VJ and The Election


If the first place new technologies find their ‘home’ is pornography, the second is generally politics. (Not that the two are that closely related).

An article in yesterday’s NY Times brought this point into sharp focus.

The demands of a campaign spread across the country, long hours, lots of primaries and lasting more than a year now has serious financial ramifications.  Between Obama and Hillary alone, more than $100 million will be spent on getting the nomination. Rudy blew through $40 million for no delegates, while Mitt spent nearly $30 million of his own, and another $30 million from donors to withdraw.  This is serious money.

Those costs are reflected in news coverage costs, from CNN to MSNBC to NBC and beyond.  As the campaign that never ends goes on and on, so does the cost of coverage for television news outlets under endless pressure to cut costs – while at the same time having to feed more and more outlets.

It was one thing when CBS News just had to feed Walter or Dan at 7pm. It is quite another when the web requires constant, almost live updates. And the TV news organizations are not alone in this.  As newspapers start to gravitate toward video, they will also find that feed the voracious appetite of the web is a very expensive proposition.

The result has been the arrival of the small-camera equipped Off Air Reporter.

I put this in bold because this is one of those new professions that technology creates.

Mr. Conroy, whose job title is “off-air reporter,” (because he does not normally appear on television) is one of many young journalists hired by the networks to follow the candidates across the country, filing video and blog posts as they go. Originally hired to cut expenses — their cost is a fraction of a full television crew’s — these reporters, also called “embeds,” have produced a staggering amount of content, especially video. And in this election cycle, for the first time, they are able to edit and transmit video on the fly.

Well, there you have it.

Not from me, but from The NY Times.

If you are wondering where the VJ jobs are. Here is one.

Get your applications in.

There will be many more slots opened in the coming months and years.


20 responses to “VJ and The Election

  1. If you are wondering where the VJ jobs are. Here is one…

    …There will be many more slots opened in the coming months and years.

    Hear that? That’s the sound of crickets chirping due to the uneasy silence from the detractors not having some snide adolescent remark regarding this post.

    Let the flaming begin…

  2. speaking of video on the fly…..

    did you see the youtube demonstration of the nokia camera phone going LIVE in the field using QIK software ?


    things are changing much faster than anyone can imagine

  3. Back at the last election there was an article about VJ’s embedded with the campaigners.
    We were treated to Michael in his most rabid “Doomed, inevitable, the end, it’s coming, adapt or die, blah, blah etc.” speech.
    The elections left town and so did the VJ’s. So what does this tell us? There is full employment for VJ’s every four years???

  4. pencilgod – blah blah blah – SSDD from another detractor

  5. No question about it, making even mediocre video takes time and effort. But I find making video to be an enjoyable hobby and more fun that most of what I have to do for paid work. Maybe a few others feel the same way. I think amateurs making video can significantly affect the communications industry and politics. Here’s some reporting on this morning’s primary in Arlington, VA.

  6. Hey Cliff, how come you can’t get hired to do any of these wonderful opportunities that you keep talking about it, after all you told us that you can do it all, how do you call yourself? Jack of all trades……? What are you waiting for man, that’s not the future, that’s happening right now, you should be there, or could it be that you can’t even qualify to get the very lowest of all productions jobs? Let me finish the phrase “…master of none”.

    Looks like you are making a career as the Monday morning quarterback of productions.

  7. So… one VJ from every newspaper, website and tv outlet covering one candidate. Plus TV crews, reporters, producers, the occasional anchor. Plus local and international.

    I thought covering Gary Hart 20 years ago was a cluster F&%@. 😉

    I don’t know if shooting video in these circumstances would be fun. The only thing in the picture…would be other photogs and VJs.

    Too many journalists…. eliminates the journalism. The truth drowns within the sea of cameras. It becomes a charicture of ourselves.

    I have noticed the wall to wall coverage on network news (CNN and FOX primarily) is almost nausiating. They are over doing the election coverage by 300 percent. They should tone down their coverage and make it 1 in every 4 stories.

    There has GOT to be other important news in this world. Sure the elections are important…but why do I need to know why the demographic makeup of Fairfax County in Maryland sways towards Hillary?

    Seriously. That time should be used informing us of more important things…that are happening and affect the majority.

    Micro details that do not affect the majority should be left to websites and trades.

    Back to VJs…..

  8. Hey Cliff, Hear that? That’s the sound of crickets chirping due to the uneasy silence from a total lack of people calling you for work.

  9. That’s downright funny, pencilgod.

  10. Niche reporting.

    It works for niches.

    But it does not work for the masses.

  11. Once again, Cliff jumps on a bandwagon but just can’t get a seat.

    All talk, no work that actually pays him for what he thinks he knows.

    The embeds are no big deal. Low budget cams to catch the slip and fall shot for the internet. Most of their “staggering amount of content” isn’t worth seeing.

    No different than a bank security camera.

    Yep, they’re there but most of the time, like a bank security camera, they don’t produce anything worth seeing and are ignored.

  12. pencilgod , $, et al – LOL – if you have to stoop to such lame adolescent comments – you evidently are needing to compensate for some feeling of inadequacy.

    Actually I’m quite busy thank you very much.

    Next lame attempt?

  13. yeah, why watch election coverage (or bank cams) when you can spend time watching $ as he does the weekend newscasts at a fox affiliate somewhere in the midwest?


  14. One thing is always for sure with you Cliff.

    You are enjoying your hobby and making a buck some other way besides being a VJ.

  15. Cliff. No puerile stuff here. Just think for a moment. If a guy turned up on your diving forums offering to teach anybody with the money how to free dive with just a mask and a bag of quick drying cement how would you feel? Would you get on board and help them mix the cement around the sucker’s feet? After you watched a few go down never to resurface would you high five the teacher for setting a new depth record?
    Your can do attitude gives you credit but your ignorance of our industry makes it’s very easy for us to make fun of you but no matter how funny it is for us to watch you flounder around… I really don’t want to see you drown.
    Your underwater experience gives you a head start on a specialized niche of filming and you are pissing it away by not learning the basics.
    Good luck to you but find a mentor that is worthy of you adoration.

  16. Stephen
    Here is what really happened.
    You and your pals were the worlds best deep sea divers.
    Except you always dove in those Diver Dan outfits.
    Metal helmets, lead boots, leather hoses to the surface.
    You were REAL divers.
    Then, a guys shows up (maybe with a French accent?) and says, “look, you don’t need all that heavy gear to see the fish down there. Just this air tank and a few hours of lessons and you can join Diver Dan clomping about with his tons of gear. In fact, you can go him one or two better and glid with the fish. Cheap. Simple. Easy to do.”

    Boy oh boy is Diver and and his gang pissed.

    “That isn’t REAL diving” they complain.
    This is…with air hoses… and steel plates… and all this crap. I mean, why else did we buy all this junk?

    I dunno.

    You gotta ask yourself sometime.

    Check your regulators! We’re all going in the water now!

  17. I reported on the campaign embed phenomenon for NPR’s “On The Media” back in 2004, years before YouTube’s popularity and the Macaque episode…


    You’d never believe it from watching TV… But in NH and Iowa, there are real live voters mixed in with all the reporters and photogs, especially in the early days of the primary campaign. The political VJs would do themselves and their viewers a service if they turned their cameras on the voters once in a while.

  18. Its not about the gear, it’s never been about the equipment Michael. It’s about the skills of those using them. You are pushing people into the deep end saying they don’t need to learn to swim just buy a pair of water wings and they will be at the next Olympics in no time.

  19. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  20. Hello !!! 😉
    My name is Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: what was the reasson for you to start this blog?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you!
    Your Piter Kokoniz, from Latvia

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