Spent all this week working with a major publishing client to convert their very well known print products to video.

Can’t talk about it.

Publisher says so.

Then, got an email from a good friend executive inside a major network. He appended a confidential internal memo about how said network is going to start training more than 100 of their news staff (reporters and producers) to carry small cameras and shoot and cut their own stories. Can’t talk about this one either.

Then had a long conversation with a big stations group about how to implement VJ training. First caveat before we can talk: ‘can’t talk about this to anyone’.


Why all the hush hush?

The change is no longer ‘coming’. It is here.

And people do not like change. It is disruptive. It turns over people’s lives. It often leaves them unemployed.

A skill that once seemed ‘golden’, like being a cameraman at a TV network or being a writer at a newspaper, is suddenly ‘not enough’. Now the cameraman has to be able to shoot, cut and produce a story – or they’re out. The writer has to be able to not only write a story, but also deliver a video piece for online, or they’re out.

This might seem unfair, and perhaps it is, but that is also the way it is.

And the problem, for those of us in our 40s or above, is that while we might feel that this ‘video literacy’ is asking a bit much of us, there is a whole new generation just coming into the marketplace who grew up with camcorders, FCP and uploading to Youtube as second nature. The don’t have to learn a thing and they don’t care that they are asked to crank out the video. In fact, they think its kinda cool.

They demonstrate that producing video is not all that hard, apparently. They do it all day, for fun. They do it on their phones. They cut videos and send them to their friends.

They already have the skill set.

What they don’t have is the journalistic experience.

But that will come in time.

In the meantime, the older set has two options: get trained or get out.

It’s not a pretty picture, frankly. But there it is.

Many years ago, one of the best editors I ever worked with at CBS News, Reuben Chodesh, just could not learn Avid. He was a linear tape editor, and try though he did, class after class, he could not deal with computers. Just could not. And although he was the best editor at CBS (IMHO), when avid came, he went. To law school, at the age of 40.

People who work in the business, whether its local TV stations or newspapers understand what is coming. They understand it better than those who are looking in from the outside. They don’t want it to come. It’s understandable. They will do almost anything they can to prevent it. Who needs this kind of crap mid-career?

But here it is.

“It” has started to arrive.

So it is not surprising to me that when I arrive at a newspaper or a TV network, they ask me to come in the back door. And when we do trainings, it’s off site and a secret.

“The fog comes in on little cat feet…”

But it comes.


3 responses to “Shhhhhh…..

  1. The change is no longer ‘coming’. It is here.

    Shooters like myself are saying “it’s about time” 😉

    In the meantime, the older set has two options: get trained or get out.

    It’s not a pretty picture, frankly. But there it is.

    It doesn’t surprise me that those whom you refer to – the over 40 generation of shooters – are having great difficulty, even unwilling, to accept the massive changes occurring in this area. Many of this generation don’t like change – reminds me of the Dana Carvey Grumpy Old Man skit on SNL “We like things the way they use to be”.

    Then again, there are those who are – like myself – who are compelled to adapt. Sure, I don’thave the so called “Credentials” that I work for CNN or what have you – and to be honest – I don’t care. The detractors sure seem to feel that it’s important – but thats more an ego thing IMO.

    If you can’t get up in the morning and feel the desire to shoot, edit and deliver some kind of content everyday – even if it’s of your cat fluffy (which the younger generation has no problem doing), then maybe it’s time to find another line of work (like court reporting???).

    The quality of online content will get better just by the very nature of those who aspire to become better at their craft. From what I”ve seen, the current crop of tv shooters who profess to being professionals aren’t setting the bar very high in that area – maybe that’s why they feel so vehement about keeping the profession an exclusive club entered into by permission only.

    I’ve said it in the past – adapt or perish – either way, the profession is changing.

  2. Having a profession, Cliff, means someone pays you to work for them.

    At present, having a profession eludes you.

    How are you adapting if you can’t pay your bills?

    Seems to me you are much closer to perish, despite all your empty cheerleading from the unemployed sidelines.

  3. I embrace video whole heartedly…

    Maybe he should use Ulead Video Studio for a start. IMHO, it’s a whole lot easier to use.

    Avid or Premier can come later…

    For now, Ulead does a great job of paying my bills.

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