Editor’s note: The orientation and multimedia training program for the Summer 2019 class of Chips Quinn Scholars was held at the John Seigenthaler Center in Nashville, Tenn., May 13-19. As part of their training, students blogged about the conference and aspects of journalism.
2019 Blog 3
What suggestion or piece of advice have you heard that will help you to improve a specific print story, photo, video, audio or interpersonal skill?
The advice that will help me the most was Freedom Forum Institute fellow Colleen Fitzpatrick’s presentation on organizing material for a story. To be specific, repetition of words.
A piece of advice that’s stuck with me the most this week has been digital journalist and CQS coach Emma Carew Grovum’s suggestion to take a breath when situations get tense and then resume whatever you’re doing.
The best advice I got was to be more human when working as a reporter, which came from digital journalist and CQS coach Emma Carew Grovum during a conversation about how to balance personal opinion in reporting. Her advice on compartmentalizing and just being a professional in general provided clarification for me.
The session on the #MeToo movement was informative and taught me many interpersonal skills and policies I wasn’t aware of. I will always ask about policies and the do’s and dont’s in my future workplaces.
A piece of advice that will help me improve my skills is the concept of video sequencing – putting together several shots that work together to show an action unfolding – when shooting b-roll. Understanding sequencing will help me share people’s stories in a way that’s easier for my viewers to follow.
Being new to video journalism, I have enjoyed the practical lessons from our instructors. In particular, I thought media strategist Val Hoeppner’s advice about minimal video shooting was helpful, since it showed that there are many strategies for developing a video reporting workflow. I also appreciate Montana Media Lab Director Anne Bailey’s advice about structuring project files – basic, but designed to build good habits. Emulating best practices from day one when entering a new field is crucial.
When reporting for video, the idea that we need to capture only five to seven scenes with several shots for each scene changed how I thought about filming. I hadn’t realized how few scenes we actually need to capture in order to create a complete, coherent video. It will make editing video easier, and I’ll use it in my future video reporting.
The workshop by Freedom Forum Institute fellow Colleen Fitzpatrick on transitions and keeping your writing fluid was big for me. I mainly report and write stories, and having a clear and concise focus is important to adequately tell the full meaning of a story. I hope to implement some of her points in my writing.
I would advise anyone to think of videos more like written stories. After receiving that advice, I saw how important it is to listen to the audio of the video – it truly makes all the difference in the quality of the piece. Also, taking the time to plan your video sequences before going out to shoot makes for a smoother process.
I learned a lot about paying close attention to audio this week. I thought I was well informed about audio, but I learned how many elements go into maintaining good audio within a video. I am now better equipped for my next video project.
Digital journalist Emma Carew Grovum showed us a few ways social media can strengthen our story ideas. I want to use Reddit to find a story this summer and try using the If This, Then That application to become a more efficient reporter.
When you’re out shooting, remember to film more b-roll than you expect to use because it is better to be safe than sorry when choosing clips during the editing process. Before you arrive at the scene, think of five to seven sequences you can film to help organize your thoughts and storyline. Most important, check all equipment before leaving to ensure you have everything you need.
“You need to advocate for yourself,” Colleen Fitzpatrick, Freedom Forum Institute fellow, said. As interns, we’re sometimes intimidated by the rest of the newsroom and it stops us from getting the most out of our programs. This week helped me gain the confidence to make sure that doesn’t happen this summer.
A suggestion that will help me in my career involves knowing what to do if I’m harassed online. Sometimes the stories we journalists cover can cause someone to lash out and harass us in different ways. I will make sure to reach out to mentors, editors, friends or Chipsters for help in this situation.
The best suggestion I have heard is that there are ways to work more efficiently as a multimedia journalist. Whether it’s being more concise with words or more knowledgeable about application commands and technology, journalists need to be efficient with their time and content.
A piece of advice I heard from fellow Chipsters Héctor Arzate and Nirmal Mulaikal in talking with them is simply to keep doing what we’ve done that got us to this point. I agree; we just need to do it at a higher intensity to achieve our goals.
Some of the advice that’s stuck with me came from digital journalist and media strategist Val Hoeppner. In talking about good video technique, Hoeppner reminded us to sequence, sequence, sequence and to get creative with tight, medium and wide shots. Shooting live and in the field can get hectic, but these tips were helpful when thinking about what kind of shots to take.
During the storytelling session, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Freedom Forum Institute fellow, spoke to us about how to talk to our editor about pitching stories during our internships. I know I can grow in the area of assertiveness, so it was influential for me to hear her explain that if your story ideas are not getting rejected, you’re not pitching enough. Colleen framed this in a way that seems possible for me, saying that if you ask for feedback after every rejection, growth is inevitable.
Media strategist Val Hoeppner also said something that I needed to hear, not just in terms of journalism but also in terms of life: “If you are trying to do everything, you are doing nothing well.”
I learned during a group talk about what we can and can’t do when producing digital content. Media strategist and multimedia instructor Val Hoppener summed it up: “We have to sometimes set a frame up and just let the action happen, but we can help move the track that narrates the video along with simple fixes such as asking questions that are pointed enough to make the narration make sense.” That insight helped me get a better idea of how to make a video package. Also, I realized that sometimes you may not get the shot you envisioned, especially with live events.
One of my biggest takeaways was learning the technique of video sequencing, which enhances viewers’ understanding of the processes at the center of the story. Sequencing advances the narrative smoothly and elevates the level of storytelling. I will be integrating the technique in my future multimedia work.
I liked how media strategist Val Hoeppner, in talking about the concept of video sequencing, emphasized getting close-up shots to help with setting scenes for our transitions. The value of sequencing was evident in the editing of my team’s visual reporting piece – we had a hard time transitioning among scenes. We lacked enough close-ups of the repetitious actions made by our sources, which presented a problem as we edited our piece.
The session media strategist Val Hoeppner gave on shooting video with a mobile phone helped me update my video skills and learn to edit more efficiently. Val said that taking the initiative to help newsrooms become digital-focused is important, and she encouraged us to introduce digital practices in our newsrooms, for both our benefit and the benefit of our media sites.
Media strategist Val Hoeppner spoke about the importance of quality over quantity when filming content. I also learned that interviews don’t have to be long, and that it’s best to ask questions that yield a clear, concise answer. Between these two pieces of advice, editing seems like less of a battle and more of a storytelling technique that I’m excited to explore further this summer.
Not having much video experience before this week, I’ve heard and written down tons of advice that will stick with me. In particular, I’ll remember what not to shoot, courtesy of media strategist Val Hoeppner’s presentation. If you find five to seven scenes or actions that catch your eye, shooting three-shot sequences of all those could be all the video you need to complete a short project.
In the video session on the use of b-roll, media strategist Val Hoeppner suggested shooting a 3-to-1 ratio of tight and medium shots to wide shots. She also recommended finding five to seven scenes or pieces of action and shooting three to five shots of each of those, and nothing else. That way, you won’t spend your entire day sorting through unusable video footage.