Award-winning, multimedia journalist teaches craft to students
Posted June 21, 2010on:
The semester’s over; grades are posted; and the verdict’s in on Tim Vetscher’s JRN212 broadcast writing class at Paradise Valley Community College. I rate the class five stars for lessons learned in broadcast writing, video production and Final Cut Pro usage. Vetscher also brought in folks from all parts of the industry to talk to us, and he rewarded us with a tour of ABC15 studios and a chance to see the 6 p.m. newscast live.
The class received two major assignments for JRN212 – to shoot, complete and submit a team video and a solo video with a standup required. Maggy Eid became my partner in the team video, and we ventured downtown to meet Maggy’s contact to shoot our video. Along the way the angle changed, but we interviewed veterans, who served their country and now serve their community at the Church on Fillmore.
Our assignments not only brought us together with great people, but they taught us how to use the video camera, work with Final Cut Pro software and upload the finished product to the YouTube site.
Vetscher brought a wide variety of guests to our class to speak with us about the industry, about the jobs they perform, the opportunities available and the situations they handle on a day-to-day basis.
Jillian Parrish, ABC15 assignment editor, described herself as an air traffic controller, who finds a story, listens to scanners and finds a story angle. She started as a reporter, but wanted a behind the scenes management role. She describes her day as hardly ever the same where she answers phones, helps reporters and chairs meetings.
Vetscher says she’s like the quarterback of the team.
Parrish told students they need to get out into the community in search of story ideas, use resources available to them and read every periodical. Her sources know she operates using respect, confidentiality and loyalty before putting a story on ABC15.
Investigative producer Dan Siegel shared some of the stories that ABC15 put on the air and how stories come from viewer tips or from short stories done by reporters. He discussed the steps that needed to be completed before the stories air and said the time frame for compiling information for a story amounts to four months or more.
Emmy Award-Winning Photojounalist Darren Bailey talked to students about the equipment he uses in the field and how he sets up shots. He showed some examples of his award-winning stories and answered students’ questions.
For a change of pace, Public Information Officer Trent Crump came in to share his experiences with the media and gave students a taste of the situations he deals with on a daily basis for the Phoenix Police Department. He presented a recent case and students interviewed him about the case.
Crump explained that he expects interviews to contain the who, what, where, when and how questions, but he also appreciates when reports come in with some knowledge of the situation.
“I’m very guarded if I don’t trust you,” says Crump. “It’s all about relationships. You’ll get more information out of me with honey than vinegar.”
ABC15 News Director Joe Hengemuehler talked to students about the changes in news and how ABC15 spent a million dollars to invest in HD equipment and to train its reporters in multimedia journalism. He talked about ethics in the industry, what constitutes a good package, what to include on a resume and how to approach a job interview.
The ABC15 News Website breaks records, Hengemuehler said, and remains second choice for local news and sets records with no outside help or links.
Our final guest of the semester, schooled us in the ways of performing a successful standup, something we all needed to know since our solo video required it. Investigative reporter Lori Jane Gliha gave us ideas on unique ways to perform a standup and told us how to survive the summer heat and still look fresh on camera.
She brought video clips of some of her standups and listed reasons for a standup. Reasons included bridging two ideas together, telling a fact or statistic, demonstrating something or showing what’s going on and illustrating an idea that’s difficult to visualize or explain. She said a standup runs from 4-15 seconds, but the rule of thumb is 10 seconds.
After hearing from these guests, we got to travel to the ABC15 studios for a tour and a live viewing of the 6 p.m. news. We sat on the sidelines while the teleprompter and the cameras rolled and Katy Raml and Steve Irvin presented the news. Later Rich Dahlquist gave the weather report using a green screen. Everything went along without a hitch and during the commercials everyone answered our questions.
Tim Vetscher taught a great JRN212 class, and this fall at PVCC, he plans to teach another class TCM100, a digital multimedia class.