Editing tips from one of the best

Josh Shea at NPPA workshop, October 2007Digital editing allows you to do amazing things with video, but the 2007 NPPA Editor of the Year urges editors to show restraint. Josh Shea of KCNC-TV in Denver was one of my fellow instructors at this year’s NPPF Airborne TV Seminar in Rochester, N.Y., and Des Moines, Iowa. His advice is simple: keep it simple. Pay attention to screen direction, avoid jump cuts, and don’t worry about developing an editing “style.”

I don’t have a style. Stories have a style…Good stories are not about me or the photographer. They’re about the people in the story.

Shea advocates what he calls “referencing” video, which he calls “the simplest way to make your story better.” What’s he talking about? Listen and learn.

TRT: 5:47

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Content matters most

Kevin Sites in NepalKevin Sites, a pioneer in online solo journalism, says he learned a ton when he covered 20 of the world’s “hot zones” for Yahoo! And one of the biggest lessons came from the story that drew the strongest audience response–a report from Afghanistan that used no video, just still photos and text, because his video camera had been stolen.

The content still has to be there. It doesn’t matter how many gadgets you have. It doesn’t matter, you know, how mobile you are. If you’re not getting a true story, if you’re not capturing the essence of a person’s existence, you’re not going to have people come to the site. The other thing that I learned, I think, that was really important and also a little unsettling is that the delivery system that I was using to tell my stories was also the same system that people could use to respond to me. So they would read a story and either be moved by it or very angry and respond immediately. They didn’t have to pick up the telephone. There was no intermediary. They could respond directly.

Sites told the NewsHour on PBS that he thinks “sojo” reporting is here to stay. Some newsrooms may adopt it to save money, of course, but Sites says he hopes others will do it for the same reasons he did, on the understanding “that it provides mobility, it provides access, and a little bit different kind of a storytelling.”

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The new “News at Seven”

In our textbook, “Advancing the Story: Broadcast Journalism in a Multimedia World,” we describe a virtual newscast being developed by Northwestern University’s InfoLab (www.newsatseven.com). Now, a new customizable version of News at Seven is live on the site, albeit in a Beta launch.

Previously, the site displayed a virtual newscast in which the stories were pre-selected by folks working on News at Seven. In the beta version, you now get to pick what you want to see from a list of content areas, such as U.S. news, entertainment, gadgets, etc.

They’re still working the bugs out, though. For example, I wanted to see a little bit of everything so I selected 7 or 8 categories at once. After 15 minutes of waiting, I gave up on the show ever loading.

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