The one-man band

Last Thursday was a good reminder to me of how much reporting has changed. I do some communications work for our local rescue mission, and Thursday I covered an event where they were receiving a major donation check.

368px-One_man_band,_CDV_by_Knox,_c1865Not that long ago, this would have meant taking notes to write a news story, and shooting a few pictures. This day, I brought along a 35mm DSLR camera that also shoots HD video; a tripod; an iPhone; a laptop computer; and a notebook. That’s basically everything you need to report a story and immediately broadcast it to the whole world from wherever you are.

For the event, I set up the camera on the tripod and shot video of the speakers. I’d periodically take the camera off the tripod and shoot B-roll of the audience, or still photos. When I needed to shoot a still photo while I was recording video, I used the iPhone.

As the event finished, I shot more still photos with the DSLR, did a quick interview with a couple of the organizers and took notes. (I could have used a voice recorder for this, but with short interviews I still just take notes – it saves time later.)

Then I drove to a nearby McDonald’s to grab lunch, and my car became my newsroom. As I ate cheeseburgers, I transferred photos and video from the camera to the laptop. I edited a couple of photos in Adobe Lightroom on the laptop and, using McDonald’s free wi-fi, posted those and a brief story to the mission’s Facebook page.

Now I had an hour before I had to be at an unrelated meeting. So I drove to a nearby public library where I could use a desk and plug in the laptop, and rough-edited the video in Adobe Premiere into a 2-minute story.

I’d finish the video when I got home that night and upload it to YouTube. While it was uploading and processing, I wrote a 300-word news story and edited three other photos in Lightroom. I posted the story and photos on the mission’s website, and embedded the video code on the same page. And finally, promoted the package on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

For the missionary wanting to report timely stories from the field, this all represents a fantastic opportunity. We possess the greatest set of story reporting tools mankind has ever known. Why would we not want to use them? Just being able to write, or shoot photos, or produce video isn’t enough. Ministries that want to effectively tell their stories will invest time and money to learn all of these skills.

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