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!
Fake News, Twitter Rights, and NBC News: Weekly Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism SchoolHave you ever noticed how “fake news” (false rumors, conjecture, outright lies) seem to spread faster on social media than the truth? It turns out that isn’t a subjective assessment, but an actual fact. The Washington Post reports on a recently conducted survey that charted the speed with which phony stories were disseminated via Twitter, and compared the results with the speed actual stories were passed along. “Fake news” consistently spreads faster. Why? According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is because the “fake news” is more sensational, attracting (and engaging) people who otherwise might ignore it. What does that mean for those of us who report real news? It means we have to work even harder to find story elements that will grab the attention of perennially distracted audiences.
One of the reasons why the New York Film Academy (NYFA) bases its Broadcast Journalism programs in New York is the outsize role the city plays in all aspects of media. Just block from the NYFA campus, an important court case is being heard regarding the nature of social media, in particular Twitter. Present Trump has blocked certain individuals from commenting on his private and public Twitter feeds. One of those banned has taken the president to court, arguing that social media is the 21st century equivalent of the 18th century town square, and preventing anyone from participating violates the Free Speech clause off the U.S. Constitution. This case will likely to go all the way to America’s top court, the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, NBC News marked an anniversary last week, as the NBC Nightly News celebrated its 70th birthday. (The program has had several titles over the years, but has always been NBC’s primetime news broadcast.) As some of you know, the NYFA Broadcast Journalism School began as a partnership with NBC News. It’s a relationship we continue to value.
So, regular readers of the Weekly Update know that this is place where I usually include “alumni news.” Well, this week is no exception. However, the alum being featured is not a former student, but a former faculty member — in fact, the former Chair of the department! Marian Porges helped create the NYFA Broadcast Journalism course-of-study, then she returned to NBC News, where she became Vice President for Standards and Practices. Last week I heard that Marian is being promoted to head that crucial department. (It’s the one that makes sure journalists, like us, have done a thorough job prior to a story hitting air.) Congratulations, Marian!
So, for graduates of the NYFA 1-Year Broadcast Journalism program, these pictures should bring back some memories!
This month, the Fall 2017 1-Year students got an exclusive “behind the scenes” look at NBC News. It was all made possible by NBC News military affairs contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, who is also Chair of the NYFA Veteran’s Advancement program.
While visiting NBC News, the students had the opportunity to meet MSNBC anchor Joy Reid.
Then, they visited the set of her program “AM Joy,” while the show was in progress.
Since prime time anchor Lester Holt was off, the NYFA students decided to help out as “substitute anchors” on the set of the “NBC Nightly News.”
…and made a quick visit to make-up.They even had to chance to visit the set of “Saturday Night Live” during rehearsals. (You can hear the band playing here.)
In fact, they even found out about some of the jokes on that night’s show, 10 hours before air time!
These tours are available only to students in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism 1-Year Conservatory program. This group seems to have had fun…
One topic that goes around-and-around-and-around here in the United States is the toxic relationship between the administration of President Donald Trump and the American news media. I normally don’t include items on this subject, as they would crowd out everything else. But this week I am making an exception…ABC News is launching a new digital program called “Briefing Room.” It is a response to the Trump Administration’s decisions to hold daily audio-only press briefings off-camera, or invitation-only office briefings, or no briefings at all. The show will stream live on ABCNews.com and the ABC News YouTube and Facebook pages. So even when the White House restricts access, or refuses to even hold formal briefings, there will be a “briefing” none-the-less.NBC News is gearing up a new digital daily news program called “Stay Tuned” that will be distributed via Snapchat’s Discover platform. Aimed squarely at folks who get their news on the phone, this four-minute program will air twice a day on weekdays, and once on weekends. Media reports say it will have a staff of 30, which makes it a substantial undertaking.Note that I saw this story on Refinery 29, another example of a platform where all different types of content are gathered. The pop-up ad on the page I grabbed had an ad for Nordstrom, which is an upmarket department store. (It was a fluke … I’m not really all that fashionable.)As my current and former students know, I love a good graphic. So, staying with the theme of digital distribution, Bloomberg has been working to speed up load times for its content. (Because a slow load often translates into a bored viewer leaving a site and looking for something else.) Note the graphic that accompanied an article on the subject in Digiday. Those of you of a certain age will recognize the American cartoon character Wile E. Coyote. Even if you don’t know the cultural context, it is still funny. (Isn’t it?) But if you do know, it says a lot about how even a generally straight-ahead news publisher sometimes decides to have some fun.I got so much feedback from the NYFA Viewbook galley proof I posted last week that I decided it made sense to post another. Current students and alumni will recognize the studio we use to produce “NYFA News.” We employ a green screen effect to insert the co-anchors into a “virtual set'” which is made up of only zeros and ones, but looks like a network control room. The two co-anchors come from Brooklyn and Kunming (China).NYFA grad Daniel Fideli is hard at work back home in Brazil, where he is working with the sports channel SPORTV. (The channel is owned by the Brazilian media giant Globo.) Daniel holds a special place in NYFA broadcast journalism history, thanks to an epic journey he and a classmate took through the New York subway system in order to retrace the footsteps of the heroes of the 1970s cult movie “The Warriors.” (The film takes place in a dystopian New York at some point in the not-so-distant future: 2016.) It was one of the most unique student projects I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of student projects.
Former NYFA student Linda Zhang had the lead story recently on KION News in California. The station broadcasts to two separate cities on two different channels. (Plus cable, of course.) The story is about a seaside community where the beach sand was literally being “mined,” then sold. An agreement has been reached to end the mining, and save the beach.Nice work, Linda. And working “on deadline” too!And we end with a “postcard” from NYFA instructor Zack Baddorf, currently on sabbatical in the Central African Republic. For 90 seconds, join him as he goes “Flying Down the Chinko” in an ultralight aircraft.
With tomorrow’s election coming up, New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism students are getting more than their share of political news experience in the Big Apple.
We start with a spectacular behind-the-scenes tour of NBC News on Saturday. The tour was made possible by MSNBC contributor Col. Jack Jacobs, Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program. A great friend of NYFA, he showed the Fall 2016 1-year students how TV news is produced at a major American television network.
In fact, the Election Night sets were still in the process of being built.
Students got a chance to sit in “the big chair” that will be occupied by top news anchors/presenters tomorrow night.
We also had the opportunity to briefly chat with MSNBC anchor Joy Reid before she was off to the production studio for her Saturday morning broadcast.
This tour is offered exclusively to NYFA 1-year Broadcast Journalism students. It’s one of the things that makes studying journalism at NYFA unique.
Finally, Tuesday night, election night, the Broadcast Journalism program is sending out three camera crews to cover the conclusion of what many are calling the most important election in decades. One NYFA News team will be at Clinton HQ, one will be at Trump HQ, and one will be in Times Square to get public reaction.We believe this is a great learning opportunity, as the students will be covering a “real-world” story that has both national and international ramifications. The night will be unpredictable, and they will have to make editorial decisions on-the-fly. Equally important, they will only get one chance to capture essential footage.
You have probably noticed that, as the holidays approach, many news programs are offering “year in review” stories. There are two reasons for this… First, from a news perspective, things are slow. Even the President of the United States is taking two weeks of vacation. Second, among those also on vacation are a large number of reporters, producers and anchors who normally staff TV news programs. Retrospective stories require little new shooting, and can be done well prior to their air date.
In that great tradition, here is a look back at the year 2015 and what it held for NYFA Broadcast Journalism alumni, as well as our current students.Among the most recent events is NYFA alum George Colli‘s move from NBC-Connecticut to the Washington, DC bureau of Cox Media Group. With 15 stations located across the United States, Cox is a major player in local and regional news. George is going to be in the middle of all the 2016 Presidential year politics. Congratulations, George!Meanwhile, Beytullah Bayar looks great (as usual) on the set of his sports show on the TRT network in Turkey. The network has just gone over to HD, to better feature Beyt’s collection of fine ties. He is also doing a weekly radio sports show.Celine Liv Danielsen was co-host of the “alternative” coverage of Denmark’s recent national elections.While Emilie Olsson is working with TV 4 in Stockholm, Sweden.Andras Takacs was honored, along with his production partner, for their series On The Spot at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival. Andras — who is from Budapest, Hungary — credits the camera, editing and reporting skills he learned at NYFA for the success of the series.Closer to home, Dr. Nicole Cross is now at the ABC affiliate in Monroe, Louisiana. She co-anchors the morning news, and anchors the noon news, for a station that covers portions of three states. And she is all over social media. You go, Nicole!Videographer/editor/producer Liz Rose spent her Summer on the high seas, working with Celebrity Cruise Lines. After a mountain climbing trip with her mother, I understand she will be off to the Rio Olympics next year.And speaking of Brazil, Flavia Renata Perez proves that you don’t always have to “dress up” to have on-camera impact. (Plus she was nice enough to wear a t-shirt honoring one of the rock bands of my teenage years!)Patricia Saad was very au courant as she shot a roof-top stand-up earlier this month. (Proving, just like in New York, “black is the new black” when it comes to fashion.)And Paula Varejao obviously is having no problem getting “air time.”Over at the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street here in Manhattan, Nour Idriss is working on the CBS Evening News. And while she isn’t currently anchoring the show, if I were Scott Pelly I’d be looking over my shoulder…As for our current students, we were able to get an exclusive “behind-the-scenes” tour of NBC News, and spent time on the MSNBC set.A number of students (and super TA Genia Vlasova) also attended a studio session of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. There’s nothing like being in New York…That’s a little bit of what took place this year. We look forward to another strong year from both our Broadcast Journalism students and alumni!
It was a great honor for our Broadcast Journalism school to welcome guest lecturer Bob Dotson, who has over 1,500 news stories under his belt as a correspondent for NBC’s Today Show. The exclusive event was moderated by New York Film Academy Chair of Broadcast Journalism, Bill Einreinhofer.
Dotson has found success in the world of journalism over the past few decades, even as new technologies changed every aspect of how news is reported.
“I try to do stories about seemingly ordinary people, who do something extraordinary,” said Dotson. “The people who are just quietly working behind the celebrity mirror.”
As an eight time Emmy Award winner and New York Times best-selling author, Dotson was able to chronicle his long career as well as discuss the essence of what makes a good story, and how those stories can best be told.
“It’s how you structure your story that’s important,” stressed Dotson. “Whether you know how to write very well or even if you’re still struggling with the visuals or the technical things. And it doesn’t make any difference if it’s going to be a tweet.”
People will come back to you if they like the way its written—they’re looking for the best storytellers.
So what are some tips for improving your storytelling skills? Dotson says,”All good storytelling begins with questions. How you ask questions make your stories deeper.”
Indeed, the value of pre-production is something to keep in mind when preparing a news stories. Those who are well prepared on their subject will have a much easier time of capturing the essence of their piece and the true heart of the story.
We sincerely thank Bob Dotson for taking the time out to provide our young journalists with invaluable advice.
Bob Dotson knows a good story when he hears one. As a correspondent for NBC’s Today show, he filed 1,500 of them for the acclaimed American Stories series. He also found success during one of the most challenging periods of journalism, as new technologies changed every aspect of how news is reported.
Now the eight time Emmy Award winner, and New York Times best-selling author, is coming to the New York Film Academy at 17 Battery Place in New York City. On Friday, November 20 at 10am, he will meet with current, incoming and prospective students to discuss the essence of what makes a good story, and how those stories can best be told.
This Q&A session will be moderated by NYFA Broadcast Journalism Chair Bill Einreinhofer. “The changes taking place in journalism today are as drastic as when television eclipsed radio as the dominant medium. Regardless of the type of program — hard news, entertainment, sports, fashion — digital technology has transformed, and continues to transform, both their content and their structure. Bob Dotson not only kept pace with these changes, he thrived in a rapidly changing media environment.”While the workshop is free, seating is limited. If you are interested in attending, contact Bill Einreinhofer at firstname.lastname@example.org.