Broadcast journalists are constantly fighting for the viewer's attention as the news is typically on in the background of people’s daily tasks. Sound, shot composition and credible interviews can be the difference between viewers changing the channel or clicking to the next video. The importance of these three things has been instilled in me as a broadcast journalist and are the things I focus on most when telling my video stories.
THE PANDEMIC PROGRAM
After our school district decided to "go fully virtual" (which was the way it stayed for the rest of the school year), the ENN leadership team met on what would become an all too common Zoom call. We didn't have our television studio, and very few students had equipment, but we still saw the need to keep our daily broadcast going. From those very first conversations, The Pandemic Program was born: broadcasting with the tagline, "Bringing you the news you need from at least 6-feet away." While other schools weren't even attempting their weekly (or monthly) broadcasts, the ENN staff took the initiative to write, film, produce and post a new episode from the safety of their homes every single school day until the end of the school year. Just seven days after the staff found out they wouldn't be returning to school, a brand new show was planned, developed and launched to keep the community informed during a hard time. The show's goal: inform, entertain and connect PHS and Prosper's community while they were apart.
ANCHORING HTN DAILY
Reading the news is not difficult for any journalist, but bringing things to a conversational and engaging setting is something that some can find to be a challenge. When anchoring our news show, I pride myself on breaking things down to an understandable level. I don’t feel a need to put on a “mask” when presenting myself and I strive to be the same person that people see on camera and online that I am in person. This reel is a compilation that shows my personality and anchoring style.
History was made as 44-year-old Victor Glover Jr. became the first Black astronaut to being a six-month tour on the International Space Station. Upon hearing about this story from a source in my town, I reached out to Victor Glover Sr. on Facebook. Victor invited my photographer and me into his home to hear about his son's accomplishment. For a story like this, b-roll would typically be an issue because
we can't exactly travel to space to get the footage. In order to get enough footage, I used a multi-camera setup and video provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (NASA).
For many people, ornaments are used as a symbol for significant places, people or events. McKinney resident Mik Messer added a new ornament to his tree from the house of all houses. I found this story from a local news station and thought their story was quite bland. It's not every day that someone from your community gets to go to the White House so I decided to cover this story. It is always a risk putting music in a story, but I found that this
royalty-free track created great pacing in the video story. We spent about two hours on this shoot, and I think it is one of the best examples of my videography work.
A STRIKE OF TRAGEDY
This story offered me a new perspective on life. I am typically one to stay away from tragedy, but this story was one that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share. I found this story on a community Facebook page and reached out to the family asking if they would allow me the opportunity to share their story. I interviewed the young couple on the night of my birthday at a neighbor's house where they were staying. The two got emotional as they reflected on the
lightning strike that took out their home. After the interview concluded, Justin Smith invited me to go to their home and see the damage that the storm created. I was overwhelmed at the images I saw: burned Barbies, electrical wires wrapped over a dollhouse and ballet shoes burned to charcoal. After the story was published, the family informed me that they declined several interviews from local news stations and they were thankful that I was the only one who told their story.
THE RIPPLE OF VIDEO CONFERENCING
I was taught to believe that there is no place for opinions in broadcast journalism, but I found that idea was not valid. I saw my peers on the newspaper staff writing editorials and voicing their opinion but never saw the medium to do so in broadcasting. Several other broadcast programs across the nation created “commentary” pieces that were relatable and easy for the viewer to understand, so I wanted to give it a shot. The idea for this story came after several important Zoom calls were flooded with bots, and this occurrence was later deemed a “Zoom-bomb.” I explored this idea and advised viewers how to prevent this from happening to their calls. I also produced a commentary piece on the video platform, Quibi, that can be viewed here.
ROCK HILL RADIO
The Rock Hill Radio program director approached me with the opportunity to record some imaging for the school radio station. He gave me the topics that the segments had to be about and left it up to me to write the scripts. The imaging below plays on the radio station every week, and I record new imaging every month.
Most celebrities and entertainers limit their press access to professionals, but Todrick Hall, singer and Broadway star invited one student journalist to come to his tour stop in their city and video the concert for their school publications. It is unheard of for any popular artist to invite students to their show, so I applied and was chosen for the Dallas, TX tour stop. I was able to go to the concert with another photographer and cover our school news event. We had press access to go anywhere in the building, and our footage was featured in his documentary about the tour in 2020.
THE POWER OF THE iPHONE
During the lockdown, I was left without any equipment other than my iPhone and a $10 phone lapel that I purchased on Amazon. This didn't keep me from telling impactful stories like "Local 75078". This story is about a town council member who realized the struggle that small businesses were facing and decided to create a website highlighting small businesses and non-profits to support. After shooting this story it made me realize how much of a tool the phone can be and you can still get great shots and stories without fancy equipment.
Each year, Prosper ISD holds a fundraiser for childhood cancer survivors intending to bring awareness to the cause and raise money to find a cure for cancer. This year I called on our community to share any childhood cancer survivors they knew so I could tell their stories with the town. I told the stories of several children who were either currently battling the disease or had just finished treatment. Following the series, the student council sponsor approached me and told me that donations significantly increased since the stories aired and she was so glad to see my storytelling making a difference. After each interview, I walked out of the family's homes with a new perspective and outlook on my life.
This is Carter's story.
CHILDREN'S HEALTH STADIUM
The Prosper ISD Athletic department allows high school students to operate the A/V equipment for all sporting events. This year I was able to work at the stadium for the football and soccer seasons. From this experience, I learned how to operate 3Play Instant Replay Technology, field cameras, switcher and Daktronics graphics from this experience. The technology previously listed is industry standard and let me get ahead of other students while in high school.
Switching at Rock Hill soccer game.
Field camera for Rock Hill football game.
Switching at Rock Hill soccer game.