of world coffee culture. Where better to go for a cup of “java” (American slang for coffee) than the island from which that name derived, Java? From there, she want on to Bali. Tough job, Paula…Staying in Brazil, I heard from Broadcast Journalism grad Livia Fernanda:Hello Bill, I’m working at a radio broadcaster called Antena 1, based in São Paulo. I’ll produce content for their YouTube channel, website and social media. I’m filming, editing and presenting. This job reminds me so much what I learned at NYFA! My boss watched the videos I produced in New York and said “It’s a girl who does everything by herself.” I also hope to become a radio presenter soon, new challenges are coming … Thanks for all!Finally, to all our former, current and prospective students, it’s autumn at NYFA’s New York campus, and this is the view…
There are certain themes that I return to again and again. One of them — which current and former students will quickly recognize — is “I have seen the future, and it is on the phone.” Mobile phone, that is. The latest evidence comes from the BBC, as it prioritizes full motion video in its news app. Studies have shown that post engagement soars when you include video. This is a great time to be studying Broadcast Journalism, as we specialize in creating short-form, non-fiction video. You can’t find a more relevant course of study. Not so long ago, the BBC redesigned all of its websites in order to optimize them for mobile.
And speaking of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism course of study, a skill we put a great deal of emphasis on is the ability to conduct effective interviews. Getting the right “sound bite” takes one approach, while asking someone to speak directly “from the heart” is something else entirely. One of my favorite interviewers is Audie Cornish, who is an anchor/correspondent for NPR. (Formerly National Public Radio, but they changed their name to simply NPR so they didn’t seem wedded to a dinosaur technology. Personally, I love radio. But that’s another story…)
The Columbia Journalism Review is doing a series on interviewing, and the most recent edition features Audie Cornish. (I’ll have more to say about Columbia University a little later.)Being a journalist isn’t easy. But some of the people who practice our craft are literally risking their lives to deliver the news. Wired posted an article about a journalist who is “defying ISIS one video at a time.” It is a tremendous read. Yes, it is an old-fashioned “article.” But don’t let that put you off. There are important themes discussed here. And while most of us never have to make the sacrifices that the journalist being profiled regularly endures, inevitably during the course of your career you will be asked to make difficult decisions. The question is: What will you do?So perhaps you were watching the National Geographic cable channel last night. The evening was called “Earth Live,” and it was a real-time, worldwide exploration of the planet’s wildlife. Absolutely amazing! Equally amazing, there were about 50 music segments in this “live” program, all of which were skillfully integrated by NYFA’s own Joel Spector. Joel is the audio wiz behind NYFA News, and he has been with the program since it started. We are incredibly lucky to have Joel, and he asked me to pass along a message to our current students: “Don’t over-modulate your audio! You can’t fix that in post-production!”
OK … He really didn’t ask me to say that. But if he did request me to say something, it would likely be somewhat similar. Our graduates can attest to that.Arrivals and departures are an essential aspect of our craft, and this week I announce the departure of our personal journalism instructor, Thor Neureiter. Thor worked with the Fall 2016 1-year students along with the Spring 2017 1-year class, and he did an outstanding job. How “outstanding”? So outstanding that he has been hired by Columbia University to direct their Video Journalism program. It is a great opportunity for Thor, though we will miss him. (And I still think, if you want to become a multimedia journalist, NYFA is the place to go.)
That’s Thor below, with a fellow attendee at the (non-alcoholic) “toast” following the graduation of the Fall 2016 1-year Broadcast Journalism students. And its a good thing that glass is filled with seltzer, as some of the other attendees were a bit on the young side. (Look carefully…)Good luck, Thor…Meanwhile, NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Christian Good continues his “world video tour,” this time shooting in Reykjavik, Iceland. And once again, he faces the difficult task of figuring out how to say “Good Morning” to the locals. “Góðan daginn, or something,” he writes.
Here in New York, we’re in the middle of an extended Independence Day holiday. However, given that many of you reading this aren’t in New York (or even the United States), here is the latest edition of the Weekly Update. (And for those of you just getting to work after a long weekend, “Happy Wednesday.”)
Google, which wants to challenge Facebook as the “go to” source for digital news has taken another step to insure what it promotes as “news” actually is “news.” They undertook a major redesign of the Google News site, which not only streamlined the look (so it works better on mobile devices) but also gives more prominence to fact-checking. In part, they are looking to crowd-source accuracy as well as clearly identify the publishers behind the information you are seeing.
(I’m old-fashioned, in that I think actual people have better editorial judgement than algorithms. Then again, I subscribe to not one but two newspapers.)
BTW, did you ever notice how this Weekly Update has lots of “where space?” Better for mobile…
These days, the term Broadcast Journalism encompasses a wide range of platforms including legacy (“linear”) media along with an ever-growing array of digital outlets. It’s easy to forget that the first examples of Broadcast Journalism were found on radio, and that radio (now reborn thanks to podcasts) continues to be a great source of engaging content.
One of my favorites is Studio 360, which for years was based at public radio station WNYC here in New York. WNYC is shifting its emphasis to in-house productions, so the producers of Studio 360 went looking for a new partner. They found it in the on-line journal Slate. Part of what makes this relationship so interesting is that it brings together two of the older outlets of “new journalism.” Both have been around for more than a decade, which is a considerable achievement in an era when some platforms struggle to survive a few months, then succumb to a sea of “red ink.” (In bookkeeping, losses are written in red, profits in black.) You need more than compelling content succeed. You have to figure out a way to monetize your concept.
Those of you who have already attended NYFA know that one of the things we discuss is the transition from “broadcasting” to “narrowcasting,” as media platforms seek to reach niche audiences. Digiday had a nice posting on how Atlantic Media’s CityLab is looking to turn a profit reaching those involved in urban policymaking and development. One of the great secrets in our craft is how there is always a need for talented multimedia journalists in organizations that reach audiences most of us never realized existed.
For many years, my production company created news packages and mini-documentaries for an in-house news program produced by Johnson & Johnson, the global pharmaceutical and consumer products company. In fact, it was thanks to J&J that I traveled across China, setting the stage for my many documentary projects there. One of my favorite projects, Sichuan Stories, took me to rural Sichuan province to report on recovery efforts following a devastating earthquake.
Last week Spring 1-Year students Yvonne Camara and Odera Okapu made their debut as co-anchors of the latest edition of NYFA News. And while we don’t do the program with smoke and mirrors, we do use a green screen effect. Yvonne is from France, while Odera is from New York by way of Nigeria. The show’s producer is from Croatia. Talk about a global production staff!
Our graduates are working around the world too. Recently short-term workshop graduate Alexandra Vidal was covering a Joaquin Sabina concert at the WiZink Center in Madrid. It looks like she was having fun. (Plus, if you are with “the media,” you get to go to concerts for free. Yes, you have to produce a story, but I can think of worse places to work…
Meanwhile, in Italy, NYFA grad Giordano Locchi told me he is now working at Adnkronos, a national news agency based in Rome. (He promised to send me some of his stories.) And while is certainly doing well, he adds “…I really miss New York.”