Podcasts

Here are long-form interviews with storytellers from across the business, from print to TV to podcasting to everywhere else. SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST HERE!

PODCAST EPISODE #56: Les Rose, CBS News & Syracuse University

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How did I know I should interview Les Rose for my podcast?

A bunch of journalists told me so, and in rapid succession.

Les was the keynote speaker at last month’s Sound of Life Storytelling Workshop in Asheville, NC, at which I was delighted to speak as well. After Rose spoke, a handful of workshop attendees mentioned to me they would love to hear more of his advice and wisdom.

This should not be a surprise. Rose is a storytelling legend, working for nearly four decades in broadcast journalism and more than two decades with CBS News. The photojournalist and field producer spent seven years involved with Steve Hartman’s famous “Everybody Has a Story” segment. Clearly, his credentials are impeccable.

But so is his passion.

An hour after the workshop ended, I peeked back into the room where it was held and saw this:

That’s Rose at the podium, showing his pieces to a handful of faithful attendees, hosting his own mini-workshop long after the official one had concluded.

This man loves this craft, and it shows in his current day job as a professor of broadcast and digital journalism at Syracuse University. It’s why he’s my guest on Episode #56 of the Telling the Story podcast. Rose and I had a great conversation about a variety of topics, from his storytelling approach to his secrets for sustaining passion in a business that can often test it.

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PODCAST EPISODE #55: Justin Hinton, reporter, WLOS-TV

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It was a pretty cool moment.

At last year’s NPPA Southeast Storytelling Workshop, one of the loudest ovations came for someone in the audience.

One of our speakers was talking about the innovative work being done at his company, and he showed a live shot from a reporter and photographer who happened to be in attendance at the workshop. During the shot, for a story about a suspect who left a fingerprint at the scene, the reporter smudged his thumb on the camera, and the photographer panned toward a light that enabled the thumbprint to appear on the camera.

Check it out:

The workshop crowd erupted … because the reporter and photographer had made the extra effort to conceive and execute a compelling and eye-catching live shot.

Fast forward a year later, and that reporter — WLOS-TV’s Justin Hinton — has gone from attending a workshop to presenting. He will be speaking with coworker Evan Donovan at the 2017 Sound of Life Storytelling Workshop.

Hinton is my guest on Episode #55 of the Telling the Story podcast.

Check out this episode for a great discussion of how to strengthen one’s live shots, which often veer to the extremes of either sameness or gimmickry. Hinton also talks about the moves he made in college to catalyze a strong start in the business.

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PODCAST EPISODE #54: John Wilson, chief photographer, KSL-TV

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‘Tis the season … for journalists to focus on everything journalism-related but their jobs.

After the May sweeps period comes the month of June, which always seems to be the ideal time for award ceremonies and workshops. I will be speaking at two workshops this month, and I plan to use this space to give each one some attention.

If you live in the Southeast, I encourage you to head to Asheville to check out the Sound of Life Media Southeast Storytelling Workshop, organized by my good friend (and former fellow workshop co-director) John Kirtley.

And if you live west of the Mississippi, I advise you to check out the NPPA Rocky Mountain Workshop in Salt Lake City from June 2-4.

If you need any convincing, just push play on this podcast.

John Wilson is the chief photographer at KSL-TV, the Salt Lake station that is hosting the workshop. He is a testament to the power of such events. Wilson began his career with aspirations of shooting Kentucky men’s basketball for a living; when he reached that goal at age 23, he became propelled by attending workshops to focus more on storytelling. That choice has led to massive career success — and the creation of this upcoming event in June.

Wilson is my guest on Episode #54 of the Telling the Story podcast.

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PODCAST EPISODE #53: Chad Nelson, photojournalist, KARE-TV

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Last June I flew to Cleveland to cover the championship parade for the NBA’s Cavaliers. I stood in a swarm of a million Clevelanders and witnessed one of the most stellar scenes in sports.

I also witnessed one of the most stellar sights in photojournalism: the editing of Chad Nelson.

The photographer from KARE-TV in the Twin Cities had been, like myself, called to help our sister station in Cleveland. We worked on separate stories, and after I completed mine, I stopped by Chad’s desk to say hello.

Within minutes, I was receiving a master class in color and composition.

I had always admired the care with which Nelson treats his video, but in Cleveland I gained a deeper appreciation. Nelson works at a station that prides itself on its storytelling culture, and he carries that culture in every story he shoots.

Last month, it paid off. Nelson received three pieces of extraordinary news:

  • He was named the NPPA’s Central Top Region’s Photographer of the Year.
  • He was named a finalist for the NPPA’s Ernie Crisp Photographer of the Year award.
  • He was also named a finalist for the NPPA’s Editor of the Year award.

Now he is my guest on Episode #53 of the Telling the Story podcast.

We talked about quite a bit but focused on two of Chad’s great stories from last year:

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PODCAST EPISODE #52: Oliver Janney, senior field production supervisor, CNN

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The morning after he sat down for this podcast, Oliver Janney hopped on a plane from Washington, DC to Norman, Oklahoma.

Why?

He could not pass up the chance to be a part of the faculty at the famed NPPA News Video Workshop.

Janney has a pretty busy day job; he is the senior field production supervisor at the DC bureau for CNN. He monitors dozens of photojournalists who fly all over the world to cover the biggest stories.

But he also used to be one of those photojournalists in the field, and before he reached the national heights of CNN, he got a kick-start by attending the workshop in Norman.

Janney is my guest on Episode #52 of the Telling The Story podcast.

“That one week truly changed the trajectory of my career,” Janney told me. “I thought I knew what I was doing before that, and I came out of that week questioning everything, excited, and just fired up.”

I met Janney two weeks ago when we both spoke at a different NPPA workshop: the Northern Short Course in Fairfax, Va. I truly enjoyed hearing his perspective as a photojournalist who has experienced both local and national newsrooms. I wanted to bring his insights to the recorded audience of this podcast, and Janney happily obliged.

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PODCAST EPISODE #51: Sarah-Blake Morgan & Katie Eastman, MMJane

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I have never been to the page of the Facebook group run by my guests on this podcast.

I can’t get into the group.

And that’s a really good thing.

Sarah-Blake Morgan and Katie Eastman run MMJane, a Facebook group that provides a platform and community for its nearly 1,000 members.

The members are all women, and they are all solo video journalists.

Such a group is long overdue. A few weeks ago, I released the results of the MMJ Survey, in which nearly 100 MMJs gave their anonymous thoughts about how they view the job and business. I discovered a massive gender gap in the responses. Female MMJs consistently gave lower marks to statements about the solo life, most notably to the statement: “I see myself as an MMJ ten years from now.”

This is a huge problem for the future of our business.

Eastman and Morgan are my guests on Episode 51 of the Telling The Story podcast.

I spent 45 minutes chatting with the MMJane administrators about ways to better cater to female MMJs and give them a stronger voice in local TV newsrooms.

Only afterwards did I realize: they have already taken a giant step towards doing that.

The mere existence and ownership of MMJane is a massive victory for the one-woman band community — and, thus, our industry as a whole. Underrepresented groups advance more quickly when they develop a unified voice and receive positions of power. MMJane provides both.

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PODCAST EPISODE #50: Brenda Wood, anchor, WXIA-TV

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Let me first say the following:

Thank you.

I did not anticipate reaching 50 podcast episodes — or four years of the blog as a whole — when I recorded my first one in 2013. I have continued to write these posts and produce these episodes, in part, because of the consistent and genuine encouragement I have received from readers like you. That feedback helps keep me going.

The other thing that keeps me going? It’s a sentiment expressed with beauty and brevity by my guest on this milestone episode:

“Always the student. Always learning.”

I would admire anyone who follows that philosophy, regardless of profession, but I especially admire those who preach it in local television news … because it can be so easy to do the opposite. The business often seems to conspire sameness, and I strive to find guests on this podcast who never get comfortable or complacent.

Fortunately for me, and for anyone who works at WXIA-TV in Atlanta, such a person has been the spirit of our newsroom for two decades.

Brenda Wood is the reigning dean of Atlanta TV news, and she has worked in the business for forty years. In that time, she has broken barriers, interviewed dignitaries, and collected numerous awards. Beyond that, she has always seized the chance to extend her reach. She has stood out in recent years for a daily opinion segment called “Brenda’s Last Word” and ambitious projects like a half-hour documentary spotlighting the work of the Carter Center in Ethiopia.

In whatever she does, Wood aims to spread influence and make impact. She has been the bedrock of our building for so long that we will face a mammoth challenge when she moves on.

On February 7, she is doing just that. Wood will sign off from 11Alive for the final time.

Brenda Wood is my guest on this 50th episode of the Telling the Story podcast.

This interview was supposed to last 30 minutes, but it went 45. Wood is rich with stories about the past, speaking about the challenges of starting her career as a black female reporter in the South. She also says plenty about the present, offering advice to young journalists on how to exercise their own influence and remain committed to their communities.

And, of course, she talks about her future, which will be filled with that wonderful sentiment:

“Always the student. Always learning.”

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PODCAST EPISODE #49: Vicki Michaelis, journalism professor, University of Georgia

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How can we help journalism students do better?

What are the things journalism students should know before they enter the business?

So many of us in this profession, I fear, rarely think about how we welcome newcomers into that profession. I grapple with it often and have written about it in several entries in this blog.

I have even authored a how-to book for aspiring local TV news reporters: The Solo Video Journalist, available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the publisher’s web site.

Vicki Michaelis has taken her own path to help our industry’s future. She became a nationally respected and renowned sportswriter, leading USA Today’s coverage of the Olympics on six different occasions. She also served as the president of the Association for Women in Sports Media.

Then she received an opportunity that she had not foreseen.

Michaelis, in 2012, learned of the chance to head the University of Georgia’s new sports journalism program. She applied for the job and got it, and for the past five years she has helped sculpt a wave of young sports reporters as they prepare for their grueling entry into the professional world.

Michaelis is my guest on Episode #49 of the Telling the Story podcast.

I really enjoyed this conversation, in which Michaelis gave important insights into the mindset of current journalism students. We also discussed, at length, my recent blog post about what I learned (and didn’t learn) in J-school. What should students expect to gain from a college journalism program? Michaelis and I dive deep into that topic.

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PODCAST EPISODE #48: Best of 2016 edition

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This is a special podcast.

Normally I have one special guest from the news industry, offering insights about his or her career and advice for young journalists and storytellers.

This time, I have four.

Episode #48 is a compilation of some of my favorite clips from the past year’s episodes of the Telling the Story podcast. I chose snippets that specifically focused on advice for those just getting into the business — all from some of the best in the business at their respective positions.

You’ll hear from Jed Gamber and Catherine Steward, two photojournalists who in 2016 were named the NPPA’s Regional Photographers of the Year for the East and Central regions, respectively. (Listen to the full episode.)

You’ll hear from Boyd Huppert, the 100-Emmy-winning, world-renowned feature reporter for KARE-TV in the Twin Cities. (Listen to the full episode.)

And you’ll hear from Joe Little, who provided great insight for both the podcast and my book, The Solo Video Journalist, which is a how-to guide for young MMJs like Little and myself. (Listen to the full episode.)

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PODCAST EPISODE #47: Heidi Wigdahl, solo video journalist, KARE-TV

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I’ll always remember the first time I was asked to speak at a major storytelling conference.

I flew to Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2014 to talk about solo video journalism at the Ignite Your Passion workshop. It immediately became one of the most joyous and fulfilling experiences of my career, and it sparked an evolution that led to me co-directing a similar workshop two years later.

This past fall, Heidi Wigdahl received that same opportunity.

The KARE-TV MMJ discussed the do-it-all process with Twin Cities colleague Adrienne Broaddus and WITI-TV’s Jonathon Gregg. She cherished the opportunity to reach a regional audience of solo video journalists, many of whom are — like her — in their 20s.

Wigdahl has a pretty impressive story to tell. She has risen up the ranks from Rochester, Minn. to Knoxville, Tenn. to her current location, Minneapolis/St. Paul. She now works at a station that is widely respected for the storytelling acumen of its reporters, photojournalists, and MMJs.

Wigdahl is my guest on Episode #47 of the Telling the Story podcast.

We discuss a wide range of topics but focus on one of the biggest logistical struggles for many MMJs: how to dress for the twin challenges of appearing on-air and shooting quality video. I interviewed Wigdahl about that topic for my new book, The Solo Video Journalist, available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the publisher’s web site.

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