Friday, November 09, 2007
If you've never taken part in a TV news story contest, you ain't missed much. Sure, there are the local Emmies, the AP awards, the NPPA and lots of other ways to take home a trophy or a plaque. But I've just never been a fan. Be it the whacked-out entry fees, the haphazard judging or just the whole unsavory process of nominating yourself for a pat on the back, it's always struck me as ... hollow. While I cast no aspersions on the many powerful photogs who've racked up the mantle hardware, I've never been able to cut a check for something I don't believe in (a policy which proves I'm either overly idealistic or just plain cheap). Now, however, I may be forced to reconsider my longheld stance, since Kevin Johnson has finally forced the TV News Contest into the 21st Century. I give you the 1st Annual b-roll.net AWARDS.
For those who don't know, b-roll.net is the on-line gathering place for the TV news photog nation (and incidentally, the birthplace of Lenslinger). With more than 47,000 members, the b-roll community includes wide-eyed newbies, network journeyman and medium market hacks like me. We're not newspaper multimedia specialists, mind you - but we still think we know a thing or two about video journalism. Until now, we've solidified that crazy belief by filling the world's newscasts with our finest efforts; real world, daily-made, deadline-edited television news. Perhaps you've caught a few examples wedged between all those damn Geiko ads. With the uprise of YouTube and beefed-up TV station websites, more and more of our work appears on-line - which makes a democratic, free and transparent story contest all but inevitable.
Enter Kevin Johnson. For 11 years, the towering everyman has worked to improve his website, first with a barebones watering hole, then a vibrant message board and now with a YouTube-like video uploading portal. Since launching b-roll.net TV, Kev's attracted some of the best TV news out there to his fledgling gallery. With the addition of a free yearly contest, his list of exhibits will surely swell. Voted on by the very community that holds their work so dear, the b-roll.net Awards are poised to exploit the ego, id and virtuoso of some v-e-r-y competitive storytellers. If you're a news shooter like me who specializes in putting it off, it's time to learn to upload. If you're simply a fan of potent TV news, you'll want to bookmark this site and check back often.
Hmmmm ... a free and transparent TV news story contest, built on a pre-existing membership and the ease of the internets. Kinda makes you wonder why the NPPA didn't roll this kind of thing out years ago. Guess they're still in committee...