Tips on doing Web video from Ricardo Lopez

Listen below to excerpts of advice Miami Herald visual journalist Ricardo Lopez (left) gave my online journalism class on Feb. 28.

I captured the audio with my Olympus DS-30 using a lav. The photo is from the new media panel during Comm Week. Will Payne, from Current TV, is on the right.

Wasserman: Can journalism live without ads?

Yes, I am few days behind in reading my journalism feeds in Google Reader, but here’s an interesting take from Ed Wasserman on the changing nature of journalism and advertising:

Can journalism live without ads? – Miami Herald

One interesting idea he mentions:

“Maybe the solution isn’t to escape the market, but to empower it. Modern computing offers unparalleled capacities to track and calculate. Imagine a vast menu of news and commentary offered to you ad-free for pennies per item, the charges micro-billed, added up and presented like a utility bill at month’s end. The money that journalism providers got would depend on their audience.”

It’s a reasonable idea and seems more palatable than other such concepts, but the general notion of charging for content online still raises questions in my mind.

Weigh in: What do you think about Wasserman’s ideas and what the future could hold for journalism’s financial support?

Liveblogging the Pulitzer panel (Comm Week)

Description from School of Communication site

Blog post announcing the event


Anders Gyllenhaal, executive editor of The Miami Herald and the panel’s moderator, began by giving an overview of the Pulitzer Prize. He noted that they will talk more about the craft than the actual stories.

Panelists (L-R):

(NOTE: Titles and links added after the event.)

7:26 p.m. and forward

Gyllenhaal: What do these prizes mean to the younger generation of journalists?

Sallah: “I think it’s the level of work that is required to win one of these prizes. It raises the importance of writing. It challenges you to do your very best as a writer or a reporter or an editorial cartoonist. Be the very best at your craft.”

“They help uphold the standards of our industry in way that other awards can’t do”

Oglesby: It gives journalists a reason to continue what they’re doing.

Blais: “A posh Bingo” is one way she’s heard it referred to

Morin: Gave a presentation of his cartoons and explained how his editor always mentioned the Pulitzers, but Morin never wanted to think much of it.

Ojito: Won for a series on race relations, which she said was geared for the award from the beginning–though no one explicitly said so.

“The most difficult thing was to find the people, find the characters.”


Blais didn’t understand the importance of collaboration a young reporter. She needed more eyes and ears to better understand and tell a story.

Ojito originally heard terrible things about journalism, but came to love it.

Oglesby told a story about him and Gene Miller traveling to Georgia for a story related to then-President Jimmy Carter. That experience showed him that he could do great things in the field.

“Each of you is unique. Each of you has something to offer. If you trust it and go with it, it will come out in time”

Sallah: “It’s important that people can trust you and know you are seeking the truth.”

His winning series at the Toledo Blade about Tiger Force in Vietnam taught him about the personal nature of reporting.

“Stories can turn on a dime and so much of it is luck. You need to convince them [sources] that you are there for the truth and you want to tell their story.”

There are certain parts of reporting that never die, he said. Shoeleather reporting is one of those.

Ojito: She doesn’t like going out to get general reactions to a story, but she does it.

7:53 p.m. and forward

Now, it’s on to audience questions…

Are there jobs in newspapers?

Gyllenhaal: It’s cyclical, but, “You have to work at it and develop the skills.”

Morin: Even though jobs may be sparse, as is the case with cartoonists today, send letters to editors and be persistent.

The panelists then answered more general audience questions ranging from having story ideas stolen as a freelancer to how not get too close to sources.

8:17 p.m.

Oglesby: “I think it’s very important to know yourself well and know your biases. … You need to be able to back off and get back into you objective mode.”

Ojito: “You’re not a reporter when you’re at work, you’re a reporter all the time–it’s how you live your life.”

If you look at everything, you’ll have more story ideas than you know what to do with, she said.

7:25 p.m. and forward

Blais: Advice from Edna Buchanan regarding when to stop persisting: She would call and say who she was, they would hang up, she would wait 60 seconds and call back. But what about a third time? “That would be harassment.”

Sallah: It’s even more difficult when people are grieving after losing a loved one.

“They sometimes want to open up. It’s a little bit of therapy for them. … You can really write a nice story and give his parents and friends some honor.”

You really are a psychologist in your job.

8:28 p.m.

How do you tell a source he/she can’t see your story?

Ojito: You should turn the question around, asking what they are concerned about. It’s ok to read back their quotes.

8:30 p.m.

Sallah: It’s OK to read back quotes, but you should only negotiate to a certain extent (i.e. if you’re certain about something). You can’t allow someone to backtrack from the heart of the story just because they don’t want it to be published.

“Be very careful in getting it right.”

8:36 p.m.

My question about not submitting awards or writing for awards because you should write for readers, not for other journalists–as Howard Owens and others have blogged about:

Oglesby: “This isn’t about winning awards. It’s about doing a good job and helping readers. If that is your goal, you can get satisfaction from the achievement every time. The award is not really important at all.”

Last thought:

Sallah: “Just don’t lose your heart for this. Don’t compromise.”

“News coverage of civil rights in Miami” panel (Comm Week)

I am taping this event and will be liveblogging. Here’s some background information.

From the Comm Week Web site:

News Coverage of Civil Rights in Miami

Panelists representing print and broadcast media will review the media’s coverage of civil rights issues from efforts to desegregate schools and public facilities to beach “wade-ins,” protests and riots that plagued the community on into the ’80s. How aggressive was the local media in covering the civil rights movement? What was it like for the first black reporters at Miami’s newspapers and television stations?

Panelists are:

C.T. Taylor, first black TV news reporter in Miami

Bea Hines, former reporter, The Miami Herald

Juanita Green, former reporter, The Miami Herald

Andrea Robinson, reporter, The Miami Herald

Garth Reeves, publisher emeritus, Miami Times

Bradford Brown, former president, Miami-Dade NAACP

Moderator, Beverly Counts Williams, former TV news reporter


2:58 P.M.

Garth Reeves‘ father founded the Miami Times, but he didn’t want to go into the newspaper business.

“One day you’ll find out how valuable this newspaper really is,” his father told him.

After he took over the Times, the younger Reeves began to face tough issues regarding coverage, but the paper had to be restrained in what it published.

“You were practicing journalism with your hands tied behind your back,” he said. “Now we have more kickass journalism. … I’m happy now because you’re as a free as bird.”

3:00 P.M.

C.T. Taylor grew up observing what was going in the community, reading the Miami Times and seeing its impact.

“I always wanted to be in journalism. I always wanted to be a radio announcer.”

He sat with his father and listened to games on the radio. Despite the obstacles, his father said you he could do anything he wanted to do.

“The doors to the media were shut and bolted” at white stations, he said. “But I kept my hope and desire.”

So, he went to a black radio station and they hired him to be a cleaner. While he wasn’t on the air, he kept at it and it paid off. One night, an announcer was drunk and didn’t show up for work. Just like that, he was the radio.

Eventually he became known as C.T. “The undisputed soul of the new breed.”

But he wasn’t satisfied–he wanted to be a TV reporter.

His chance, though not in front of the camera, came when a TV station wanted to hire him as a cameraman.

“I managed to get my black hand in the shot. Then I got a black ear in a shot, then I got the back of my head into the shot.”

Channel 4 saw this and wanted to put him on the air.


“It does not matter what your gender or what your race is,” he said. “The main thing is to be factual and truthful.”

You’re recording history, Taylor said, so you have to get it right.

3:11 P.M.

Bea Hines said that, while they may have hired Taylor to cover the riots, people accused her of starting the riots with her coverage while at The Miami Herald.

Her first day at The Herald was an interesting experience.

Hines went into the lunch room and everyone stopped eating. She went up to a Hispanic food worker who was impressed; he couldn’t believe she worked there.

3:20 P.M.

She was assigned to cover the riots in the early 80s because she knew the community. As she walked around, she ran into a man in a pool hall whose business was suffering as a result of the riots.

“My name is Iceberg Slim and I got hookers on the street,” he told her–and there was her first story–and it ran on the front page.

But her overall role was more difficult: “I had to change the way people saw us and the way people depicted Liberty City.”

3:26 P.M.

“They did what they had to do,” Brad Brown said of the journalists on the panel and their contemporaries. “They changed things.”

The NAACP in South Florida used to dissect stories in The Herald and gave TV stations lists of black doctors to have a variety of experts.

“It’s not just the truth, but the broader truth” that’s important.

NOTE: I stopped liveblogging to take some photos toward the end and unfortunately missed some great comments by The Herald’s Andrea Robinson. I will be sure to go back and add them to this post or include them in a video package.

New media reporting panel

New media reporting panel

Watch the live Web cast: Live Web cast

Suzanne Levinson — Miami Herald, director of site operations
Phil Lewis — Naples Daily News, editor & vice president of editorial
Ricardo Lopez — Miami Herald, visual journalist
Brent McDonald — New York Times, visual journalist
Will Payne — Current TV, College Outreach

Phil Lewis has been at the Daily News for 30 years. The dynamic started to greatly change when they hired Rob Curley (now at Washington Post).

“We blew up our newsroom and we took a third our newsroom and said, ‘You’re the print side,'” Lewis said. “We took two-thirds and said you’re our new media newsroom and everything you do goes to the Web first.”

Suzanne Levinson became involved with The Herald’s Web site in 1996.

“They felt so lucky to have an experienced journalist that knew HTML [to some extent].”

But their path has been different than the Daily News.

“We didn’t have a Rob Curley; we needed a Rob Curley,” she said, explaining that it was basically her and a few others on the online side advocating.

She said the tipping point for The Herald was when they realized ad revenue and circulation would continue to decline.

“Be willing to learn new things and be aware of the changing landscape,” she said as advice to students.

The new mindset of The Herald: “We all have open minds. It’s a change in the way they look at things, but they are all just journalists.”

Ricardo Lopez began with photography but evolved as a visual journalist. He learned new tools and began working with video and Web.

Will Payne is a part the newest outlet represented on the panel, Current TV. He discussed how their dynamic is different from traditional media.

Brent McDonald, of the New York Times, has a background in documentary film and was part of the Times’ multimedia pilot program in November 2005.

Discussing video journalism:
“It’s still a frontier and we’re still playing with how stories can be told. It’s still a collaborative process.”