Thursday, February 11, 2010

What Does a NY Times VJ Do?

Here's an illuminating first-person behind-the-scenes look at being a New York Times videojournalist, by Brent McDonald (right).

Reporter. Camera operator. Sound technician. Lighting technician. Writer. Narrator. Editor. Those aren’t seven jobs. They’re one. Mine. Oh, yes, I also carry up to 100 pounds of gear. (That’s right: add Sherpa to the job description.) I’m a VJ; a video journalist.

Today, The New York Times has nearly a dozen full-time video journalists and an expanding network of freelancers producing stories from all over the world, for every section of the newspaper and Web site. We don’t have beats. Our basic role is to provide a visual and emotional lens into stories, from sports profiles to investigative exposés. The journalists in our group have contributed to work that has won a Peabody Award, an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

And yet, when I tell people I’m a VJ, I still often get the same questions I did when I started four years ago. (1) What? The Times makes video? (2) What does that mean, exactly? The answer to the first question is self-evident. The best way to answer the second is to describe some stories I’ve worked on recently...
Read the rest here.

(Photo by Nicholas D. Kristof/NYTimes)

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