When The Chief Photog Becomes An MMJ

Posted June 09, 2020
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As we start the video storytelling bootcamp for Spectrum News 1 North Carolina (all of them now done virtually on Zoom), we make it a basic rule that EVERYONE has to go through the training.

VJ members will recognize a lot of this - the 5-shot Cut the Carrots; Fluffy The Puppy has been hit by a car and so on.

We are great believers in the uinversality and importance of video literacy for everyone who works in a TV station from the Executive Producers to the researchers.

This even inclued the Chief Photographers.

These are people with many years of experiene as what we used to call 'shooters'. They spent their careers accompaning what we used to call 'reporters' on stories. The reporters, well, repored and the shooters shot all the video.

The general product was, more or less, a movie about what a 'reporter' did for a living. 

This, to our minds, was and is a mistake

Great journalism is about the subject of the story, not the reporter.

Some of the very best journalists we have worked with over the years, and we have been doing this for more than thirty years, have spent the bulk of their careers behind the camera instead of in front of it.

That, to our mind, is where a video journalist belongs anyway.

Mark Barger was and is the Chief Photographer at Spectrum News 1 in North Carolina.

He spent his career shooting video for stories that other people reported.

But in the world of VJs, or MMJs as they call them at Spectrum News 1, everyone is now an MMJ - and everyone shoots with an iPhone.

No more big cameras

No more reporter stand ups

No more reporter on camera bridges

In fact, no more on camera reporters.

So Mark took our 5-day intensive video storytelling bootcam and went out and found, reporterd, shot, edited and voiced his own story - in his own way.

Watch it.

You'll see a great MMJ, a great reporter at work  - in total control of the story from start to finish. 

The thinga about great news photogprahers is that they know how to make a story. They have been making stories their entire lives.

But many are reluctant to step up and take both control and authorship.

They aren't used to thinking of themselves as on air reporters.

But they are.

Listen to his voice.

That's the voice of a professoinal on air TV journalist, who knows what he is doing. 

And always has.


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