Sunday, March 13, 2016

So you Wanna Be A Citizen Journalist? Here are a few tips!

Los Angeles, CA—We are now in a truly multimedia world.  TV and Newspapers are on life support because of declining viewers and readership.  Today’s people want news on their terms, instantly, short, sweet and with compelling video.
People want to see news on the iPhones and IPads.  They want it while they are between tasks. They seek it out while in the grocery checkout line or when waiting at the barber’s office or hair salon.
The opportunities for citizen journalists are starting to surface.  Today the pay may be low but now’s the time to prepare.  You can be creative and lead the pack or be left in the dirt.
You need writing skills.  Hopefully you learned them in school.
Multimedia is the venue.  That means writing, photography, video and video editing.  You must be a master of all media forms.  You also need to learn how to transfer your work to the Internet. 
Most people have some of these skills right now.  The technical aspect has never been easier to learn and the equipment and tools gave never been more affordable.
For starters the iPhone 6 plus is a great platform.  You need a selfie-stick and a good lavalier microphone like the Rode for $80.00.  You can simply obtain the iMovie app for $5.00 and you’re in business.  For the absolute best results, so-called prosumer cameras, wireless microphones and lights are recommended.
For spot news the iPhone is quick and easy. 
If you go to YouTube there are a huge amount of tutorials on every technical aspect of shooting, editing and getting your material posted.
If you get an exclusive story on a hot subject you can be paid a small fortune.  Those opportunities are rare but they do exist. 
The first rule is to always hold your iPhone sideways because that’s the way video monitors and TV screens are positioned.  Vertical cellphone video simply stinks.
When you’re at the scene of news events being shy will destroy your chances of success.  Get up close and into the face of the event.  Ask lots of questions!  For news you need not get anyone to sign a release.  If you’re using the video for a documentary or entertainment by all means a release is a good idea.
Learn how to put voiceovers on your video keeping the natural sound.  Crappy audio makes for unsalable video.  Using a second audio source like a Zoom H4N microphone is always the best failsafe.
Drones are great.  Get it up, get the shots and you may have something exclusive, unique and sensational.  You don’t need to ask permission to fly over property!  That’s First Amendment protected activity.
Libel avoidance is an absolute must.  You better have solid proof before making accusations.  Rather than accuse, it’s better to simply ask the question, did your protagonist do something wrong?  
Be bold, be accurate and get the details.  Understand your subject matter and tell the story.
I have one story below done with just my iPhone in London.  It took me just minutes to put the story together and post it on YouTube.
Below that is an exclusive story I did for WND that uses all the things I talked about.  Here I used some prosumer gear because it was warranted.   

No comments: