One-man-band field news acquisition got a big boost recently in the United States when Young Broadcasting announced it would begin training reporters, producers and even some anchors at KRON-TV in San Francisco and WKRN-TV in Nashville, TN, to become self-contained reporting/production machines.
While using video journalists (VJs) has gained traction with some news organizations abroad and at some smaller stations domestically, the announcement that KRON would begin using VJs by the end of the year elevated the visibility of and discussion about one-person-crew video journalists.
More reporters on the street, filing more stories with more footage will broaden the station’s coverage of San Francisco communities and give the station a leg up on the competition.
However, moving to VJs isn’t all about numbers and story counts. It will allow VJs to develop beats — something newspaper reporters have long done but an impractical extravagance for overstretched TV reporters who must dash off to the next story.
The station will continue traditional coverage of city hall and the police, but using VJs will also let KRON develop geographical beats to enhance its local coverage.
The transition to VJs is happening at the same time that KRON is moving to HD origination. Current plans call for the station’s VJs to go into field with Sony HVR Z-1 HDV camcorders. HDV delivers sufficient HD quality for field acquisition, according to KRON president and general manager Mark Antonitis.