Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Go Stop Go

Dear RTV-ers,

It's the first day of my 3rd week at KMGH. I am really starting to fall in love with Denver, which makes the news here all more more interesting. My internship has been a mix of busy learning and speedbumps, where all of the sudden I have to slow down and stay off to the side. The trick is finding your own mentor(s) in the newsroom.

I work Tues nightside, Wed dayside, and Thursday dayside... Last Wednesday I met someone who I see becoming one of my mentors. Shane is an executive producer who has only been at KMGH for 2 months. He's been working with me one-on-one to improve my script writing skills. We started out by picking out some AP stories for me to rewrite... After my first draft we went over how I could improve each one.

I never realized just how concise readers have to be! It really comes down to pulling the most important info, "the meat of the story" and announcing it right off the bat. I have been struggling with when to attribute --at UM this past year I have been combating my tendency for passive voice by adding in attribution before each fact I bring up-- the problem with this is that all of my sentences start to fall into a monotonous pattern. for example, "officer John Doe says...." This example is great to have as long as the next sentence doesn't start the same way. I keep running into this problem because when I shorten important stories, I often end up citing one source's fact after another source's bite (SOT)...

But most of all, to improve my broadcast-style writing I just need practice. I'm still not getting it right the first time, but every story I write I am catching more of my own mistakes. What I really need, and finally am getting, is the one-on-one teaching to go over everything I write, give me suggestions, and be willing to go over my next draft too. At UM Denise gives me great advice on this but she has soo many other students to work with too. Admittedly, everyone in the newsroom is too busy for me at one time or another, but Shane worked with me right after he finished producing the 9am show that day.

Shane has given me a lot of insight on how & when I can get the best stuff for my resume tape. He talked to the weekend morning crew he works with and they are more than willing to help me record myself anchoring/reporting in the studio after one of their 9am shows. This is a huge hook-up for me, as even the studio chairs are sacred here. Shane has offered to help me prepare for this by helping me produce and write material for me to anchor and report...

this all sounds great! the only downside to these opportunities is that it means coming in at 3 or 4 am on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning. But if I've learned anything from the reporters who have come to UM as guest-speakers, it's those odd-hour opportunities that allow you to get your foot in the door. It sounds like coming in that early, I would be able to do more hands-on learning. And the few morning crew people Shane has introduced me to are soo friendly and helpful. I'm going to come in on a Saturday some week soon, and possibly switch one of my other shifts to this morning-side shift, where there are no other interns, but lots of helpful crew, and the show is a little bit more relaxed then too... they even get free breakfast because they have a guest chef every weekend morning.

I've also found a potential reporter mentor... I've been watching 7newscasts regularly, with particular interest in the reporters who do great packages. Most of my favorite packages have been done by Lane Lion. (cool name, huh?) I admire his writing style and he turns packages regularly. I spoke to him this morning about shadowing him through every step of a package next week. Before this encounter I had only briefly met him, so I was nervous to approach this busy man. But he was really flattered and excited that I would like to work with him. I plan on following up these plans next week.

One of the main reasons I chose to intern at KMGH is the 7 positions they rotate you through. 3 of these positions only require a one day rotation. I am completing those this week.

I am doing the "Production rotation" for the 10pm news tonight. KMGH uses ParkerVision and Ignite programs to run the production booth. I've sat in and watched this once before, but the thousands of screens and buttons in those rooms are still foreign to me.

Tomorrow I am doing the "Call 7 For Help" rotation. This has not been a favorite of the other interns, as you get many complaint calls. But I'm still looking forward to experiencing it so that I am familiar with every area of KMGH.

and Thursday I will be doing the "Graphics Art rotation." KMGH uses Deko for this, (along with inews) so hopefully I will have a little bit of an advantage going into this, because I at least know what Deko is.

I am really enjoying my transcriber & pre-editing job at High Noon Entertainment too. I work with Avid there and I am finally meeting friends around my own age in Denver on my lunch hours there. Ray, just out of curiosity, would it be possible to split my intern hours between High Noon and KMGH?

1 comment:

University of Montana Radio-Television Department said...

Sounds like you're having a good time. I'm sorry but we'll have to stay with just the TV station. It's too far along to add the second place. Keep working hard and remember to keep your eyes and ears open.