For decades, TV journalists have worked in teams, with the lines of
responsibility regulated by union rules or simple tradition. Stories
were covered by a crew consisting of a camera operator and a
correspondent (and further back, by a sound or lighting technician);
their work was overseen by a producer and their footage assembled into
a finished story by an editor.
But technology — handheld or tripod-mounted cameras, laptop editing
programs and the Internet — have made it possible for one person to
handle all those assignments, station managers say. — Paul Farhi, The Washington Post
As a radio news intern for WINA-Charlottesville in the 80s, and as a
news office intern at the University of Virgnia, I was amused by the
choreography involving the on-camera reporter walking through
a crowded scene, the videographer walking backwards in front of the
reporter, a technician holding onto the belt of the videographer to
help negotiate obstacles.
As a grad student in Toronto, I sort of smirked at CityTV’s brand of
“journalism,” which had “videographers” sticking a shoulder-mounted
camera in a subject’s face, while holding a small hand-held camera out
at arms length to get a two-shot at the same time. How could they
concentrate on asking probing questions? They couldn’t — they mostly
showed up at events to shoot crowd reaction shots, then after the event
was over they asked the keynote speaker to summarize for the TV
audience what the day’s event was all about.
This move is going to save money, it’s going to increase the frequency of news releases, but it’s going to impact depth. I’m not really sure that’s a problem — who goes to TV news for depth?