While most TV news shows are solving their safe reporting problem by having their journalsits report from home, and mostly doing Zoom interviews, the MMJs at Spectrum News 1 have taken a different course.
Because everyone has a smart phone, everyone has all the equipment they need to shoot their own stories, or at least part of them.
I like this idea a lot, and I think it is going to be one of those things that survive the virus. It makes sense and it works.
It also allows the subject of the story to particpate in making the story. This is no bad thing. I call this Hybrid Journalism.
It really drives the democratization of the medium, and it makes Spectrum News 1 viewers feel more like participants in their own stories, than passive observers.
This, after all, is the power behind Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and others - tell your own story.
But how to make this work?
In the news business, we like to think of ourselves as being in the BREAKING NEWS business. After all, pretty much every newscast starts with "Breaking News!" Lester Holt on NBC NIghtly says it every night.
But in the real world, particularly in the world of 24-hour news channels or local news, there just isn't all that much really breaking news - maybe 10% - on a good day.
The vast majority of the stories that we do are features.
And for features, we know, pretty much, what is going to happen
So in the world of Safe VIdeo, it's the job of the MMJ to become both journalist and director.
Storyboard out the piece, as best you can, before you start. What is it going to look like. Then, direct you subject to shoot their part of it, in their home, and give you exaclty what you need. Give them a shot sheet.
I have also created a simple 4-part instructional video for home use.
Check out this piece by Spectrum News 1 LA MMJ Natalie Brunell.
She produced the story from home. The footage was shot by the famkly, under her direction. She conducted the interviews by Skype.
Then she wrote, scripted, tracked and edited the piece at home.
But the viewer has the sense of being WITH the family.