The second semester of my MA in Online Journalism is…. multimedia. Since departing from newspapers almost five years ago now I’ve dipped my toe into multimedia journalism and quite enjoyed it, and the new dimension it gives to news.
From my experience so far, there are similarities between written journalism, be it writing for the web or for print, and audio and video, the two areas I’ll focus on for my next two assignments. For example, the more you do it the better you get at it (in theory). Which is why my multimedia skills need some sharpening, I don’t get to ‘play’ often enough and when I do, it’s pretty rushed.
But I can tell you a little of what I’ve learned so far…
Get stuck in
The best way to learn is to fail fast and move on and that certainly applies to audio and video journalism. I’ve done video and audio interviews which have been utterly terrible: shaky camera syndrome, lights obliterating people’s faces, stuttering with questions and I turn into a crazy blinking lady when I’m in front of the camera myself. But I’ve learned from these things and tried not to repeat the mistakes. It’s definitely a learning curve and yes, courses and conferences may help inform you and give you the background knowledge but you probably have to get stuck in there and do it to really get to grips with it. It’s amazing how a quiet park (when doing an interview) can sound like a wind tunnel as soon as you take the footage off the camera. Where did all that noise come from?
It takes two (sometimes)
Also, video and audio projects in pairs works really well. It’s hard to interview someone, ask questions and pay attention to their answers as well as listening out for noise pollution, keeping the camera steady, holding a microphone and keeping a second ear out for a newsworthy sound bite. It’s not always possible to capture news in pairs, admittedly, but it’s works and increases the fun and certainly boosts confidence while you’re starting out.
The more confident we are, the better we do something and that applies to everything in life, not just multimedia journalism. And confidence tends to come with practice, constructive criticism and some praise. So keep at it, as your skills grow your confidence will too, and vice-versa.
I’m hoping that by the end of this module I’ll be both more skillful and more confident with my multimedia skills and look forward to putting them into action.
In the meantime, this is probably my first taster of video… an adventure in the snow with a friends, trying to get to work. No work of art here, admittedly, but mildly entertaining, perhaps.