The Round Up – Week of February 29, 2016

A Heavy Load…

Health and Sports Center

The UNK women warm-up before Tuesday’s MIAA tournament game versus SBU. The 75-46 victory is the program’s first post-season win since 2009.

One of the most misunderstood facts about sportscasters is that we don’t root for, or against, teams we cover. It’s bad journalism ethics. However, we often develop respect for the genuinely good people we work with. After sticking a mic in someone’s face over-and-over you start to get at least some picture of who they are as a person.

A guy I’ve come to respect a lot UNK men’s basketball forward Connor Beranek. He seems to have a mature approach to the game, and life. The Ravenna native was second in the MIAA in scoring this season with over 24 points a game. That alone great, but the back story adds another level. Beranek is part of a big time basketball family in central Nebraska. They lost their patriarch, Paul, to cancer just a few days before Christmas.  Connor still put together a season which landed him on the All-MIAA team this week.While balancing school and a high level of play this college student also  had to soak up the last few precious months with his dad. I don’t know how he did it, and it’s been humbling to watch.

Laramey Becker made all-MIAA on the women’s side. She has taken on a lot during her senior season. In just one year she will have gotten married, led the Loper women to their first playoff win since 2009, and tackled a senior’s academic course load. I’ve done two of those three and can’t imagine what it would take to do them simultaneously.

Sick and Tired of Sick and Tired…

Winter time in mid-America isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s grey and cold. Plus, you’re basically going to get the plague for at least a three-day stretch. It’s not if. It’s when. My wife and I both drew the short straw this weekend. I’ve decided February is incubator month.

Practice in Pajamas…

Husker spring football started up this week. Literally and figuratively it isn’t the hardest hitting part of the calendar, but after the unique course last season took this spring seems like an important segment of the year for Big Red. Lots of questions to get answered in Mike Riley’s second spring go-around in Lincoln. One such question, who is going to step up on the offensive line? We’ve got something on the top on nebraska.tv.

This weekend on NTV Sports…

  • Girls’ State Basketball 
    • We’ll have girls state basketball Friday for sure, and as long as someone reaches a final, Saturday too.
  • MIAA Tournament
    • The UNK men and women will play in K.C. The Ladies take on Missouri Western Thursday. The Men meet Northwest Missouri Saturday.
  • Loper baseball
    • Rejoice! College baseball live in the Tri-Cities. Highlights all weekend on NTV News.

 

The Round Up – Week of February 14, 2016

1) Read of the week…

Tom Shatel’s sit down with Husker Head Coach Mike Riley has some interesting quotes from coach regarding his approach entering year two. Since Riley took over in November 2014 he has praised the state of Nebraska’s

Mike Riley addresses the media after a 2015 Nebraska home game.

Mike Riley addresses the media after a 2015 Nebraska home game.

football culture. However, since he got to NU there’s been a school of thought which says he might not 100 percent understand what he signed up for. It’s one thing to admire the state’s big expectations. It’s another to understand what it’ll take to hit the mark as a Husker. The last time I was in a Riley presser was during bowl prep in late December. He talked about team athleticism and speed needing to increase top to bottom. He also said he looked forward evaluating the whole team. Those words appear not to be hollow. Hank Hughes was let go. Dispatching an assistant after one season says Riley knows the status quo wasn’t going to be enough moving forward. There also seems to be an acknowledgement that those crazy loses could have been avoided with plays made earlier in games. Will Riley’s openness to tweaks automatically equal more wins? No, but it can hurt.

2) A food thought…

Sauce doesn’t make a restaurant, but it sure can put one over the edge. If you haven’t had Cane’s sauce at Raising Canes you need to get there. It’s got a little pepper with a tang comparable to the fry sauce at Freddy’s. Add in the Texas toast, crinkle cut fries, and lightly breaded chicken strips and you’ve got something going. Plus, they’ve got Coke and sweet tea with pellet ice. There’s nothing to dislike here.

3) To the mats…

Omaha hosts the Nebraska high school championships this weekend. Wrestling certainly is less understood than the mainstay sports (basketball, football, baseball, etc). Great stories still exist though, and some always get kicked up as we approach state.  As part of our preview coverage this week, I talked with Central City senior wrestler Jeremiah Dickinson. He’s undefeated, after getting third and second at state the past two years. Most of his summer was spent on the Bison’s wrestling deck. Regardless of how he fares, it’s hard not to be impressed by a 17 or 18 year old who is so disciplined.

Events to note this weekend…

State Wrestling

  • Omaha, Thursday-Saturday
  • We’ll have highlights all three days on NTV and reaction on Sunday too. Tons of area story lines. Can Amherst win another team title? Does the aforementioned Dickinson stay perfect? Grand Island Senior High seems to be legit in Class A. Can they start another streak? We’ll know answers to those questions and others by Saturday night.

Storm Home Stand

  • Friday, 7:30pm Sioux Falls @ Tri-City
  • Saturday, 7:05pm Omaha @ Tri-City.
  • The Storm are finally coming home. Six straight on the road now giving way to five at home. They can win a third straight against Sioux Falls Friday to really zap the Stampede’s momentum. Saturday might be even bigger. Omaha trails Tri-City in the standings. A win would be another big shot of mojo for T.C., and would stall the Lancers’ push a little bit.

UNK Men’s Basketball

  • Saturday, 4:00pm Lindenwood @ UNK
  • It was close earlier this season in St. Charles. As I write this theses two are tied for second in the MIAA, and they’re back-to-back in the region too. Needless to say, this one’s important.

If you want to share your thought feel free to reach out on Twitter at @NTVBrett.

Thanks for reading.

The Digital Divide

The digital divide is a topic of conversation among tech geeks and economist alike. Access to technology is so

Photo by zaccrain

Photo by zaccrain

important in the modern world. Almost everything occurs online. Applying for jobs, paying bills, and scheduling social events happens on the Internet. So if an individual doesn’t have adequate access to the web they can be isolated toward the edges of society.

Some say that efforts to expand technology to the third world is a valiant effort to bring all of humanity to the same level. Others say cyber cafes ruin work ethics across the world, because technology is used for recreation and not self promotion. Both those thoughts are understandable. What good is a tool that isn’t used properly?

However the issue with the latter argument is that people have a choice about how they spend their time. They can choose how to use technology that can be used for frivolous activities or work. Both activities are good and it is up to the user to balance how they use them.

If people, domestic or abroad, do not have the access to technology clearly that is not their fault. It makes sense for others with the resources to try and help them by providing access to technology so they can participate in society. But, if people misuse what they are given only they are accountable.

A computer can be used for finishing homework, or playing games on the Internet all night. The decision of which activity takes precedence falls on the user.

Industry Issues Blog Number Four

The Setup

Video is now a center piece of journalism. It has become what written stories were before the 1950s: the king of mainstream media. Any respectable news outlet includes media on its website. Multi-media, specifically video, is not an option any longer. It is a requirement.

The use of video opens up a wide variety of options and issues for the modern journalist. Two articles recently released by journalism websites, NewsLab and Advancing the Story , explain the pitfalls and advantages of video use.

Using Video Online

Using video on the Internet can greatly enhance a media outlet’s ability to hyper-customize its viewers. An article that recently was published on NewsLab details how NBC is doing this with some of its online pages. It is custom making videos just for the web. Some outlets have been placing content online which they originally put out over the air. In fact, this is a common place practice. However, making web-original content is something that is fairly new.

The benefits to this is that it gives companies something to tease on their over the air broadcast and vice versa. They can use special online content to direct viewers to their main programming.

Fair Use?

One site that has been home to original content for years is YouTube. After major events take place video often goes up on YouTube. This happened after the Boston Marathon bombings.

The ethical questions about using video off the Internet is examined in a recent Advancing the Story article. Many news outlets will take video off the Internet to use in their nightly newscast if they are not able to get their own video.

As mentioned above, this happened in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. News stations across the country obviously were not in Boston and did not know that the event would be occurring. Most of the footage immediately available came from cellphone footage which was uploaded from the scene. News stations everywhere were pulling it off the web and putting it into their news rundowns.

The Issue

YouTube technically owns a stake in the content that is uploaded by its users. The users also sometimes claim rights in lawsuits.

The issue with a news station taking down footage off the net is that they don’t own it. This is a issue when lawsuits come into play. Since the stations do not own it they cannot claim that it is there. At the same time, those who upload the content have relinquished some of their privileges as the original shooter. This conundrum is an issue.

Conclusion

Video has changed the landscape of modern journalism. It has forever altered not only the over the air part of the industry, but also the online component. That aspect of the industry is growing and video use is growing right along with it.

Video is enhancing websites and causing issues for news stations who pull video off the Internet to use on the air. Often they can get away with it, but not always.

Video is an asset that can make or break a journalist.

LUTV Blog Reporter Blog Six

The conclusion of the semester is coming quickly at LUTV. I’ve learned a lot during the Super Semester. There have been some great experiences. When I think about all the hands-on experience I have gotten it is kind of mind blowing.

Since the last time I filed a reporter blog there have been some really significant news events and some fun experiences.

LUTV NFL Draft Show

LUTV Draft Show host Mike Morgan watches a monitor as other members of the draft show team discuss an upcoming pick behind him.

Photo by Brett McMillan
LUTV Draft Show host Mike Morgan watches a monitor as members of the draft show team behind him discuss an upcoming pick.

 

The night of the first round of the NFL Draft is one of my favorite of the year. LUTV puts on a four hour, live show. It is a lot of fun. There are so many things you have to account for when producing live TV. I was an associate producer this year, and I also had the privilege of sitting on the desk.

There were some intriguing picks this year, and we also had some fun elements for the show. There were awesome graphics, player VOs, and we had an interview with Randy Karraker.

Everyone involved seemed to have a really good time. I love the team atmosphere of draft night. The pace is also tons of fun. Everything develops quickly and it is fun to try and keep up with what teams are doing what.

The Daniel Boone Home

I had the chance to go to the Daniel Boone Home in Defiance, Mo. and film a few weeks ago. It was a really neat experience. I’ll be putting together a package on the property shortly after this blog is published. It is a beautiful place. Lindenwood has owned the home and the other historically significant buildings surrounding it since 1998.

The home is approximately 30 to 40 minutes from LU’s St. Charles, Mo. campus. Because it is so far away, a lot of people do not want to make the trip out. The story I’ll be putting together will detail what goes on at the multi-acre property. They do everything from school field trips, to weddings, to hosting Lindenwood classes.

The head tour guide gave me a private tour so I could shoot video for the story. I got to go into parts of the houses most people do not have access to. It was neat to see behind the scenes, because you can see places where families had update the houses over the years. Manny of the houses are older than the state of Missouri itself, but they were all lived in for most of their existence. It is really only recently that they have become museum pieces.

April 17th

I produced the news on Wednesday, April 17th. It was a long day filled with lots of emotions. Two days after the Boston marathon bombings we expected that to be our biggest story. It was a major part of our coverage, but sadly a tragedy closer to home ended up being higher in the A-block.

A Lindenwood freshman named Michael Black died in the early morning hours on April 17th. It was a difficult situation which required several debates in the newsroom about what was okay to report and what wasn’t. I will never forget that day.

LUTV Reporter Blog Five

Spring break came at a great time. A lot happened during the first part of the semester. There is much still to be accomplished as well. I’ve really been trying to dig in and come up with lots of story ideas since we are in the homestretch of the semester. Since the last time I filed a blog I have worked on some stories for LUTV. That work has been beneficial and rewarding.

Washington:

Something non-LUTV I got the chance to do before the break was to go to Washington D.C. with the Lindenwood chapter of the

Photo by Brett McMillan This is one of the many studios at SiriusXM's many Washington D.C. studios.

Photo by Brett McMillan
This is one of the many studios at SiriusXM’s many Washington D.C. studios.

National Broadcast Society. The convention was a hotbed for broadcasting knowledge. Professionals from all over the Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas came and share with us about their careers. Career advice was also offered. It was good to hear from people who work in all the different parts of the community. There were programming managers, on-air talent, sales account executives, and hiring directors. All of them were candid, but encouraging. I sat in on sports media panels, social media discussions, and was able to soak up lots of other media knowledge.

NBS also offered tours of professional media outlets. I toured SiriusXM radio. It was a truly awesome experience. Their facility is state of the art. Each station has a different studio. We interacted with on-air talent and were given a tour of the building. The internship was also explained during our visit.

Opening Day:

My favorite LUTV project post break was Alex Ferrario’s package on the St. Louis Cardinals opening day. We went downtown and got video of thousands of tailgater’s in Kiener Plaza.

Shooting this package was great because we were working alongside St. Louis professional media who were working in the same space we were. It was great to know we were covering the same event as them.

The light was harsh at first since we were outside on a very clear day. This situation gave me a great opportunity to work with the camera settings. Using the gain we got footage we were pleased with.

The interviews were great. We had three really dynamic people who were will willing to be filmed. One man was dressed up in brightly colored clothes and was dancing in Kiener Plaza. We found a woman who had been a Cardinal fan for decades, and another gentleman who was the ring leader of a group of tailgaters. We were very fortunate to run into Joe Brady and they rest of his tailgating posse on top of a parking garage.

They provided some nice B-Roll and a great story as well.

What’s Coming:

I’ve been working on a package on the Schnucks debit card breach. Putting it together has been enjoyable. I also did a VOSOT on the O’Fallon police department’s new police of putting shoplifters’ mug shots on the Internet. The package I haven’t shot yet, but think I will enjoy doing is one on the Lindewood owned Daniel Boone Home. That is set to air next week.

Industry Issues Blog Three

Defending Rights

Protection is a key part of journalism. The need for protection takes shape in several ways. At times, what needs protecting is the public. Other times, a journalist must protect him or herself from an outsider trying to destroy his or her credibility with the click of a mouse. A pair of articles demonstrates how journalist are staying on the cutting edge of technology in the fight to provide the public with the truth and protect themselves from fraud.

Live Lying

Media Shift’s Michael Cervieri recently wrote an article about Truth Teller, a new software in development that could soon be used to show inaccuracies in politician’s speech. It will pull information from the Washington Post’s reporting database to determine if what is being said may be incorrect.

This system may struggle to make a determination regarding intent of the speaker. In other words, it is a machine, and machines cannot determine motive. The program will not be able to tell if a politician is lying. It will however be able to flag areas of statistical or historical inaccuracy so a human being can examine the circumstances and make such a determination.

The program is supposed to make journalist’s jobs easier in the future. It is modeled after the music recognition, Shazam. It would record speech audio live and use an algorithm to match what it is taking in with what it knows. Then in real-time it shows what is correct and what isn’t.

The prototype that is available for public use at the “Truth Teller” link above is not perfect yet, but it shows the basic abilities of the program.

Truth Teller Criticisms

There are still issues that need to be resolved before Truth Teller can be used as a tool for future journalists. The most prevalent criticism is that the Washington Post database is not large enough to serve as a fact checking base. The post does a tremendous amount of political reporting, but one paper simply is not enough to maximize the true potential of Truth Teller. Resources from multiple media outlets and other groups must be combined to best serve the needs of Truth Teller.

Should Truth Teller reach its full potential the journalism profession. This is bad, because people are needed to frame the importance of an event such as a speech. People would know if someone was lying if they use the program, but without reporting before and after, the context might not be clear.

Two Is Better Than One

While Truth Teller is helping journalism protect the public, two-step verification is helping protect journalist.

Lauren Hockenson reinforced how important it is for journalists to protect their social media and email accounts in a recent article she penned for Media Bistro.

Two-step verification makes it nearly impossible for hackers to access other’s accounts. After a password is entered, a case specific code is sent to a device, such as a cell phone. That code must be entered to unlock the account.

Journalists of the future need to start using two-step verification now to protect themselves. Without it, hackers are a password away from controlling a journalist’s online identity.

LUTV Blog Log Four

An Important Day

One of the best days of the LUTV Super Semester occurred this past week. I got the chance to cover a story that was popping up all of the St. Louis area media. There were news outlets picking it up in other parts of the country as well.

We were all covering a couple that was charged with keeping their autistic child in a cage. The story was hard to believe. There were multiple children in the home in December 2010 when the police first found the child. The prosecuting attorney did not press charges at the time.

New evidence surfaced, so the current St. Charles County prosecutor decided it was appropriate to press charges.

Getting The Interview

The story was a VO/SOT. The county district Attorney Tim Lohmar agreed to meet with me at 1:30p.m. There were two hours between when the interview began and when the news went live. That left time in the morning to prepare for the afternoon and plan the other elements of the story.

Research

I spent an hour combing through the stories local and national media had posted in the few days prior. Doing so was very helpful. It gave me a flavor for how others had gone about telling the story.

I also used Google and Google Maps to find the house the alleged crime was committed in. Figuring out where it was resulted in a rush. Not only was it a good exercise in reporting to figure out what home the child was originally discovered in, but knowing its location also gave me the chance to get extra footage for the story.

B-Roll

Going to the house to shoot B-Roll was a really good experience. Critical thinking was a big part of putting shots together. I had to really plan out what I needed. The basement was a part of the story, because the boy was allegedly held there. I could not go in the house, or even step on the property. Instead I got shots of the basement window. There was a child’s chair on the porch so I took B-roll of that. A sign on the door announcing the presence of an autistic child also provided another shot which enriched the visual elements of the story.

No neighbors came out and asked what I was doing. This was surprising. Most people would come outside and inquire if a random man in a suit was standing in the middle of the street with a camera. No one did. Maybe nobody was home. Maybe the local media coming through a few days earlier had removed the need for questions. Either way I was glad I didn’t have to defend my presence there. However, I was prepared to do so. I made sure to stay on the street, because it is public property.

The Interview

Tim Lohmar was very pleasant. If your subject isn’t kind you still have to do good work, but doing that work is made far easier when the interview runs smoothly.

Lohmar offered good answers that weren’t canned. Overall, I was pleased with the finished product.

LUTV Blog Log Three

Overview

The LUTV Super Semester is still keeping me busy. There is a lot going on. Everyday offers a new challenge. That’s okay. I’d rather have it be busy than slow. There is certainly lots of learning happening on a day-to-day basis.

Producing

Producing days are long. I’ve learned a lot though. Getting in there early has really been great. I’ve isolated three key areas that every task in producing falls under.

1) Writing

Writing is a big deal. Newscasts live and die with the quality of writing the staff produces. Great video and graphics can only go so far. If there is great visual elements, but what is being spoken is confusing, than none of the visuals matter. Not only is the writing in the scripts important, but so is what appears on graphics. A grammar mistake or spelling error is one of the easiest ways to kill credibility.

2) Graphics 

Speaking of graphics, they’re important too. I want to increase the amount of visuals I have in any given newscast. The more there is for a viewer to look at the better. I have not had lots of OTS graphics in the newscasts I produce so far. In the future that is something that hopefully will be changing. Sometimes, it is difficult to find a graphic that we can make that is both legal and feasible to produce. I’m starting to get the feel for how we can better position ourselves though.

3) Video

A picture of the scorer's table at Lincoln University [Mo.]. I travelled there for KCLC radio and to take video for LUTV in late March.

A picture of the scorer’s table at Lincoln University [Mo.]. I travelled there for KCLC radio and to take video for LUTV in late March.

Producing is a constant hunt for video. If you don’t have it, you need it. If you think you have too much of it, you are crazy. Video makes everything look better, if it is good of course. I’d call video the Band-aid of the newscast. It covers the things you don’t want others to see. I’ve tried to push for as much video as possible every time I’ve produced. I’m not unhappy with the amount we’ve had recently. I just know there is always room, and need, for more. Everyone is always really great about going to get video which makes being the producer easier.

Reporting

I have done one package since the last time I filed a reporter blog. It was a fun one. I got to go out and cover a massive CPR course that was being held a few miles from Lindenwood. The organizers were really excited to have us there. That is never a determining factor in how or if we cover an event. It does however make working there a lot more enjoyable.

I have shot a couple VOSOTs as well since  the last time I filed one of these blogs. They are fun to shoot. I’m getting the hang of turning them around quicker too. However, framing an interview is sometimes troublesome when you are shooting by yourself. I just need to keep doing it and I will get a feel for it. I’m not displeased with the current result. It has been on-air presentable, but I’d like to tighten it up.

Media in Journalism

Separate But Equal

Media and journalism are synonymous aren’t they? You can’t have one without the other. Media is the various tools used to tell a story. Journalism is the art of constructing a story. Together the two are part of an elaborate dance that takes place on an hourly basis within our modern lives. Journalism is the creative side of story telling. Media is the technical component. Together the two create a story.

The Moving Picture

From a consumer standpoint, video is arguably the most popular storytelling tool modern journalist have. It also is a fickle medium. Video can quite literally show things audio and text cannot. However, it is painfully easy to tell the difference between a novice’s work and that of a professional. Video is very unforgiving.

A big reason it is so easy to mess up video is because the appetite of the modern viewer demands stories not only look good, but also be put together quickly. In “Telling great video stories, fast,” by Debora Wegner, of Advancing the Story, gives some helpful hints on how to put together a solid story.

Know What You Need

She says the most important thing to do is know what you are covering. The composition of your footage can be great, but it will mean nothing if you story lacks organization. In Super Semester classes, and in the textbook, the importance of planning out a story beforehand is preached. If you know what shots you need before you shoot you’ll have less of a headache when you sit down to edit.

Having a shot list or storyboard is a good way to ensure that you don’t forget to get everything you need while on a shoot. As a journalist becomes seasoned they won’t always need to write down the shots they need. Often veterans will keep mental notes, but for the inexperienced a hardcopy is usually a good idea.

The only way to truly focus strictly on storytelling is for the technical aspects of shooting to become completely second nature. The quickest way to accomplish this is to critique one’s own work. It is sometimes tough to do, but the benefits can be well worth it.

A Step Further

If some is good, more is better, right? Yes, at least when we are talking about media platforms it is. Video may be the current king of the media hill, but that doesn’t mean everything else is irrelevant. We do lots of combining of media in today’s world. In fact, you don’t even have to leave this site to find two mediums paired together.

The New York Times recently released a multimedia project which took approximately six months to create. The beauty of storytelling on platforms such as this is not only glorified in the Super Semester. It is also analyzed in “Snow Fall and the future of multimedia storytelling” by Deborah Potter from Advancing the Story.

Using more than one type of media when telling a story adds depth. The more ways you can present something, the more likely it is that your audience will gain a holistic understanding of your subject matter. The more options the better. However, it is possible the time it takes to put together a multimedia piece can take to long. If that is the case it is better to do less. Stunning work is negated by lack of timeliness.

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