Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Me and Katie Couric ... sort of ...

Other than we both get paid for working on TV, Katie Couric and I don't have much in common .. until now.

Last week, the anchor of the CBS Evening News was in Akron covering one of Joe Biden's campaign stops. During the visit, Couric did what few big time anchors would ever do -- she took a camera into her own hands to get video of the event and conduct interviews.

Across the country, TV news reporters -- including those at Channel 3 and elsewhere -- are learning this same technique known as Backpack Journalism (BPJ) or Multi-Media Journalism (MMJ).

Last month, I attended training along with 39 other Gannett reporters on how to use hand-held video cameras to generate more content for our website and broadcasts. It's the wave of the future. Everyone contributes in every way. Shooting, editing, writing, you-name-it .. as much as is practical.

Now .. I'm not foolish enough to think that Katie is going to be shooting a majority of her own stuff from here forward .. and obviously there was another camera crew with her that shot the video of her with her camera. Still, it's another reminder that our business of TV News is getting smaller and faster .. and those not willing to be multi-purpose risk being shut out.

To see all of Katie's story -- including what she shot herself -- click here. It's very well done .. as the network dedicated more time to Biden's visit to Akron than the local TV stations did.

Years ago .. I was impressed when Ted Koppel shot his own material with Bill Clinton for Nightline. There was only room for one reporter in Clinton's Presidential limo, so Koppel shot it himself.

Anderson Cooper has also been lugging a camera around for quite a while .. especially on his overseas jaunts to the jungles or desert. (photo courtesy: http://www.obliquity65.com/) All of it for additional footage to what his assigned photographer was capturing. I now have the same Sony mini DV camera that Anderson uses, although I'm not quite as good at shooting with it as he is.
Will BPJ/MMJ sustain the test of time? I don't know yet .. but I think it most likely will as our business fights to stay afloat. I know that one month of using the camera and editing with my own material has already made me a better journalist.

As for Katie and me .. well, I doubt she'll want to swap paychecks for a week .. but hey, I'm game if she is!

1 comment:

Ken Okel said...

I remember the days when an anchor touching a camera was thought of as touching a fire. Of course, the weight of the equipment has also gone down considerably since the old 3/4" days.