Nuts and Bolts

When I started this blog, I fully intended to talk about storytelling. I envisioned throwing out tips to the next generation of shooters and pontificating about the demise of the business that I love.

Meh, that’s not as much fun as actually telling stories.

Slide2About a month ago, I found myself stuck in Mobile with 16 hours to kill waiting for a big boat of smelly tourists to dock. I bumped into a former co-worker, and as usually happens when newises get together, we talked about better times and the demise of all that is good and holy in local TV news: young producers telling experienced journos what to do, young reporters who think being “fair” means parroting what someone says without critical thinking, crews with no understanding of storytelling principles, and the rise of the multi-media journalist.

In the old days, we called them One Man Bands. One person given the responsibility to ask the questions, gather the info, tote the gear, shoot the story, write it, edit it, and not miss lunch — wouldn’t want to break the boss’ NO OVERTIME mandate.

That last one has been a boon for his business. He’s a <gasp> consultant </gasp>. And he works mostly with reporters in their first couple of jobs. We were talking about the MMJ trend in smaller markets working its way up the chain. He was telling me about all the tools out there to help new reporters learn their craft. You know how many easy guides to shooting TV news he’s found?


It got me thinking about how I train new photogs and MMJs, and the tips that form the foundation of solid news videography. Sixteen pages later, I had a guide that he and I felt covered most of the basics — something to get MMJs and new photogs on the road to shooting successful stories. The guide covers basic camera settings and care, shooting one-man interviews and standups, basic composition and shot variety, sequencing, and beginning lighting techniques.

I’ll readily admit that nothing in it is earth-shattering. It is merely a collection of tips for journalists who find themselves thrust into the strange world of shooting with little or no training. The things veteran photogs do every day by habit. Hell, I stole most of the tips from the photogs who have trained me through the years.

Broadcast Journalism Pocket Checklist: a daily guide for photographers and one man bands won’t make anyone a superstar overnight, but it’s a place to start. The guide is available in a downloadable ebook form that MMJs and photogs can save to their phones or tablets and reference in the field.

Right now, it is available for Kindle at Amazon. (I hope to have it on Barnes & Nobel soon.) It is also available in all formats on

Get yours today and help two photogs. The one you give it to, and me.


About Rick

Writer, photographer, thinker of deep thought . . . too bad I only write about shallow ones.
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