VJ Stations Here to Stay


It’s over! We win! …..and photo by PF Bentley

When I started the whole VJ thing some 18 years ago, most people thought I was out of my mind.

Technology has caught up with the concept.

And now, so has the industry.

Yesterday, in a panel at the RTNDA before some 200 delegates, the VJ concept finally won approval.

I have been doing this for a long, long time, and I cannot tell you what a sea-change I saw yesterday.

I was on a panel with Travis Fox, videojournalist for The Washington Post; Gary Brown, ND for KGTV in San Diego; and Mike Sechrist, GM for WKRN in Nashville, Tennessee.

After the usual discussion, someone in the audience raised the issue of ‘quality’. “Isn’t it true that this is only to save money and that quality suffers when you do away with 2 man crews?” Chip Mahoney, the moderator, and himself a News Director from Dallas asked Gary Brown to show some of the VJ work. Brown did.

He ran a story. It was a story about a local spelling bee.

It was great, by Kyle Majors. Take a look. It was as good or better than anything most local crews produce. It was funny. Everyone in the room was laughing… except the guy who had asked the initial question.

End of discussion.


The VJ concept had won universal approval.

From then on the questions were, ‘how do we start’?

Yesterday I saw a major turning point in the VJ movement.

And so did Broadcasting and Cable.


6 responses to “VJ Stations Here to Stay

  1. i hope you’ll take a second to read my suggestion over at LR’s “attacking and defending vj’s” (#10)

  2. I’d be interested to know how the stations who are using a VJ format are doing raitings wise both for the news show and online.

  3. Pingback: Jamal Albarghouti Spotlights the Role of Citizen Journalists in VA Tech Massacre | Verge New Media

  4. So because a VJ did a good story on a spelling bee it ended the discussion? A spelling bee and a huge breaking news situation are two completely different situations. There are plenty of cases in local news where VJ’s just don’t work. They simply can’t compete with two-man crews. It’s a horrible idea and the beginning of the end of local news.

  5. Boy, this thing is endless. Once the complaints were that all the VJ pieces were shaky and blue. No, OK, not Shaky and Blue anymore, but they lack any good writing. OK,. so you can have good writing, but, what about ‘breaking news’. Do you need an example to fit each situation? If you can make a clever and compelling piece about a spelling bee how hard is it to point a camera a police tape or a fire and get a sound bit on location, which is pretty much the extent of most ‘breaking news’ coverage? Big story? Send two VJs. Send 4! Its not the ‘end of local news’ it is, in fact, the beginning of real local journalism – imho.

  6. I totally agree with you Michael – The adage of “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” seems appropriate when I hear the lament of the so called “Experts in Video Journalism”.

    Almost seems an elitist statement to imply they are the only ones to can purvey news – and that they know what is best for us as consumers of said news. I myself have all but quit watching TV – and especially the news for this very reason.

    There will always be content that is mediocre and content that is compelling – as you have stated – let the viewing public decide what is important.

    Your site is a breath of fresh air in the otherwise stagnate world of corporate journalism.

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