The Star Ledger is Kicking Ass!!!!

Just came back from an all-day review session at the Star Ledger in Newark.

For the past 2 months, we have been shepherding the 15th largest newspaper in the country into the world of online video, preparing for their Ledger Live debut August 1.

Lemme tell you, I have been doing this for a long time, (too long), and today I saw some outstanding video, for a newspaper… or even a local TV station.

I learned a lot today.

I learned that perhaps the future of video news is in papers, not TV stations.

I mean, for years, local TV news has started the day by reading the local paper and pretty much lifting (I won’t say stealing) the stories that the paper already did the hard work on. Well, now it seems, we’re simply going to remover the middle man.

I’ll have more from the Star Ledger, including two of the best videos I have seen in a long time. So good, in fact, that I am going to use them as ‘sizzle reels’ to pitch series to some networks I am seeing next week. Stand by – as soon as they post them, I will too.

Meanwhile, here’s a peek behind the scenes at the Star Ledger:

19 responses to “The Star Ledger is Kicking Ass!!!!

  1. I watched the Elvis video. Great testimonial to your teaching skills Michael – for a complete neophyte with only a few hours training to produce a video of that quality is very impressive.

    Kudos.

  2. Thanks
    Scott was a staff still photog on the paper, and has a great eye. Wait till you see what’s coming next. The talent there is just enormous.

  3. Great eye??? What was it closed?
    A bunch of fake Elvis’s
    Shot by a fake cameraman.

  4. Oh come on Stephen,
    Is that the only critique you can offer? A “fake” cameraman? What makes him a “fake” cameraman and someone else a “real” one? He shoots a story with a camera. (Of course, he also writes it, reports it, tracks it….oh yeah, and finds it”

    Come on. It’s pretty good stuff.

    I think perhaps you are running out of excuses?

  5. Well, now I have a real name for pencilgod😉

    Michael’s right Stephen – what makes him a fake cameraman? In reality, according to the solovj paradigm shift taking place – he isn’t a cameraman – he’s a self contained video journalist who does more than just put a camera on a tripod or shoulder. and shoots the exterior of a building, interviews someone and then has a hair and teeth stand up to complete the package – that’s SOP for mainstream broadcast TV shooters. Blech😛

    Which phase is denial? We can already see phase two…

  6. Why is he fake? Well a picture is worth a thousand words but Scott is using almost none. I know you like the badly framed up the nose with a wall as a background shots Michael but it’s a waste. It’s a criminal waste. As for the stage stuff, possibly the signal easiest thing a cameraman can shoot and yet he can’t keep any of the Elvi in frame. I know the tripod probably is to light to handle long lens pans but there are techniques a real cameraman can use to get around that.
    I just find it so hard to believe you would put that up as an example of good work?
    If one of my guys came back with that we would be having a chat and some intensive training.

  7. Well Stephen, now we enter into the realm of taste as opposed to skill. I like the extreme close ups, but more than that, I think you’ll have to agree that the stuff from the Star ledger (not even broadcasting yet – still practicing) is as good if not better than most of what I see on local news here.

    What makes this particularly interesting to me is that these are all journalists who know how to find a story…a trait I generally find sadly missing at most local tv news stations where the reporting agenda is driven by press releases, press conferences and the local newspaper.

  8. Some of the Elvis video was shaky and the white Elvis jumpsuits were overexposed, Stop down when shooting people on a stage that are mostly white, and use the zebras. Particularly if they are spotlit. Not too bad, but not network quality yet. When you have a blustery day, you will also need that sturdy tripod, especially if Tigger is around.

  9. I’m not an Elvis fan, yet I enjoyed Scott’s video. I liked listening to and watching the ‘fake Elvis’ perform. The video’s excellent pacing held my interest throughout, and Scott nicely bookended the video with his own narrative. I thought he did a great job (especially since he’s new at it).

    I liked the first person aspect of the iPod video and the fact that he made the effort to be there at 4 a.m. Again, it held my interest to the end.

    I don’t understand what a ‘fake’ cameraperson is. I can understand that someone could be ‘untrained’ or ‘incompetent’, but fake?

    While they’re not perfect, these videos look like the work of a promising visual journalist (as opposed to cameraperson) to me…and the future looks pretty promising for visual journalists who can do it all.

  10. If his work is ‘a question of taste’ or more accurately ‘questionable’ then its hardly ‘kicking ass.’
    Bad local news? Well I don’t see that being just as bad as the worst stuff in the industry is something to aspire to.
    As for content? Elvis impersonators are news!!!
    If a story is a light weight fluff piece like this then it needs even more in the way of good camera skills to carry it.

  11. Wow, “criminal waste”, “fake cameraman”. That’s a little harsh, especially from critics who hide their identity.

    While the “up the nose” angle may not be the way you would want to shoot every video, isn’t the Elvis poster an appropriate background?

    “can’t keep any of the Elvi in frame”. I counted Elvis leaving the frame twice. Once before cutting to an interview and the second time was to end the video. These seemed like smart, conscious decisions, not mistakes.

    When some people in a scene are wearing black, some are wearing red and some are wearing bright white there is no way to properly expose for them all.
    Do your anchors wear white on the set? No, they don’t because it is havoc on the exposure.

    Scott found the story, made the phone calls, conducted the interviews, shot the performance, edited the video and voiced the narration.

    He may be a “fake cameraman” but he is a multi-talented, veteran visual journalist.
    Considering the current realities of the news business, I know which title I would rather have.

  12. John O said:

    Scott found the story, made the phone calls, conducted the interviews, shot the performance, edited the video and voiced the narration.

    He may be a “fake cameraman” but he is a multi-talented, veteran visual journalist.
    Considering the current realities of the news business, I know which title I would rather have.

    Well said John O🙂

  13. Ok. My name is Stephen Press http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2331107/
    I don’t have a webpage of my own at the moment as I’m too busy working to get onto it… stupid I know, have a look at
    http://www.pacific-crews.co.nz/The%20Team/Stephen%20Press
    If you want to learn how to expose shots properly… even stuff with white in it… I’m happy to help.

  14. Stephen is an enormously talented cameraman. Even if we have disagreements, we have to respect his skills. That he is willing to offer advice represents something of substantial value to any new VJ.

  15. Stephen – Thanks for finally setting the story straight about who pencilgod is😉

    BTW – Nice angle using the inline skates (Rollerblades)

  16. Pingback: The Star-Ledger…moving to new media? « The Cranford Pundit.

  17. Pingback: Interview: Robert Snyder, Associate Professor of Journalism at R-N | The Daily Newarker

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