Sunday, May 22

Reframing ONE-MAN BANDS as VJs

Today more and more "one-man bands" are popping up in local TV news.

Recently KRON-TV in San Francisco announced it would begin using video journalists, a term some would call a euphemism for one-man bands in broadcast news.

During my time as a broadcast journalist I always functioned as one of these one-man bands. OMBs were typical in small television markets because of the lack of money to hire shooters. Most of the OMBs I know today (as was the case when I was field reporting) long to move on to bigger markets. They want to ditch the gear and hand over the technical work to a photographer while they polish their on camera performance.

But digital ENG technology has replaced the days of lugging around heavy equipment with easy to use, lightweight DV cams. Now management in top 10 markets have good reason to adopt one-man bands.

Some college faculty members are suggesting OMBs are a key part of the future of broadcast news. They say someone who can shoot, edit and report well will have a clear advantage in the job market.

In 1996, during my graduate studies at the University of Kansas I tackled the subject for a research report in a television seminar. I interviewed a number of TV news execs (from Kansas City to Pittsburgh, from local newsrooms to corporate headquarters). Each acknowledged the financial payoff of OMBs and how technology would make it an effective option. Most agreed with the prediction that OMBs would find their way into larger and larger markets.

Some people blame/thank the move on technology. Others blame the renewed popularity of OMBs on Michael Rosenblum. He's credited with reframing the one-man band concept and coining the term video journalist (from my day a VJ was the on camera talent introducing videos on MTV). Rosenblum has been described as being on the cutting edge of the digital 'video-journalist' revolution for more than a decade. He is on of today’s most influential teachers in the digital video journalism field.

Is the VJ the trend aspiring journalists should follow? Should we encourage them to shoot for the reframed OMB positions in this age of media convergence? Should college programs refocus emphasis on video journalism?

Here are some online links to reference as I encourage people to consider the possibilities:

One-man-bands coming to KRON-TV

Birth of the Personal Journalists

What's a One-man Band?

One-Man Reporting Band

The Man Behind the VJ Movement

One-Man "Video Journalists" Coming to Local TV News

Strike Up the One-man Band

Rise of the One-man Band


Exploding TV: one-man bands
Trend in TV journalism swinging back to one-man bands
DV Dojo

DV Democratizes TV

Have Camera, Will Travel

RTNDA Education Program

Broken News

The Good Old Days

The Rise of the Independent Video Journalist

Is The Platypus Just Cheap Labor ?

Weathering the Storm

Backpack Journalists

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