Friday, March 22, 2013

On-camera tips for print journalists

You've heard the saying, "A face fit for print," right? In other words, the beautiful journalists become TV anchors and the rest of us, well, we hide behind computers in our sweatpants, twitching and scratching, drinking Jack Daniels while smoking cigars and being generally socially awkward. 

Yes, I just described myself on most Friday nights. 

But the line between print and broadcast journalism doesn't exist anymore. And the truth is, a lot of print journos are a great fit for the screen.

Take my colleague, Whitney Bryen. She recently attended a workshop about on-camera reporting, and she has been putting together some great digital broadcast clips. 

Not sure where to start myself (see above description), I decided to tap into Whitney's brilliance for some on-camera tips for print journalists. Here's what she shared (below). 

By Whitney Bryen 

As a newspaper reporter, the bulk of my video work includes holding my iPhone as steady as I can during a live event or while I interview a source and then publishing it to Youtube and sharing it via social media. 

I rarely edit and never end up on camera, but I learned about some of the benefits of including on-camera shots in my videos for the web at a workshop at the Denver Post TV studios. 

Here are the three main tips I took from the class this week. 

1. On-camera shots are great for branding. As a modern-day journalist, I'm always posting my stories online and sharing them on every social media platform I can find to find readers and connect with the community I cover. Putting myself into my story, even just through a short intro or wrap up of a video, could give my stories a face and make me recognizable in the community. Maybe people would even start approaching me with story ideas and feedback. You can also promote your print or online stories and content within the video driving more readers to your work. 

2. I've always thought broadcast was cheesy but it turns out it's just conversational. Instead of trying to write something for video, I learned that just using natural words, phrases and the how-would-you-tell-your-mom rule made the story more interesting and made me a lot more comfortable on camera. Use your own style and tone and the readers will connect with you and your story. 

3. Putting yourself on-camera, in front of a scene gives you credibility in the eyes of the audience. As print reporters, even if we go directly to a scene or even or talk face-to-face with a source, it's hard to convey that to readers. When you're on-camera standing at a location that's relevant to the story, the audience has proof that you were there and trusts that you got the most updated and accurate information straight from the horse's mouth. Since we're already doing this most of the time, what's an extra five minutes at the end of an interview to film a quick intro or conclusion to add to your video to make yourself and your publication seem more credible?

I think experimenting with some on-camera shots is definitely worth spending a little extra time to connect with your audience. 

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