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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

This Thing Called Journalism Is No Easy Task

It is easy to be quick as a multimedia journalist. You can simply shoot a couple shots of B-roll, get two or three good sound bites, and figure out the who, what, where, when, why, and how of a story. Most journalists can do all of that, but the good ones are the ones who go above and beyond.

It is not simply enough to just get the facts of the story. I often urge the multimedia journalists that work on my team to find that one person or figure who is representative of the bigger issue. There is usually a human element to an otherwise mundane story.

For example, if you are sent out to do a story about recycling programs in Los Angeles, a common route to take would be going to recycling centers and interviewing people in line and trying to get a statement from some type of government program that deals with recycling. However, the story could also be told by following one recycler who can make a livable wage throughout the day by making multiple trips to the recycling center with trash bags full of cans that he collects on his bicycle. This story is certainly more visual and interesting than the “typical” recycling story. It is these types of stories that are compelling and continue to drive viewers to the newscast. 

When I assign stories, I try to show the multimedia journalist that there is a greater meaning and significance than simply reporting the facts. It is the news industry's task to report the facts, but there is a quick way to do so, and a more thorough and complete way. Going above and beyond, and doing it in an efficient manner is the key to succeeding in this industry. 

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