It was to be our first night with the teen Pulse journalists in The Herald-Mail TV studio.
And that night, nearly two weeks ago, I learned the biggest lesson in the difference between broadcast and print — time.
As our Pulse journalists worked during the past year toward making the switch from print to broadcast, I’ve been learning alongside them. I can teach them journalistic basics, but I ordered several broadcast journalism textbooks, so I had more broadcast-oriented lessons. And anytime any member of the digital department could spare an informational nugget or two, I was collecting them like rare precious stones to share with the class.
I had taken the time to plan for that evening. My teens knew their duties — Washington County Technical High School senior Brett Welsh was going to interview on camera, while Boonsboro High School senior Courtney Bradford was going to help with the pre-interview, off-screen interview, and Williamsport High School freshman Evan Torres and Tech High senior Justin Dalmau would be our cameramen. Our interviewee, Sara Farmer, Miss Western Maryland Outstanding Teen, was on time and also ready to go.
This was going to be easy-peezy.
What I thought was that we’d throw up a camera, turn on a few lights and thrown them to a countdown and in five minutes, we’d be in and out during our regular one-hour meeting time, right?
Earlier in the day, producer Dustin Lawyer suggested a two-camera shoot because we were sitting down in the studio. Two cameras? I really don’t think he saw the fear in my eyes because we’re still learning to master one camera.
Then that night, producers Vincent Sarageno and Chris Stone were just going to help set up. But they stayed to the end, teaching along the way.
We learned about the importance of lighting. We learned how to correctly frame a person when filming, especially in a two-camera format. We learned how to get the color balance. We learned how to use the clapboard and why you really needed it. We learned about sound and the best way to mic a person, and when equipment isn’t working, how to improvise.
It was a lot of work. In print, you worry about if you have enough pens that work and if you have a notebook with enough clean pieces of paper.
Once the cameras got rolling, it was like the Pulse team was a bunch of professionals. It was a wonderful interview with Sara. We’ll be editing that video soon, so look for it on an upcoming edition of Herald-Mail Headline News.
From start to end, filming took nearly two hours — a gross underestimation on my part.
My biggest worry was in the chaos of the evening, the teens didn’t soak in anything. So when we met last week, I asked them to write on our huge write-on, wipe-off board in our conference room what they learned that night. They filled up three boards.
And for that, I would have waited forever.
Crystal Schelle is Lifestyle editor of The Herald-Mail and coordinator for the Pulse teen journalism program. She is searching for more teens to join Pulse. She can be reached at 301-791-7136 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @hm_lifestyle or @crystalschelle.