Rochester Emmy Workshop Worth the Wait

More than 30 journalists from 10 different companies in three states visited KTTC-TV studios in Rochester, MN Saturday January 22nd for the first Emmys on the Road workshop for 2011.

Good crowd for workshop

Great ideas come to those who are patient. 

More than 30 journalists visited KTTC-TV studios in Rochester, MN  Saturday January 22nd for the first Emmys on the Road workshop for 2011.    

These media professionals waited more than a month for this seminar after a blizzard postponed it last December.  “What a great crowd of reporters, photojournalists, anchors assignment editors, producers, online managers and college students for our first workshop of the new year,” said NATAS-Upper Midwest Executive Director John (JJ) Murray.  “It was so exciting to see almost three dozen journalists representing 10 different companies from three states (Minnesota, Iowa & Wisconsin) join us for this wonderful learning opportunity,” Murray said.

Mark Anderson stress steady, sequenced video strategies

 Freelance Producer/Photojournalist Mark Anderson has won several Emmy and NPPA photojournalism awards. As a former Director of Photography at KSTP and a photojournalist at KARE, he was a big part of both newsrooms NPPA (News Press Photographers Association) Station of the Year honors in the 1990’s. 

“The way I get warmed up for a story is I always think to myself wide, medium, tight, super-tight… get the moment,” Anderson told the crowd. 

“Wide shots, medium shots, tight shots and super tight shots are the cornerstone of visual storytelling,” Anderson said.  “Life is not a bunch of wide shots.   Life is a variety of shots.   Shoot your story as the eye sees life – when edited together it makes for a nice sequence. Don’t forget the ever importance of a wide shot or establishing shot. Often times a super tight shot is the most memorable shot of the piece. Plus, your editor will love you as tight shots will always get you out of an editing jam. ”  

Scott Libin
Scott Libin talks about capturing life's moments

Scott Libin is a former News Director at WCCO & KSTP as well as part of the faculty and presenters at the Poynter Institute.   “With all the new shooting and editing toys out there, we still have to constantly remind ourselves that our stories should always be content-driven,” Libin told the audience.

“Use your camera and microphones to replicate the way the eye, ear and brain take in and process information.,” said Libin.  ” Use wide, establishing shots to take in an entire room or scene.  Use tight shots to see detail.  Use nat sound to bring viewers close enough to hear things that aren’t audible at a distance.  And for every story, tell me at least one interesting, meaningful thing that I didn’t already know.” 

Jim Schiffman talks about how his puppets present a unique approach to storytelling.

Jim Schiffman is an Emmy-Award winning creator of children, educational and government programming in the growing community television industry.   Jim is also Secretary of the Executive Board of NATAS-Upper Midwest Chapter.

 Schiffman uses puppets on his show to educate and inform his audience about local government.

“Find the element or focus of the story that will make it unique and interesting to viewers,” Schiffman said.

Mark Anderson told the crowd good story-telling goes deeper than technique, it takes heart.  “Get close with your heart, not your lens. In TV news, we have a limited amount of time to win our subjects over,” said Anderson.  ” Sometimes that window of opportunity is fleeting. Still, it is our obligation to treat others with respect and honor their presence.   It’s their story, not yours.   Be sincere, win them over and make them feel comfortable in front of the camera. The end result will be a better story.  Your subjects will eventually open up to you even more and will allow you to get closer with your camera.   Treat your subjects how you would like to be treated,” 

Not only did the audience get usefull srtategies on story-telling techniques, but they also had a chance to show some of their work to the crowd for open critiques.  “It was a fantastic day! I saw a lot of light bulbs going off.   I also felt energized myself and truly enjoyed the synergy of not only the leaders but more importantly with the group participants,” said Mark Anderson.

We want to thank Noel Sederstrom the News Director at KTTC-TV who let our group host this professional development workshop.  Noel is also a Regional Vice President for the NATAS-Upper Midwest Chapter Board of Governors.  “It’s really so important to carve out time like this to watch powerful stories, and then kick around ideas on how to go out and do excellent work.  It really stretches people,” Sederstrom said.  “We believe in a collaborative environment here at KTTC, and I’m glad we were able to host this workshop for people in our region to give that concept a little push.  I thought Scott, Mark and Jim did such a good job both presenting and then critiquing stories brought in.” 

Journalists in the audience are starting to send in feedback and the response is very positive.

“I guess what I really took from this workshop is to have content-driven motivation behind your storytelling decisions.   Don’t just shoot video or write something for the sake of doing so.   Have a purpose that enhances the outcome for the viewer.   Think outside the box about how to accomplish that goal.”  Gabe Erickson/Reporter WXOW-TV

Our next NATAS-Upper Midwest Emmy on the Road workshop is Saturday January 29th from 10:00am-2:00pm at Kilian Community College in Sioux Falls, SD.  Please email to RSVP for that event. 

If you would like to schedule an Emmy on the Road workshop in your market, please contact NATAS Upper Midwest Executive Director John (JJ) Murray at 952-381-7494