NYFA Broadcast Journalism
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!
It is almost graduation day for the Fall 2017 1-year Broadcast Journalism students. Last week, they were in the studio for the final time, recording special material for their resume reels. This week will be consumed by editing, editing, editing, and editing. Graduation is at 10 a.m. on Friday.We use a “green screen effect” to create our “virtual” news set. That means the only things that are “real” are the chairs, desk and (of course) air talent…In the Control Room, and when the show hits “air,” it looks a lot different…Still, there’s nothing quite as nice as an “anchor” close-up…Even a few minutes before going “on set,” students are still rehearsing. In this case, in the hall outside the studio. (And if she wants to delete any part of the script, the waste basket is immediately to her left.)When it all comes together, it is the closest thing to “magic.”
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.
Those of you who have studied in the NYFA Broadcast Journalism program know we believe that journalism is different from most other professions. Journalists have special duties, special responsibilities.
Last week, an Assistant Attorney General in the state of Michigan spoke of the role of journalists in society.“We as a society need investigative journalists more than ever,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis told the judge at the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar, the long-time doctor for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team.
Nassar, 54, admitted sexually assaulting athletes under the guise of medical treatment when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced him Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison in a case involving seven victims, and he faces sentencing next week in a neighboring Michigan county where he abused girls at a gymnastics club. He already had been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography.
The case began with a 2016 Indianapolis Star investigation of how USA Gymnastics handled sexual abuse allegations against coaches. That prompted former gymnast Rachael Denhollander to alert the newspaper to Nassar’s abuse. “After that article, I knew this was the time,” Denhollander told The Associated Press. “This is always what I knew had to be done … (and) I was 100 percent confident there were other victims speaking up and being silenced.”This is why what we do is important.It also points to the crucial role played by the Associated Press. They took a story that was reported by a regional newspaper, and distributed it to newspapers, TV stations, TV networks, cable news outlets, online platforms and radio stations across the United States as well as around the world. News agencies like the AP began in the 19th century, yet they still remain relevant today.Last week I heard from one of our Brazilian graduates Laura Isern, who sent me an email, with an update on her career. Here is what she wrote:Well, last year I was glad to tell you I was about to start working for Globo magazines … I’ve been through several tests and interviews, and surpassed 24 thousand other candidates. Now I’m one of the six journalism interns at Globo. In this internship program we’ll be going through all areas on audiovisual journalism and the skills you taught us will be very helpful! Thanks again for everything.One of six individuals selected out of a total of 24,000 applicants … Now that’s impressive! Congratulations, Laura!Staying with the Brazilian theme, I also heard from Brazilian NYFA alum Amanda Salvato. Amanda is based in New York now, and she is regularly covering New York Fashion Week events.You can see her work on Amazon and AOL.In my memory, though, I still see Amanda at the New York Hilton Hotel on Election Night 2016, reporting on one of the most unexpected U.S. Presidential Election victories in history for our very own “NYFA News.” Great job, Amanda!
This week, 2017 NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate Lara Gato began work as an Associate Producer at CBS News. To add to what is already a proud moment for her alma mater, Gato is being trained by 2015 NYFA Broadcast Journalism grad Nour Idriss.
Lara Gato came to the New York Film Academy from her home in Madrid, Spain, to pursue her dream to become a journalist. Her fantastic work was recently featured on the NYFA Blog as a standout example of a professional reel.
“The reel doesn’t get you the job,” NYFA Chair of Broadcast Journalism Bill Einreinhoffer explained to the NYFA Blog. “The reel gets you the interview which can get you the job. It is the ticket that gets you in the door.”
Nour Idriss, who is training Gato at CBS News, moved to New York City from her home in Aleppo, Syria. It was while still completing her program at NYFA that Nour was encouraged by a NYFA guest speaker to apply for work at CBS News. She used a story she did as a NYFA student to help secure a role. She works both in the production team for “The CBS Evening News Weekend Edition” and as a freelance associate producer for video at CBS.com.
With “The CBS Evening News,” Idriss told the NYFA Blog she produces and edits VO’s, teases, and packages, overseeing headlines and assisting with gathering research and material. On the digital side at CBS.com, she During the uses a suite of software to publish web content.
The New York Film Academy congratulates Lara Gato and Nour Idriss for their success and looks forward to hearing more from them at CBS News.
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…
As much fun as it can be to watch contestants struggle on “American Idol” or “The Voice,” we never want to experience that kind of rejection in our own real-life “auditions” for in the news industry. Broadcast journalists know right off the bat that the most important tool in a job search — besides strong instincts, cutting-edge skills, and hard work — is a persuasive demo reel that demonstrates the outstanding talent and skills you can bring to an organization.
But in a deeply competitive market, what makes a broadcast journalism reel truly fantastic? How can broadcast journalists set themselves apart? At the New York Film Academy, Broadcast Journalism Department Chair Bill Einreinhofer believes in sharing precisely this kind of up-to-date industry insight with his students.
“A great reel looks and sounds distinctive,” he explains. “That separates it from the dozens of other reels someone looking to make a hire has to screen.”
Many have heard the common advice that busy news producers and station directors will probably only spend a few seconds watching your reel and then stop if they’re not hooked. So you put your best material first on the reel to get them to actually watch your, and call you in for an interview … but how do you know what material is your best material? How do you make your reel better? Who should you work with to put the reel together?
Questions like this are important for even experienced journalists to take a moment to consider when putting together their reel. Mr. Einreinhofer took the time to share some examples of great NYFA alumni reels, together with insights about crafting the strongest reels with the NYFA Blog. Check out stellar reel examples from NYFA alumni Lara Gato and Alyssa Cruz, along with Mr. Einreinhofer’s advice on crafting a winning broadcast journalism reel.
NYFA Blog: What separates a great broadcast journalism reel from a decent reel?
BE: A great reel looks and sounds distinctive. That separates it from the dozens of other reels someone looking to make a hire has to screen.
You don’t save your best for the end. Rather, you put it at the very top. Otherwise, whoever is screening the reel will likely never see it. In addition, “one size does not fit all.” Just as you tailor your resume to match a job posting, your reel should reflect the elements and abilities that are mentioned in that posting.
NYFA: Can a student create a great reel on their own, or should they work with others — and who?
BE: It is always a good idea to discuss a reel with your colleagues, friends and (if you have one) your mentor. What might seem clear and easy-to-understand could, in fact, be less than obvious. “Fresh eyes” are always valuable.
NYFA: Why does the reel matter so much for broadcast journalists? What’s its purpose?
BE: The reel doesn’t get you the job. The reel gets you the interview which can get you the job. It is the ticket that gets you in the door.
NYFA: What’s the difference between a student reel and a professional reel? What do industry insiders look for?
BE: For on-air talent, the key is to be authentically yourself. Television is a personality-driven medium, and that continues to hold true even today when many people watch “television” on a variety of mobile devices, but not a television.
The one thing that makes you different from all the other people applying for the job you want if your own uniqueness. Use that to your advantage, so you will stand out from the crowd.
Ready to learn more about crafting an incredible reel and polishing your skills as a broadcast journalist? Apply today for the New York Film Academy’s Broadcast Journalism School.
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.
Last week, the biggest American story was right here in New York City. It was an act of terrorism, and it drew global attention. NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduate George Colli was on-the-scene the following morning, along with Keith Porter, the chief camera operator of WTNH TV. They were here not just to report for their own station in Connecticut, but for the 170 other TV stations owned by the Nexstar Media Group. That’s a lot of TV stations…It was an opportunity to remember the important role that journalists play in society, and our responsibility to provide accurate and timely information, not hyperbole and speculation.There is a saying among journalists: “The first report is always wrong.” That means initial information on a developing story is almost always fragmentary and imprecise. CNN Money pointed out on its Reliable Sources site how that rule applied last week.
Journalists scramble to cover terror attack right in their backyard
The initial reports of an “active shooter” in lower Manhattan were wrong. So were the reports a few minutes later of a “road rage” incident. But unfortunately the reports of multiple fatalities were right. The 3 p.m. hour was consumed by confusing reports of injures along the West Side Highway in NYC. During the 4 p.m. hour, it became clear that the injuries were from a truck attack — and that
it was being investigated as terrorism. In the 5 p.m. hour, officials said eight people were dead in an “act of terror.”Many people were looking to digital sites for information. One prime example is Snap Maps, which provided a graphic depiction of “what” was being reported by users “where,” along with user-generated footage. It captured both the potential, and pitfalls, of crowd-based news gathering. The site pretty well guarantees that images are being posted by real people, but those real people can say some really questionable things. That’s why, in an era of instant-everything, journalists continue to play a critical role.The Pew Research Center is a wonderful source of nonpartisan, data-driven information on a wide range of subjects. One of their areas on emphasis is journalism, and their latest effort looks at how increasingly people who get their news via social media are turning to multiple platforms for information. Traditionally, I’d look at the NBC News site, CNN, MSNBC and Fox to see how a story is being covered … or,sometimes, if it is being covered at all. Now I have to include Facebook and Instagram too.Circling back to CNN, correspondent Brooke Baldwin did a fascinating behind-the-scenes story about her recent visit to the Republic of Korea (aka “South Korea”). Her description of landing on an American aircraft carrier is vivid, as are her portraits of Americans she met there, all living under the very real threat of a nuclear attack. Her story went beyond the usual soundbites and “talking points.” The online headline, however, doesn’t do it justice…Finally, you all know how I love to hear from our graduates. Here is a note I got last week from recent grad Luis Cacio:I’m glad to tell you guys that I get my first job with a Brazilian Soccer team, who has an affiliation in Orlando, Florida. It’s my first filming, editing and animation with Sports, what I wanted when I applied for NYFA! I’m really happy and grateful for the learning that I got with the Program!Thank you so much!You’re welcome, Luis…