Editors Note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Open Letter to Rosenblum


Thanks for getting back with me. I’ve been meaning to think about the questions I wanted to send you, but real life has kept me away from the keyboard. Once I did sit down to make a list, I found I could do no better than the many salient points being raised on b-roll.net. This scintillating (yet one-sided) debate renders private correspondence irrelevant in my view; why trade cryptic missives when the matter is already being hashed out in the public square? Thus I invite you to join our discussion, to provide some answers that will erase the many misconceptions you speak of.

While I am wary of the newsroom model you favor, I do see merit in the solo journalist prototype. This denies me any real motive to skewer you; I seek only civil discourse and hope anyone in the b-roll nation who take part in this thread will keep their venom in check. Despite the vitriol currently being swilled about on our raucous message board, the majority of us are reasonable enough to hear you out. You might even win a few of us over. I understand in your in the business of selling your ideas - not giving them away, but if you hope to be embraced by the U.S. broadcast professionals who make it happen every day, you’re gonna have to cough up a few details.

Let’s start with the basics, distilled from a longer list of most excellent questions from John “Lensmith” Dumontelle.

1) How do you field thirty cameras...er...VJs in your market. How do they get around? Who pays for that? Do the VJs use their personal vehicle or do the stations supply the vehicle (or bus pass). What about insurance and milage if the choice is personal vehicles?

2) What is the pay scale? Do all VJs make the same or do those who initially started as reporters continue to make their previous salaries? Do these reporters take a pay cut? Do the photographers get a raise?

3) Why would a small market really need thirty cameras in the field? Is there that much news or feature stories available? Where will all this material air? Do they really think they have enough news programming airtime available to broadcast all these stories or are they actually looking down the road to cut the staff to fit into their already shrinking budget?

4) Is this camera gear really robust enough to be operable for more than a year under regular news conditions? Will they really understand that the smaller cameras just don't last as long and accept they will need to have a continuous (think yearly) supply of cameras to replace cameras which have come to the end of their already short life expectancy? No, not all the cameras will need yearly replacement but a majority of them will.

Let’s start there, Michael. Let’s trade ideas instead of trading blows. Not ALL of us in the TV news photog world consider you an arch-enemy. It’s Kenny Rogers we really hate.

1 comment:

HockeyPat said...

You guys are still wasting money.

Why not use artist conceptions? You don't even have to leave the station.

In my job we hear about the next big thing all the time. It's extremely rare when these brilliant ideas make the jump to the real world.

Be patient, after too many viewers get motion sickness from the shaky video being televised, they will scoot on to the next brilliant idea.

BTW, Roland Hedley has been mounting a camera on his head for years and he never complains about it.