Look out for them predators!

A year or two back I started seeing job postings for “predators” for broadcast news shows. Did not have a clue…originally I thought they wanted hungry workers willing to do anything to track down a story.

Now it seems the predator is the employer…hiring producer/editors. Once again merging the jobs of two people into one.

Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah – from the sixties and seventies models of four man crew (producer, camera, reporter, audio) that shrank to three (camera, reporter, engineer) to two (reporter, camera) to one (videojournalist). Strange thing…as the jobs merged, it was always the cameraman who absorbed the work. The end result: one person doing it all. If the fit was good, the job was done with flair. If the fit was wrong, you had a reporter who could barely shoot and edit or a photographer struggling with words and narration.

This new beast on the market takes a producer (writer/researcher/arranger) and merges it with the editor (corrects words/edits tape). Stick them in a feed room and let them loose…they’ll grab stories and blend words and visuals and pop out a polished story.

Um…unless they are clueless about the art of editing. Or (here it is again) struggle with a basic vocabulary and the intricacies of language.

Saw another variation on predator today…producer/shooter/editor. Three-in-one.

While I’ve pushed…and still do push…for the VJ model – knowing all aspects of your profession and aiming for excellence in storytelling, it’s not for everyone. There is a place for it. Wayne Freedman and Stanley Roberts on my half of the coast are good examples. One a reporter turned VJ and the other a broadcast news cameraman turned VJ. They make it work…and partially I suspect because they were exposed for years to excellent examples on the distaff side…and they listened, watched, and learned.

But in the long run, this is all cyclical. Industries and jobs evolve, change. We can’t hold on to the past just because WE like it.

(But I still don’t like that word “predator”…)

Um…I have been corrected and stand humbled. The spelling on that obnoxious word should be P-R-E-D-I-T-O-R. “I” not “A”.

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