Empower the people

WKRN TV in Nashville is becoming a — maybe the — leader in understanding and exploiting the value of citizens’ media (thanks to good advice from Terry Heaton and Michael Rosenblum). They just held a training session for viewers to shoot news video. Now that’s the ticket: empower the people and everyone will win.

: The Lenslinger, a local TV news cameraman who would be threatened if he weren’t so smart, adds:

Broadcasters and bloggers sharing ideas, stating views and trading tips. Say what you will about WKRN’s other endeavors, any station that opens the doors other emerging media has my respect. Via Terry Heaton, we learn the Nashville station recently held their first ever video training session for area bloggers. Twenty local push-button publishers signed up for the event, which included classroom and field work.

Cool, this breakdown of barrier between town-crier and passersby intrigues me greatly. Many in the camera community shriek at the loss of lenscraft inevitable in this transfer of tools to amateur hands. They have a point, but that ship has sailed. It left port around the time tiny lenses hit the markets, which makes all those dusty old Betamax and VHS Cameras pioneering vessels in a shifting seascape, stalwart galleons tossed about in The Age of Convergence…

Empower the people

Empower the people

: WKRN TV in Nashville is becoming a — maybe the — leader in understanding and exploiting the value of citizens’ media (thanks to good advice from Terry Heaton and Michael Rosenblum). They just held a training session for viewers to shoot news video. Now that’s the ticket: empower the people and everyone will win.

  • thomas

    Will “the people” get union benefits once WKRN uses their video footage instead of their own employees’?

  • bugaboo

    I work at a TV station, and none of our photogs get union benefits because they don’t belong to a union.
    The older (and whiter) guys make an OK living, but most make just a little better than minimum. But not much. Turnover, as you might guess, is pretty high.
    Reporters can make less than 20K but anchors do alright. WX people get the “big bucks” in this market. All are considered “professional” and not subject to overtime.
    Welcome to the joys of “right to work” states…
    Quality is about what you would expect. I for one would welcome a little “civilian” participation.

  • bugaboo

    The real issue with these types of civilian journalists is one of liability. An inexperienced news photog can get a station into a lot of trouble. Especially at scenes where rescue operations are going on.
    A large part of news photographer training is teaching them what they can and can’t get away with at a news scene. And of course there’s the official and unofficial versions of these rules.
    The question is whether or not these video bloggers are free lancers, responsible for their own actions, or are they representatives of the station.
    For years I have advocated that all news room personnel be issued small, cheap DV cameras to keep in their car glove compartments. And to train them on usage and on what their rights and responsibilities are out in the field. But these are still station employees. I’m not really sure how citizens media falls into this picture. Especially if they have received training from a TV station.
    I think its a wonderful idea, and I will be showing the link around, I’m just now sure how it will work out when (not if) there are unhappy events. It would be nice to have thought about these issues ahead of time.

  • mike

    Whoa, slow down. You are reading a lot more into this “class” than was ever intended. We have a vibrant and creative blog community in Nashville. The station is very involved in the local blogosphere. We sponsored the first “official” bloggers meet-up at the station this past February. We hired a blogger, we think the first, to sit in the newsroom and run our blog, nashvilleistalking.com. We are adding reporter and anchor blogs on a regular basis and our sports guys have experimented with podcasting. The video class for bloggers was nothing more than a continuation of us reaching out. It was meant to give them tips on how to get the best shots at family reunions, birthday parties and soccer games as well as whatever interests them visually. No press credentials were issued, no freelance fees discussed. Just a couple of old broadcast pros donating an afternoon of tips and instruction on how to shoot good video to a very eager audience. It was such a success our second class is next month.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Mike: Got it. But if one of those citizens happens to catch the news event with video no one else has and it’s actually good video, you’re going to use it, aren’t you? More news is a good thing.

  • mike

    Yes Jeff, exactly. I’ve had a lot of email since your post taking the station to task for sending “unarmed” cititzen journalists out into the wild. I just wanted to offer some clarity. And I would certainly hope that if these budding videographers see a news event unfolding their lessons would come back to them (wide shot, count to ten, medium shot, count to ten, close-up, count to ten) and they would think to call us first.