Thanks to Darrell Phillips, we’ve learned of a Nashville tv station moving to use vjs to gather its news.
No, not vjs like Martha Quinn and JJ Jackson from the early 80s. These vjs are one-man bands. Reporters and photographers all rolled up in one body.
It’s been tried before. The ABC affiliate in Huntsville experimented with one-man bands back in the 90s but reporters complained, didn’t do what they were asked to do, and the project died.
I don’t think that will happen this time. Today we have very small 3-chip cameras that take excellent video. I have a couple of them. In fact, when I was reporting in Memphis we used one of my cameras for a couple of special reports (the ghost stories). I also shot video with one of my cameras for another news story.
Comments left on Darrell’s blog indicate many people don’t think it’ll work in Memphis because of the same reason it didn’t work in Huntsville. “That would never work at the Memphis stations. The reporters would all leave.” says Mike Hollihan.
That may be true. They’ll be updating resumes and tapes so fast and furious the edit bays will be filled on the weekends. But that may not stop the tv stations this time. If some threaten to leave, managers may call their bluff. There are too many 20-something reporters out there who’d gladly take their place at half their salary to work in a top 40 market.
Darrell also mentions that KRON in San Francisco has announced it would employ vjs to gather their news. WKRN in Nashville will start using them July 17th.
Don’t think every station manager in the country will be watching what happens in those shops. They’ll look at these newsrooms like any other business looks at innovative changes in their industries. If it works, you can bet other stations will follow their lead.
The fact is, story count is a very important factor in newsrooms. Especially now that some stations have 7 hours of news time to fill every day. WKRN will go from 13 traditional news crews to 30. That’s 30 crews combing the streets to pick up every piece of information worth passing on to viewers in Nashville.
I don’t expect this to be the last we hear of vjs. With a growing number of people armed with high quality digital cameras, I expect to see more stories that are introduced with “this video was captured by a viewer in Lakeland”.
And as Terry Heaton has written several times this year, the next period in local tv news is going to filled with drastic changes. Heaton wrote early this year that the stations will lay off reporters and begin buying video from local video journalists.
I think this is the future of local tv. It may take a couple of years to get here, but clearly it’s headed in that direction. And if reporters don’t like it, they’ll be like me. Out on their own or looking for a job doing something else.