Week 3: Standups, scripts, whips

On Monday, I was able to ride along with WAVY anchor/reporter Marielena Balouris. This was my first sampling of the working life of a multimedia journalist (MMJ). The life of an MMJ involves frequent solo reporting trips, which involve one person doing all the shooting and reporting and then coming back to the station to compile all of that into an effective news report. It is a fast-paced job that requires strong time management and a great deal of independent motivation.

The day’s story revolved around a York County teen named Hannah, who inspired her local law enforcement community with her hand-made tribute – a soccer ball covered in blue Christmas lights. We arrived at her parents’ house, and Marielena conducted an interview with Hannah’s mother. Then it was off to York Middle School, where dozens of first responders were waiting to surprise Hannah on her birthday.

While my previous trips involved both a reporter and a photographer, today I was able to see how at times one must balance the need for personal interaction and interviews with the to capture enough sound and video to be able to tell a compelling story. This is no easy task, and all the while one has to get back to the station in time to compile the report, which is no small operation in and of itself.

On Wednesday, I again ventured out with Marielena Balouris, this time to a homeless outreach event in Newport News called Project Homeless Connect. This was another great opportunity for me to witness how stories are told on television versus print, which was my previous area of focus. Indeed, there’s a whole new dimension of experiences to gather – and the audio-visual aspect is just as important as the written one.

After we got back to the studio, I wrote a mock package while Marielena put hers together. Then, I was able to see the technical side of being an MMJ – for which strong audio and video editing skills are required.

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