The 21st Century Journalist Needs Video Skills

On Friday, Emily Sweeney from The Boston Globe came to talk to my Reinventing the News class about mutlimedia journalism. Sweeney is a graduate of Northeastern University and played on the women’s varsity hockey team as an undergrad. It’s great to see graduates of the Northeastern journalism school working at places with such high standards of journalism like The Globe.

Sweeney emphasized many of the things I have been hearing lately about the world of journalism, such as the idea that journalists today cannot just be writers–they have to have a complete set of skills. Sweeney said that having the ability to shoot and edit video, as well as make a radio show are now equally as important as being able to write. I guess it’s a good thing my class is currently working on creating video news segments–even if iMovie ’09 can be quite tempermental.

Sweeney gave some encouraging news to the class, stating that most video editing programs are similar, so learning iMovie ’09 will be a good tool to use in the future, no matter what editing program we may be using later on. Knowing how to edit videos is a “marketable skill,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney showed us a few of her own video segments, including one about Bingo in Boston, another about word pronunciation in Boston and a third about an elderly women’s basketball league. I really enjoyed all three of the segments, however I especially liked the segment about word pronunciation in Boston. Not only was it funny, but the images that went along with it gave a clear representation of what they were talking about. It’s interesting that even though they weren’t using actual video, they were still able to make a video segment by pairing the audio with images. It also shows that a video segment doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s actually happening, but can just be an interesting topic that will keep the audience engaged.

I think the video segments are able to tell a really interesting story because the audience not only gets to hear narration, they get to see the actual story playing out. Instead of just seeing a quote said by a person, the audience can see the actual person and the actions that go along with what they are saying. As Sweeney emphasized, the woman in the Bingo video segment who sprinkled sugar on her cards was able to express herself through her actions, not just through words, which I think really adds to the value of the story.

More video news segments by Emily Sweeney can be found here–I definitely recommend taking a look!