greg bledsoe

Introducing “The Solo Video Journalist”, my how-to book for aspiring MMJs

I am a television news reporter for the NBC affiliate in Atlanta, Ga., the 10th largest TV market in the country. But I am also my own photographer, shooting and editing the video that becomes my pre-produced reports. From the start of my day to the finish, I am almost always on my own.

And I represent a growing reality in TV news.

The term “multimedia journalist” gets thrown around in the news business, but in television it has a clear meaning. It refers to a journalist who produces a report from start to finish, combining the jobs of a traditional reporter (researching, interviewing, writing) with those of a traditional photographer (shooting, editing). We now occupy a substantial part of TV newsrooms; per the latest survey, roughly nine of every ten local network affiliates use them in some capacity. When aspiring television journalists go to college, they are warned they will almost certainly start their careers – and likely spend a good chunk of them – as one-woman and one-man bands.

Yet no book exists that offers a comprehensive overview of what the job entails, with the insights and authorship of journalists working in the business.

So I wrote one.

I am proud and excited to announce the release of The Solo Video Journalist, available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is a how-to guide for a position in TV news that is long overdue for such analysis: the multimedia journalist, or MMJ.

(… or backpack journalist, or VJ, or any number of titles bestowed upon this position through the years. I went with “solo video journalist” because I think that term most accurately describes the job: producing video stories and journalism on one’s own.)

I have held this title since I entered the business more than a decade ago, and I have remained astounded at the lack of explicit instruction exists for those who do it. So many, both inside and outside the business, continue to envision newsrooms full of traditional reporters and photographers, neglecting the vital role MMJs have come to play.

The reality is far different.

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Passover, paint & Shakespeare

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Meet a Southern Baptist matzoh expert (4/18/16, The Sporkful): This week marks the continuation of Passover, the eight-day Jewish holiday celebrating the exodus from Egypt.

Like many Jewish holidays, it is notable for its history as well as its food.

On a holiday where Jews are instructed to give up bread and other leavened products, the most fascinating food is matzoh, or unleavened bread. Very few podcasts would devote a whole episode to the cracker-like cuisine, but The Sporkful is one … and it does a great job.

Host Dan Pashman delves deep into matzoh with several enjoyable interviews, one of which features a Southern Baptist who once played a major role with the Manischewitz company. Like most episodes of The Sporkful, this one is inventive and enjoyable thanks to Pashman’s passion.

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3 GREAT STORIES OF THE WEEK: On soccer, adversity, & elections

Every week, I will shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

I have focused the first few weeks of “3 Great Stories” on TV pieces, both long-form journeys and well-edited triumphs.

This week, we branch out.

You will find three impeccably told stories here, but they come in different sizes and media. One is a nicely spun local TV yarn, but another is a print masterpiece accompanied by a horrifying photo. The third is all photos, by one of my favorite storytelling arms in the business.

Soccer reigns at King Chavez High School (3/1/13, KNSD-TV San Diego): Greg Bledsoe does what I do — he is a one-man TV band, which means he shoots and edits the videos for his on-air reports — and he does it very, very well. (He also does weather on the side, which is a whole ‘nother batch of awesomeness.) In this story, he captures dawn on the soccer field in San Diego, with a piece that reminded me of the movie Gridiron Gang with its uplifting inner-city athletic-success-story feel.

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