When We Come Back….

brianwilliams-300-05222008

Now this…

Usually, when we teach a class at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism you get a fairly wide range of students.

Yesterday, however, we got two students who were also on the faculty.

One of them, Barbara Raab, took a year’s sabbatical from her full-time job as Senior News Writer and Web Editor for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Now, NBC is a pretty progressive place to allow one of their Senior Writers on Nightly to take off for a year to teach at CUNY. But Raab took advantage of the space in her career to not only teach, but also to learn new skills – thus was she in our class.

We are great believers in get your hands on the tools and go. We have people shoot on their very first day and cut on their second. By the end of the second day, everyone in the class has shot and cut, scripted, tracked and produced a one-minute story.

All on their own.

As the VJ movement gains traction, many stations will be filling their ranks with 22 year olds who grew up with the technology.

That’s great, for the 22 year olds, but not so great for the viewers.

You can teach anyone the requisite skills to shoot and cut broadcast quality work in about a week. (Below you can see what Raab did on the very first day she ever touched a camera and a laptop edit.  It’s a little rough, but for first day, first time, not bad.  She will get better).

What you can’t teach is years of experience as a journalist.

The trick is to find the people with both the journalistic skills and experience, but also the desire to embrace a new way of working.

It’s a killer combination.  And it shows a pretty clear path to where the future lies.

Take a look at this. It’s a little raggedy, and it’s not exactly a breaking-news subject, but it also has many of the hallmarks of NBC Nightly News.  The potential is there.  And this is only after two days.

Pretty good.

Not yet good enough, but pretty good.

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