I just started my new role as a broadcast journalist, or in short, ‘BJ’ (that’s how the industry calls it, don’t think dirty). This new move comes after having spent the last one year and three months as a business writer, where I’ve written for the daily and weekly paper, as well as for our online site.
A few of us were rotated to the TV team (currently just webcast for now) for a week each previously last year, and when I was asked (early this year) if I was keen to do this full time, I remember replying the senior managing editor: “I would love to take up this new challenge if possible.”
It’s heartening to know the team has selected me to join them on a permanent basis, so thank you guys.
Broadcast journalism, while still a part of journalism, is quite a different ballgame altogether.
Gone were the times where I can give 700-1,200 words stories. My print editors would be so happy as they no longer have to edit my long-ass pieces now. In BJ, the script or story has to be short, sentences short too (so you won’t be out of breath when you read it out loud), concise; and most importantly written in a broadcast-friendly manner that is easily understandable by the audience, while ensuring they keep their attention on you.
It is also about the presentation of the video clip. Graphics (of numbers and sorts), pictures, and footages of what you will be talking about on your script – they are all important as they add life to your story. In the few assignments I’ve gone out to, the things I ‘watch out’ for now are rather different. I am now more aware of the surrounding, the event set-up, the people, what are they doing… taking mental notes from the moment I step foot into my assignment of what I want to include in my TV script.
From spotting interesting spots and stuff, to doing a live ‘stand-upper’, to…
This also applies to statements made by people. In print, I would have a little more time to transcribe. But for BJ, I would need to know already there and then at the assignment what quotes (of the person speaking) I will be inputting into my script and video as I will not have the time to slowly re-listen when I’m back in the office.
So, really, coming up with a script is almost like… a power point slide. Where you try to relay your message across in the most enticing and easy to grasp manner. I like it, as I feel in control of something that has a balance of content and creativity (in its very own form of substance). Articulation now is not only in the words in your story, but also in your voice and graphics shown.
In terms of assignments coverage, it is also wider now. In my two weeks so far, I have covered a car launch and a bank product launch, assignments that the daily paper usually might not send me to.
Now that said, I am aware that my one year of business reporting and writing has played a huge role in making my transition into broadcast journalism a smooth(er) one. And for this, I have my print editors to thank for – for their initial guidance in how to approach press conferences, watching out for Bursa announcements, the market, and key questions to ask in interviews.
Many in the industry have told me that it’s easier to transition from print to broadcast, than broadcast to print. I am glad that I started off from print first, but I do know that I need to work a whole lot on my delivery i.e. projection and intonation of voice when I’m doing my voice over (VOs).
While the team, made up of seasoned broadcasters, did not come back any finance or business reporting background, I’m psyched to learn the ropes of broadcasting 101 from them. Content, to me, is super crucial, but my focus in these coming weeks will be on honing my presentation and delivery skills.
I’m enjoying myself in my new role thus far. I’ve always been curious to have a taste of what broadcasting feels like, and honestly didn’t think I would have a quarter of my foot in anytime soon, or even ever. Am grateful for the opportunity.
Yes, I have missed asking endless questions and writing intensively. In short, I will miss the depth. But I also know that to do well in this role, I have to fully seep in the new role, focus, and not compare.
To end this post, I’m attaching two videos I’ve done in the last two weeks.
The first, a car launch… it was my first time covering a car launch, by the way. My VO and stand-upper here is horrible! Amateur-ish… But, better to start from the worst as it will only get better from there, I always believe! Plus, mummy says it’s good to have old videos or copies when I’ve just kick-started something new, so I, as well as people can see how much I’ve improved when I do get better.
The second, a rather impromptu interview as we only caught the guy during a conference. Despite this, I like how it turned out… it’s very ‘raw’ and imperfect (done in one take, guys!) save for the final conclusion bit where I forgot to wrap it up during the interview, and thus having to take it after the guest left. Am happy overall, nonetheless, as the content was self-driven, questions which were thought of minutes before the interview.
Alright, I’ll stop here… shan’t write too long now, as it’s still pretty premature for me to comment much in its early days… Am keeping positive in this new challenge, do stay tuned guys!!