The Gross National Debt

Friday, May 23, 2014

The war you NEVER knew existed

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This not a war fought with firearms, knives, clubs or such. It is a war fought with words, vicious, cutting words and actions that can, have and will ruin people and careers. And no, you don't know about it.

You don't know, despite this war being played out in front of you daily. You have seen it, yet not recognized it. You have heard of it, yet not comprehended. You have read it, yet not understood.

This FB page can give you some idea of this war. More specifically a thread - Anyone wanna write “Things Print Journalists Will Never Understand about TV News?” - can really let you look into this one.

Among the more articulate comments is this from
Stephanie Lynn Sirois.

She offers:

Speaking as someone who has a range of experience in print, radio, tv journalism, I made up this list.  Print journalists will never understand; 1) how hard it is to adapt a story to tv 2) the struggle of finding articulate interviews willing to go in front of a camera 3) the struggle of finding a good set of shots for a story that will keep the viewer interested 4) getting shots in winter 5) the tight deadlines for each story 6) how heavy all that camera equipment is that you have to lug everywhere 7) discovering fact errors after deadline and your story is about to air 8) the amount of attitude it takes to do an on camera intro 9) the constant fight with your video editors 10) when something amazing happens that is perfect for the story but you didn't get it recorded.

 Allow me to reply in this forum. Should Ms. Sirios wish a reply here, I will open this space to a guest rebuttal, not just a comment at the end.

1) Could be true. The late Joe Courson neatly explained this to me when I tried to get him to do a piece on the Jail Museum. "I can't interview a building," he said.

2) This is, to my thinking, because articulate people do not trust broadcast journalism. This is better explained in Ms. Sirois's comments later in her comments, especially No. 7. I certainly do not trust most broadcast journalists and I don't trust a lot of print journalists either. I will only appear, under duress at that, on one TV station only if it is a live broadcast. I've been interviewed probably more than 100 times for various broadcast outlets. With the exception of live shows, less than 20 percent of the aired stories were all factually correct and accurate.


3) Welcome to the world of photography. Photos make the story. Good print journalists absolutely understand this.

4) Pass. I don't get this. Living in S. Georgia, I don't experience 15-foot high piles of snow and iced over roads. I do experience 115 degree temperatures more than 1 day a year.

5) Oh, bullshit. Tight deadlines for journalists are universal.

6) Used to be the case. Not so now. Broadcast video gear now weighs less than what a good photographer will carry.

7) Pull. The. Story. No excuses. None. Pull. The. Damned. Story. If your newsroom doesn't have enough evergreen material to fill last minute holes, something is wrong with your newsroom. Pull. The. Story. No. Excuses. Pull. The. Story. Broadcast has no excuses, no valid reason for this.

8) The only place the reporter IS the story on a regular and continuing basis is in broadcast media and Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism work. Spend less time standing in front of the camera explaining and more time letting the newsmakers talk. This is the problem. The "attitude" Ms. Sirios mentions is also part of the problem. Too many broadcasters have it. Plenty of print folks do too, but it is endemic in broadcast. Get. Over. Yourself.


9) Oh cry me a river. Editors (and I am one) are all the same everywhere. I've had editors butcher my stories and, I am ashamed to say, I've done the same to a few writers.

10) Oh please. The same thing happens to us in print, especially where our photography work is concerned. I covered a City of Carrabelle City Council meeting years ago. After the meeting, as I was packing my camera gear (all purpose print journalist I am), the mayor Pro Tempore and a local businessman got into a heated argument, an extension of the argument that started months ago, continued through the Council meeting and afterward. I grabbed my camera and snapped a not badly blurred image of Carlton Wathen (mayor) taking a swing and landing it on Tommy (forgot his last name). We ran the pix Page 2. I have missed thousands of Kodak moments.

Ms. Sirios, the floor is yours.

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