Priorities for a multiplatform reporter

I’m at the end of week 2, and multimedia journalism is slowly seeming less scary. Part of that, of course, could be my unbridled excitement at learning the basics of using a DLSR camera. I was that journalism kid sitting on a bench on the quad on Tuesday taking pictures of the grass.

And at the risk of sounding super nerdy, I kind of loved it. Which leads me to…

Prompt 2: Based what you are learning so far and your own experience as a news consumer, identify what you believe are the three or four most important priorities for a multiplatform reporter and explain why each is important.

Story: At the heart of all journalism is the ability to tell a story. This is no different for text reporters, photojournalists or multiplatform reporters. But because visual journalism (at least for me) isn’t instinctual or natural yet, it would seem to me that being able to find a story that especially lends itself to that medium is important when you lack some of the resources text reporters rely on. I’m a go-to researcher, but research does me little good visually; it can’t tell my story. Prioritizing story is a must for any reporter, but multiplatform reporters especially must have a strong sense of story so they can find the right visual elements to tell it.

Patience: When you are working with a lot of (literally) moving parts, you can’t rush the final product. Being able to make light, subjects, audio, video, etc work together in the right way takes not only an eye for composition, but the patience to let it happen. This is definitely something I will have to work on. It’s easy to get into the habit of churning out notes and taking in information, but combining many elements doesn’t always make that kind of workflow possible. A good multiplatform reporter does work that shows he/she took the time to think out each part and make sure they all marry well together.

Technical skill: Of course, the tools don’t really make the reporter. But when you are working with equipment that demands a certain prowess, you obviously can’t do your job well unless you know what you are doing. I think one of the first ways you can spot bad multiplatform reporting is through easily-fixed tech mistakes. It’s hard to focus on doing good journalism when you are hung up on the specifics of a camera or recorder.

We turn in our first assignment this week, and though it certainly isn’t anything to call home about, I can’t help but be proud when I learn something new.

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