Lazy Reporters, Conspiracy Theories at a Former NYTimes Station and I End Up Putting on Make-up for Memphis TV

I really need to be working on a project that needs my attention but I just can’t get psyched up for it so I’m writing this instead.  I know I’ve addressed this topic before but I ran across a couple of things on the ShopTalk Water Cooler that caught my attention.  One was a running battle between videographers and reporters about carrying gear in the field.  I think it’s safe to say that anybody shooting video appreciates help or at least the offer of help to carry gear.  I know I always offered and sometimes insisted on carrying the sticks (tripod) especially if there far to go.  Some shooters don’t like anyone to handle their gear or at least their cameras.  I also learned the hard way not to lean a collapsed tripod against the bumper of a  car.  I learned that when it slides sideways and hits the ground and breaks off the head of that very, very expensive tripod, that you should not make that mistake twice.  AS I said, I’ve never heard a videographer  complain if a reporter offers to carry gear but I haven’t heard anything from shooters on this blog.  Videographers, now is your chance to weigh in.  Do you want a reporter to help or would you rather they keep their mitts off your gear.  What about after a live shot.  Do you want them to help you break down or do they just tend to mess things up.  I’d be curious as to your thoughts.

WHNT in Huntsville, AL, a former NYTimes station and now a member of the Local TV group has come under fire from some viewers and on Shoptalk’s Water Cooler.  It seems that just prior to a CBS News 60 Minutes Report this past weekend about how Karl Rove supposedly set up the governor for a fall in that state, the station went to black and the viewing audience missed the report.  Conspiracy theories abound.  The station’s news director addresses the issue in her blog.  The segment has been re-broadcast twice now on the station’s local news.  Man, the headaches that a technical glitch can cause.  Glad I’m not answering the phones there.

And finally today, I got up early this morning (early for me these days) and put on a coat and tie and headed off for the TV studio where I promptly “slapped on some face” (put on make-up) and for about an hour read off a teleprompter.  It would have gone faster but I was a little rusty reading off the camera.  This was my first time in a studio on a local TV station reading prompter since I left WREG.  It felt a little odd to be quite honest with you.  No, it wasn’t one of the local news operations.  It was at WKNO TV where I volunteered my time to help drum up support for their public TV operation.  So if you tune in to the News Hour or any of the “Brit-coms” that they feature don’t be surprised to see me staring back at your.  Hey, send them money and they may take me off!

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5 Comments on “Lazy Reporters, Conspiracy Theories at a Former NYTimes Station and I End Up Putting on Make-up for Memphis TV”

  1. Apple Smarts Says:

    As a one-man-band female reporter…in the south, I get asked many times if I would like any help carrying my stuff, never by a co-worker but by the people I am interviewing or whatever.

    Sometimes, it’s helpful, but after two minutes, it gets awkward because people don’t know the easiest way to carry the tripod and they wind up having trouble…so, while the offer is appreciated, I usually decline because it’s just easier for me to do it.

    But, I will always let someone open the door for me.

  2. joelarkins Says:

    As a former OMB, back in the early/mid 80’s I too often had people offering to help carry gear (never let the camera out of my grasp). When I left that bureau position, a really cute girl just out of college took over that post. I think the gear actually weighed more than SHE did and once, some farmers offered not only to care the gear across a muddy field but also offered to carry her as well.


  3. Most of the time, I carry my own tripod. It helps counter balance the weight of the camera I am already carrying. I just hope the reporter remembers to bring the microphone! I rarely let anyone HOLD my camera, let alone carry it for me. It’s an expensive piece of equipment, and if it were to break, it’s my fault. So, no one touches the camera! As far as live shots, I have no issue with reporters pulling cable. The sooner it gets done, the sooner we all go home! Luckily, the reporters I work with are VERY good about helping out!

  4. Doug J. Says:

    During my time in local TV news, I never met a shooter who minded a reporter carrying a tripod. I met few who didn’t actually insist on it.

    I was on a shoot a few months ago for my new corporate bosses, and worked with a two-man crew in Atlanta (first time for that). They seemed surprised when, out of habit, I picked up the tripod and battery bag. In fact, they kept telling me that I didn’t have to do that at all. So I bought them lunch. Seemed a fair trade off.

  5. sudsy Says:

    It’s nice if a reporter carries the tripod, but I don’t get mad if they don’t offer. I never let Joe carry my tripod though after he broke the head off my Sachtler. Doug was sometimes nice enough to tote the sticks if I didn’t insist he carry it first. But I strongly urge all reporters to NOT help break down a liveshot. These trucks are trashed enough by the garbage they leave in it before and after the live shot. Just go sit in the truck and make cell phone calls while the photog neatly puts away the gear, and please don’t get mad when I have to put gas in the truck before we get back to the station. Thanks for asking though.


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