Friday STN update…

There’s something invigorating about being up early and learning (rather than teaching). I was blown away this morning in a session at STN’s (Student Television Network) confab this am. Dave Wertheimer and Dean Staley kept an audience of students and advisers on the edges of their seats for a full hour as they discoursed on laptop journalists – aka one-man-bands in broadcast jingo. Dave’s on the faculty of the NPPA Workshop and a gentle wonder of a man. Dean’s a former co-worker and they are BOTH VJs. They BOTH play the solo virtuoso…and this morning’s session was loaded memorable advice and quotes.

“The best photographers are the best reporters. The best reporters are the best photographers.”

Dave kept talking about “the other voices in my head.” He says those are the voices that remind to get all of the shots and ask him what he forgot. He also has a virtual toolbox he always has with him that include heart, head, and ears and a lots more. But it was the videos he showed that captivated us and reminded me what great work can be done by a person with a passion for their job. With a simple hand-held, rather than his Beta SX, he shot a short New Years Day video on folks out enjoying the first day of the year that was pure unadulterated joy. Another short breaker on a deer caught in an icy pond and the desperate attempts to rescue it. And many examples of excellent work by broadcast videojournalists from across the country.

Being an old newsie I’m pretty cynical…opening ceremonies and keynote speakers just don’t jump-start me in the morning (usually they’re better as sleeping aides). So I was gonna pass on the opening ceremonies but decided to give them a shot and was glad I stayed. Asides from the high (way TOO high at that hour of the morning) energy of the students, Bob Dotson made this trip worthwhile. Now I’ve known reporters and anchors and have really connected with only a few of them. Many are another breed…professionals with a capital “P.” They’re on the star track or have their noses so deep in the industry that they forget why they’re doing news. Dotson hasn’t forgotten. He’s traveled the globe as an NBC news correspondent and he’s got (opinion) the dream job. Talking with real people. A few quotes that stuck in my brain (and my notebook, which came out REAL quick).

“Not much has changed in storytelling since the cavemen.”

He followed up on that thought by pointing out that the technology to tell the stories changes constantly.

His advice for telling a story has four elements.


A “hey” to get your audience’s attention.


This story is about “you.”


The two or three things about the story that you the reporter has learned that no one else has seen.


Here’s why I did this story.

“If you follow real people and see what they do, you’ll have a real story.”

“Look for the people standing in the shadows because sometimes they have the most fascinating stories.”

Dean Staley and Dotson both told students to include the Internet in their career plans. Dean pointed out that the industry is shifting…Gannett is pushing the one-man-band for it’s broadcast departments. Dotson that with the Internet and affordable cameras/computers everyone can tell a story….but you need to tell a story that can hold the audience so they will return…something worth moving to a venue such as the Internet.

Oh wow…I’m stoked again. Listen up those of you fortunate enough to be part of this – this is the BEST time to be alive and working in news since the printing press…since the early days of radio and television…this is a time of unimaginable CHANGE!!! The wild west lives and the Lone Ranger rides again…but his faithful sidekick is a camera and he’s riding the Internet via a computer.

(by the way thanks to schooltube for letting me use their computers to post this.)

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