A week ago, I spoke of my pride for taking part in “50 Years Of Change”, an hour-long documentary about the Civil Rights events of 1963. It premiered last week to great acclaim from viewers and local leaders.
Now, allow me to introduce you to the man behind it.
Jeff Reid has been a co-worker of mine at WXIA-TV in Atlanta for more than a year; he joined us after spending 15 years at CNN, spearheading their documentary department and producing the much-discussed “Black in America”. He manages our enterprise content, meaning he oversees the production of long-form stories and investigations.
His other big mission? Get a few documentaries under our belts — and make them great.
In the recent history at our station, we had done the occasional single-topic newscast and even a documentary or two, but we had not tackled a topic as heavy as the Civil Rights movement — and we certainly had not filled an hour doing so — until “50 years Of Change”. For his part, Reid had never produced a documentary with so little time and staff; he spearheaded this one with a team of 8-10 people in barely a month.
Reid discusses the process with me on this episode of the Telling The Story podcast.
“I know for a fact [CNN] was working on a similar documentary where they focused just on the March [on Washington],” Reid said. “They started working on that documentary eight months ago. And they had 4-5 producers and a correspondent.”
In this preview, Reid explains — against his better judgment — how limited resources can sometimes be a good thing.
RELATED POST: JFK, MLK, and the crafting of a Civil Rights documentary
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Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at email@example.com.