Admit it. You’ve seen print reporters or photographers clumsily lugging small digital cameras and tripods, doing the best they can to get their mics on the mic stand at a news conference, and you’ve thought to yourself, “pathetic.” Well. Thing is, they may not have been carrying tripods and light kits for all the years you have, but guess what: doesn’t matter.
Case in point: The Manchester Evening News. The UK paper decided recently to outfit its reporters with the simplest of video equipment: Nokia N95 phones, that can capture video. And the other night, MEN reporter (or, as they call them there, “mojo” for mobile journalist) Nicola Dowling was in the right place at the right time, and used her Nokia to capture some key video: the aftermath of a car crash involving one of Europe’s top “footballers,” Cristiano Ronaldo, who was unhurt.
Dowling’s exclusive stills and video were ultimately picked up by papers like the Sun, but also by TV old schoolers like the BBC and SkyNews. (Not for nothing, but that’s no way to treat a Ferrari.)
Watch the mojo’s video here
Ronaldo Crash/Manchester Evening News
A WGCL/Atlanta crew covering a story on water bills ended up in handcuffs Friday, after an incident at Atlanta City Hall. Reporter Renee Starzyk and Photog Jeff Thorn were handcuffed and held while working their story in the City Hall lobby, an area CBS Atlanta points out is a public place.
The confronting police officer–they were ultimately not booked or charged–grabbed for Thorn’s camera, and when pressed to explain his behavior, told the crew they were guilty of “obstruction,” according to a post on the CBS46 site, where you can watch the crew’s raw video. The vid will almost certainly end up in a proof-of-performance promo for the station’s new branding, “We Ask the Tough Questions.”
UPDATE: 5:08 PM EST: CBS 46ers tell us that WGCL News Director Steve Schwaid–who has a long reputation of being an in-the-field-with-the-troops ND, was out the door and with his crew after the incident, updating his Facebook status later to say he was “back after taking care of his photog and reporter who got arrested.” Gotta love the hands-on service!
Gary Reals took at look at the future and decided he’d had enough. The veteran WUSA/DC reporter, who’s covered stories in Washington and around the world for Channel 9 since 1980, tells the Falls Church News-Press he had no interest in becoming a backpack journalist. “It kind of hastened my decision to leave the news industry, which was the difficult choice I made in October, so the decision to take the buyout was quite easy,” Reals told the paper.
WUSA plans to make all its reporters into one man bands, saving money on field crews and lowering salaries for reporters in the process. Reals, who still considers local TV news a “noble profession,” felt the product and the work had been “a lot less noble in recent years.” He told the News-Press’ Natalie Bedell the decision to go backpack was the final straw. “If you’re involved in the shooting and then subsequently the editing, you can’t be thinking too much about the journalistic aspect of gathering additional information. There’s going to be less substance,” he said.
Read up on Reals’ remarkable career in Bedell’s piece at fcnp.com.