Storytelling drives compelling video

Photos by Katie Sikora

Journalists expand skills at SEJ video workshop

Wet weather may have dampened Miami Wednesday, but it didn’t swamp the spirits of journalists attending the video workshop held by the Society of Environmental Journalists. Two metro stops and a bus ride from the convention headquarters at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami, more than 20 journalists poured onto the Coral Gables campus of the University of Miami, eager to add new skills to their journalists’ tool belts.

The ability to adapt is what allows organisms to survive, and the same is true of journalists looking to stay relevant in the changing media ecosystem.  Just as specialist plants and animals don’t fare as well in rough climates as their generalist counterparts, the same is true for today’s journalist.  The ability to produce video to accompany a story is what may make the difference between getting hired or not.  Not only is video reporting an important skill, but it is a great tool to supplement a story and grab a reader’s attention.

“Think of as a teaser for your written story,” said John Weller, a critically acclaimed photographer and videographer who was one of the instructors.  “The goal is to bring them into the story, give them a reason to read.”

The key to producing good video is asking the right questions, and getting the right shots.  Good video journalism requires advanced planning to make sure that the questions will produce compelling responses, and that the best shots will accompany the story.

Although the elements in creating video clips may seem complicated, telling a great story remains the ultimate goal. Dale Willman, leader of the video training workshop, said that the interview is still the most important part of the process. Other elements can be added to make the story more interesting.


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