Friday, October 19, 2007

Another (small) hurdle to consider ...

When training your staff to do multimedia.

The "amateur issue."

Meranda Watling, a recent graduate of Kent State, I believe, and now working for the Gannett paper in Lafayett, Ind., blogs about how whipping out that small camera she's been issued makes thing see so, well, so "amateur."

Actually, not to make light of this. It is a psychological barrier we have to consider. People who consider themselves professional also have certain images of self and surroundings. It's tempting to just say "do it," but if you want real buy-in, you don't sell this short.

Watling's comment:

Let me tell you how much I hate our (the paper’s) point and shoot cameras. Doing head shots, I do not mind and prefer a point and shoot. In fact, I often times just use my personal one for the schools page mugs just because a) it’s smaller, b) I don’t need to sign it out, and c) it’s always on me so I can grab mugs & quotes any time I’m out on another assignment rather than having to set aside time for that.

But when they ask me to use the cameras to take a real picture? It’s embarrassing.

I know, I know. It shouldn’t be right? But that comment up there is exactly how I feel, like an amateur.
Watling was writing off a post by Cyndy Green, who had done some training at the Canton Repository, a Gatehouse paper (and Gatehouse new media chief Howard Owens is verrrry big on equipping everyone with the small stuff).

Green writes:

Their two major concerns weren’t even technical. Concern number one was just how would they get subjects to agree to be “on camera” with such a small camera (Exilim), given that they are not in a broadcast market (nearest market is Cleveland about 50 miles away) and the locals either weren’t used to video interviews or were outright uncooperative. Concern number two was time management - how could they fold this new technology and its demands into their work routines.

The small camera issue was also brought up by the photo staff. Professional gear brings with it a perception by the public that you are professional. Prosumer gear/consumer gear can create a different perception. The only two comments I could reassure them with were that with time the local community would get used to the smaller cameras and change their expectations - but that it was also in how they carried themselves. The professional attitude does contribute to the professional look. A pro has a certain self-assurance - a stance - that says they are here to work. Amateurs uncertain. When I brought this up with Kathy Newell, she said that since 911 most of the pro photogs in Sacramento took to wearing their dogtags/press credentials all of the time. This might have to be the case when a staff makes the move to the smaller cameras - it helps telegraph who they are.

Just some things to think about as we go about doing this. It's always good to remind ourselves that there are issues lurking we might not have thought about -- or at least thought about a lot.

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2 Comments:

At 10/21/07, 12:29 PM, Anonymous Howard Owens said...

See my comment on Meranda's post.

It's not that these issues haven't been thought about, it's that they're non-issues compared to the bigger strategic considerations.

 
At 10/21/07, 1:28 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

That's why I said "small" thing. But I do think strategic considerations can't override these small things. I've seen too many big things get undermined because we didn't think about the small things, too. These are the kinds of things that can slowly and invisibly erode progress. I've seen it happen in too many cases. The post was just a reminder not to forget these things we might not necessarily think about while keeping our eye on the big things. It wasn't a reason not to do them.

 

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