Extra: Newspaper VJ Kills Local TV News Crew


The video above was the first news story ever shot by newbie Newark Star Ledger VJ Andre Malok.

Malok had just complete his one-week bootcamp. He had never touched a video camera or an edit system before.

Now, Malok was sent out on this breaking news story, and when he got there, encountered conventional local TV news crews from NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News. All local NY teams. The WNBC crew busted his chops. His ‘toy camera’. His lack of knowledge. His lack of experience. They were the pros! He was from a newspapaer! With a toy camera! And no reporter. Just him. What a joke.

But Malok took it all in stride.

His piece is above. He cut it in 3 hours and it was on the air (or rather, online) on the same day.

Good for you Andre.

First piece ever.

But it is even better, because the piece that WNBC ran on the air is piece of junk!

A Vo/SOT with about 30 seconds of one shot of the bear running down the road.

Ha ha ha!

I can’t post a link to the their bear story, because its not on their website. But for some strange reason, they decided to post some of the ‘professional crew’s’ raw footage.

Here it is:

(I can’t embed this WNBC video, but go click on the link. It’s worth it to see for yourself. Unbelievable)

We report.

You decide.

So far:

Newark Star Ledger VJs – 1

Local TV news crews – 0


13 responses to “Extra: Newspaper VJ Kills Local TV News Crew

  1. Very interesting bear story. However, one difference that jumps out at me after viewing both is that the WNBC junk footage has a pre-roll ad. There is no advertising, except for a spot on the NJ.Com page, with the bear story.

    Better minds than mine can argue how best to advertise with video. Pre-roll, post-roll, mid-roll. I’m sure there are pluses and minuses to each. But no-roll seems to miss a key component of using video to help a newspaper prosper.

    Unless I’m am missing something fundamental, The Star-Ledger appears to be missing the boat on monetizing their great content. Not sure how that will be good for them in the long run.

  2. Bear in mind (so to speak) that NBC has been at this a long time. We only finished the bootcamp on Friday. We are not even up yet. So stand by for the revenue side.

  3. First story?

    Not bad.

    For a story about bears.

    I noticed there was more than one toy camera at that event in the video.

    That kind of event was made for that kind of coverage, but I wouldn’t rush to call it news.

    Just another VJ feature that could run anytime.

    Any day.

  4. “That kind of event was made for that kind of coverage, but I wouldn’t rush to call it news.”

    If there is one thing the internet is teaching everyone in the news business, it isn’t up to us to decide what is news. It is up to the audience. I happen to know that lots of people like cute cuddly bear cub clips.

    I watched the VJ piece. Then I sat through an 11 p.m. local news report. The bear story was no less “important” than several things done by the TV folks. It introduced some people, explained a few things and told a story. That’s more than can be said for the WNBC footage.

    Sure it could run anytime. But when did the competition’s piece run. And who can see it now? I’d love to compare the two, but apparently WNBC doesn’t feel like there is has an audience except on TV in 30 minutes segments.

    Lesson two of the internet age: the audience doesn’t care who you are or what you think is important. Content may be king, but they elect him.

  5. I think it is true to say that some stories lend themselves more to VJing that others.

    But I think the debate should be about the stories we cover rather than about the method we use to cover them.

    Great first effort on the bear story. The journo has already picked up on the value of a strong opening shot.

  6. Paul: “the debate should be about the stories we (choose to) cover”

    Who is “we”?

    When “we” is in fact 1 person shooting for the web then a choice is being made.

    When “we” is a group who need to fill a 30 minute news show on a day with only 10 minutes of news you don’t have a choice you have a compromise.

    Hence the rather gross expression “polishing the turd”.

  7. “1o minutes of news”

    it’s about defining what we class as ‘news’. That’s my point.

  8. tricky one

    guardian.com lists “today’s most read stories” – several times I have clicked on an item from the top of the list to be taken to a story that is 5 or 10 years old.

    If the most popular story on the most popular newspaper website isn’t even new so how can it possibly be news.

  9. I’ll make one analogy…

    On any given night, some obscure rock band…
    Is the best rock band in the world.

    You will find examples of a solo VJ doing a better job than a TV news crew on some stories, in some markets, on some nights. No doubt. And you will also find the opposite.

    Two animals. Both have value if done right in the right circumstance. Both methods should be used. Both will be used.

    I played in the greatest rock band in the world…. one night. That was my opinion. And at midnight, when the guitarist’s amp blew out…. and literally a minute later the cops pounded on the door telling us to shut down the party… we were in fact the best rock band in the world. Epic.

    That certainly did not equate to us getting a tour contract, nor making a living at rock music.

    Even though any rock band can now make their own music videos and put them on YouTube for free and for millions to watch…. doesn’t mean more people should go into the rock business. More people can produce music videos, more do, more have, more will. But the top leaders in the world for concert revenues…. are still the McCartney’s, Pink Floyds, Led Zep, and of course that rock icon Madonna…. (who proves you can have little talent and produce POP…and still make it into the rock and roll hall of fame.)

    The top revenue grossers…. are bands that have proven themselves with qualtity songwriting, performance, talent, etc… And also those who have followings…. consistancy….

    Some niche bands make a living. I won’t see Insane Clown Posse… but some will.

    There are different sized venues. Large venues, and small clubs.

    I see the same types of things in our news and info business.

    The newspaper must perfect their craft, provide great content… and EDIT down their product into digestable …. songs.

    Some songs take half an album. Commercial songs however have to be packaged into short 2:30 songs.

    Most songs get repetitious after 3:00…. unless they really have somewhere to go. That is why newspaper VJs need to learn the art and craft of storytelling and editing efficiently. And why they will need to learn how to package, present and program.

    Symphonic pieces…. can be incredible…. and long. And there is not a big market for them. But some love to create it, and some listen to it.

    Thats a quick response. Now I have to go and spend 8 hours to produce 1:30 news story for the evening newscast. Commercial. Easy. Pop.

    My life is a bit like Frank Zappa covering Madonna songs.

  10. Hey Eb
    check this out:
    These are friends of mine. Think of them as VJs with a garage band. They do all their own vidoe, editing, composing, management, everything, but they are dogged about it and they just got their first album contract! From nothing (trust me).
    Really nothing. And all done online.
    Its a new world.

  11. I will check them out.

    Follow up… While there are individual, creative talents – musicians and video journalists – there are also the companies, newspapers, TV stations, webzines, that hire these individuals.

    Individual bands and VJs certainly can make a name for themselves on their own… get sponsors, get advertisers, get web hits, and make it big. But as soon as they make a name for themselves…. in will come a corporation to pay them double, triple, quadruple, to work for them. Just like in the music business. Creative independent talent often sells out to corporate money. Then they must do what the corporation wants them to do. It becomes about money. It becomes a tight rope.

    In journalism – corporate control has homogenized news. If viewers want quick info bites… they turn on the news. Will TV continue to brand themselves this way? Will newspapers start to produce TV news like programs? Or will they opt to brand them selves as longer form video storytelling? Either way, they need to keep viewers interested. They will develope their own “sound.” And grow their own following. What will TV news do?

    Some styles of music become obsolete.

    In music, some musicians sell out… others refuse and struggle, yet are satisfied. So it will be interesting to see how this psychology – works in the new digital age of journalism.

  12. what a bunch of dinosaurs. They are using regular size guitars and drum kit – like something from the sixties.

    All those sounds can be made on a cell phone that goes in your pocket. Furthermore cell phones are digital – far more reliable. Those guitars are made from daed-trees for goodness sake.

    But oh no these guys are “professionals” they need a truckload of instruments. Cell-phone ring tones aren’t good enough for these self-proclaimed “artists”.

    Gimme a break guys thanks to MR we don’t buy that garbage anymore.

  13. “Malok had just complete his one-week bootcamp. He had never touched a video camera or an edit system before.”

    Any technology that helps disseminate news faster is an improvement in my book. But, in the quest for speed, proper grammar and sentence construction might shoved aside. Print writers always have bested TV writers in the amount and detail of information they present. Compare what you can learn from a 2 minute news package as compared to a newspaper article.

    Still, TV news people do TV better than the current average video website. They are the professionals in their world.

    May print journalism standards and ethics not digress as we place untrained trained individuals in front row positions of video news gathering.

    There are standards of excellence. Let us take the best of both worlds and make convergence excel at reporting truth and understanding.

    Let’s not make convergence an excuse to spread overworked media types even thinner while the fat cats in the executive dining rooms discuss new found alchemy techniques as they pick over their made to order cuisine.

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