Despite an explosion in popularity and use of video by people, like you and me, TV news is actually in cutback mode, as my old CBS News colleague Dave Marash described recently. Let me share my own example – the August 2011 East Coast earthquake.I was on a flight when the earthquake struck. When I landed at Denver about two hours after the quake had shaken the East Coast, and my hometown, Washington, D.C., none of the TV networks or cable news outfits had mobilized to cover damage that happened at places like the Washington Cathedral and the Pentagon. The lack of news coverage was shameful … shocking.
TV news outfits maintain freelance cameras at places like the White House and sometimes on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon. But, those crews are rarely equipped to be mobile.
Because of severe budget cuts, TV news has become increasingly studio-locked. It’s low-budget and generally accepted to have celebrity news readers sit in studios and read stories or interview other reporters and guests about events in the world.
I remember watching a CNN anchor in a studio talking about earthquake damage but they had no video to air … two hours after it happened.
Yeah, they can cough up some money for a live truck for Anderson Cooper to cover some dramatic story but it takes longer and longer to mobilize when breaking news happens. Network and cable news no longer have armies of video crews at the ready.
Have you noticed how much television news video that’s aired these days is actually shot by ordinary people on their cell phones or home video cameras who have witnessed actual news? We – you and I – have become a source of video for TV news.
And, there is significant opportunity knocking for communications professionals – learn the essential tenets of shooting and using authentic news video. Become a provider of timely, relevant and real TV news for your organization.
In advising and working with companies on the competitive advantages of solid brand journalism – and building and managing working, real-time news sites for those clients that become not only valued assets for the companies but aggregate all the news of their industry sector – we place great emphasis on shooting excellent quality NEWS video. Traditional b-roll and soundbites, the staples of TV news for decades. Yeah, TV news still needs video like that.
We store broadcast-quality HD news video at our online FTP sites for easy downloading by TV news organizations. And, it gets aired regularly by everyone from local stations to the networks.
The message here – if you want TV news coverage, begin by knowing how to shoot authentic TV news video, the core element of a story. And, then, learn how to get the attention of TV news producers. Learn to tell your stories.