Georgia Hammond
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  • 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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  • Fair Use, Syria, Music Therapy, and James Blunt: Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    Copyright is an issue that producers come up against again and again. Students often ask me about using clips from well-known films and TV programs, or portions — sometimes very long portions — of popular songs. My response is always the same: Everything is owned by somebody. In fact, usually a number of somebodies…

    In news, we will often acknowledge the source of a few seconds of borrowed video with a “courtesy,” listing the source of the material. Here in the United States, there is a principle called “fair use.” If you do not diminish the ability of the owner of the material to sell it, or use the material as the basis of commentary or for an educational purpose, and you don’t use a lot of it, you are probably OK. Or you’re not. This why TV stations and networks have lawyers. (This legal interpretation applies only in the United States: Every country has its own copyright rules and regulations.)

    A recent court decision involving Fox News further clarifies this issue. A company went into business selling digital “clips” of Fox News programming to subscribers. They termed it “fair use,” claiming they were only redistributing material that has already been distributed freely by the copyright holder. The court said NO, the material belonged to Fox, and distributing it to subscribers without permission from Fox was like selling somebody else’s chicken. (OK … I added the chicken part, but the principle is the same — if you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.)
    There is no “fair use” outside of news. To give you an example, a number of years ago I used a clip from a classic 1930s Hollywood film called The Maltese Falcon. It was part of the tease for the first episode of a PBS documentary mini-series called The Stuff of Dreams. (Extra points if you can name the classic English-language author who originally used that phrase. Answer below…)

    To use the clip, I had to negotiate payments for two actors (both dead), the director (dead), the writer (dead), the composer (dead) and the studio which currently owns the film (not the studio who originally made it). I did all of that before the program was broadcast, because afterwards these folks (or their legal heirs) can ask whatever they want, and you have to pay because you cannot “un-broadcast” the program.
    And the author? William Shakespeare who, as he has been dead for centuries, does not have a lawyer. Plus the filmmakers used it before I did. Of course, they’re all dead.
    I heard from NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Ahlam Tabra via Facebook last week. The TV channel she works with broadcasts from Dubai, and is one of the most reliable sources of information about what is going on inside Syria.
    “Since I have come back from NYFA, I have done a lot at work. Doing a daily talk show is amazing, but it is exhausting. As you said, there is never enough time, budget, or people. We run all day long to do a watchable 52 minutes.”

    Keep up your important work, “Loumi.”
    Also via Facebook, I got to see former NYFA student Georgia Hammond’s latest project, a wonderful short video about how music therapy is part of the treatment program at Sydney Children’s Hospital.

    It’s Music Therapy Week and we can definitely say Sydney Children’s Hospital is a much happier (and louder) place thanks to the amazing work of the Music Therapy Team. In this video Music Therapist Matt shares how music can bring comfort and joy to patients and their families when they need it most.

    And, thanks to Facebook (I see a trend here…), I found out that Brazilian NYFA grad Livia Fernanda recently interviewed British music star James Blunt. She got to use both the interviewing skills she developed at NYFA, and the English she had a chance to practice while she was in New York:

    Momento em que gastei meu inglês. Entrevista com o dono de “You’re beautiful”, James Blunt ?? #jamesblunt #theafterlovetour

     

    I also learned that emojis mean the same things in both Portuguese and English. At last, a true international language…

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  • New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School Weekly Update Dec. 4

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    This week we are going to take a look at what some NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates are doing…
    George Colli at News8 in Connecticut reported a truly frightening story last week about the sale of realistic looking toy guns. Unfortunately, this is the type of story that local news departments end up running all too often. It would be easy for police officers to assume that some of these toys are actual weapons. The results could be tragic.
    Note that this online version of the story, in addition to full motion video, also has links to various digital platforms. Increasingly, news operations are depending on their audience to “share” postings with their friends. That’s because a story shared by a known and trusted source is far more likely to be read than something “pushed” by a news publisher. People are becoming increasingly skeptical of news reporting. But if a story is “endorsed” as it were by a friend, they feel it is much more credible.
    NYFA alumna Viviane Faver was a member of my first class of 1-Year Broadcast Journalism students. And while she loves her home country of Brazil, she was determined to find a place for herself her in New York. Which she certainly has done…
    Part of what she does here is report for various Brazilian publications. The most recent example is a story about women entrepreneurs, which I discovered through Viviane’s Facebook page.
    Nice work, Viviane!
    Staying in Brazil…
    Press IDs are utilitarian, but within the journalism community they also confer status. I will never forget when I got my first NYPD Working Press card — the one that said I could cross fire lines. (That card is buried in a box, somewhere in my attic. One of my Emmy Awards is somewhere up there too.) All of which is to say “congratulations” to NYFA grad Daniel Rebelo Fideli on getting a press ID for the 2017 Brazil Formula One Grand Prix. Daniel is with GloboEsporte.com, and apparently he was very busy over race weekend.
    Georgia Hammond was one of Viviane’s classmates and she, like Daniel, was working recently on a story relating the F1 racing. Only in her case, it is the story about how Guide Dogs Australia is the official charity for the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
    Now, all of my current and former students have heard me talk about “little kids and animals,” and how viewers always respond to both. (Unfortunately, however, neither the animals or the children do what you want them to do when you want them to do it.) Georgia did a puppy story, and by the looks of this video it must have been quite an adventure…
    Finally, it looks to me like NYFA grad Starla Sampaco was “ready for some football” last evening. Starla is working as a Digital Media Intern at KIRO, the CBS TV affiliate station in Seattle, Washington. I don’t know how the home team did, but Starla seems to have everything under control. Here is a wonderful report she did about Filipino Nouvelle Cuisine back when she was a Broadcast Journalism student here in New York.
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