I’m not a cheerleader for the vj concept. I do like being one and I think it’s a great idea in many broadcast situations. Probably not all the time and for every reporter and photographer, but for me and for today…it was good.
I was covering the installation of the new Bishop for the Nashville Diocese. I had live shots in the 4 and 6 o’clock newscasts. I was finishing up my profanity series piece for tonight before heading to the cathedral for the 3 o’clock start.
My plan was to get a couple of soundbytes from people attending the ceremony to talk about the importance of the day. The sanctuary was crowded and since the Diocese was providing stations with a live feed from inside, we weren’t invited inside. Armed with my new friend, the Sony HD camera, I managed to get permission to go inside the vestibule of the cathedral to interview some of the deacons and priests who would be part of the service.
After getting about five interviews, I was about to head to the satellite truck when I saw the Bishop. He was making his way through the crowd, shaking hands and thanking people for their prayers and support. I made a point to meet with the Bishop my first week here so when we saw each other, there was some recognition. He walked over, said hello and I asked if I could ask him a couple of questions.
This was only about 5 minutes before the start of the service. Now Bishop David Choby is a very warm and friendly man and I know he would gladly talk to any reporter who wanted to pose a few questions. In other words, I didn’t get the interview because I had met him before or because he liked me; I got the interview because I was fortunate enough to be working as a vj.
Seriously, I don’t know that a two-man crew would have been given access to the lobby. It was very crowded and two more people (especially one with a video camera on their shoulder) would have been too much. It would have been very easy for them to say “no…”. But a vj? Isn’t that like just one more person in the room?
It was good. We had two good soundbytes from the Bishop just minutes before the start of the most important event in his vocational life. Honestly, I had felt a little self-conscious before. I had walked past the other crews on the story carrying my camera and tripod and wearing a suit. For the first time I felt like the other reporters were looking at me going “poor guy.”
But it was a good feeling to call the executive producer and tell her “I’ve got two soundbytes from Bishop Choby for your two shows.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll post it again here. Being a video journalist really suits me. I don’t mind shooting my own standups and my own video and writing and editing my own stories. I understand when reporters and photographers post complaints and criticize the concept on message boards. It’s not a good fit for everyone. But it is for me, and today…I wouldn’t have traded it.