VJ training reveals pain points

I dropped by WRKN-TV Wednesday for an update on the VJ training. I’m happy to report that no one has died yet, although anchor Neil Orne is sporting a few whiskers (apparently he’s facial follicle challenged).

The photo on the right shows GM Mike Sechrist and VJ guru Michael Rosenblum watching a piece done by VJ-in-training Todd Dunn. Nice stuff. Dunn is a photojournalist, so his challenge is the writing. Trust me, though, he’s doing just fine. With the reporters (“talent”) taking the training, the biggest hurdle is the editing, not the shooting. Everybody reports that the cameras are easy-to-use and make outstanding pictures. Todd noted that he’ll never again have to walk backwards to shoot a subject that’s moving (e.g. a “perp” walk), because the LCD screen flips. “I’ve yet to look through the viewfinder,” he told me.

They’re shooting and editing primarily feature stories, which is one of the fruits of the VJ concept — less emphasis on spot news and more emphasis on depth. The challenge will be to create shows that still have pace, but that’s why God made producers. The Pinnacle editing software is robust and complex, and it will be the biggest challenge for stations that move to the VJ model. However, once the learning curve is overcome, everybody in the newsroom will be capable of single-handedly putting material on-the-air, and that will dramatically alter the workflow.

(Disclosure: WKRN-TV is a client.)


  1. Terry, ‘how soon before we see the fruits of this labor? Is there a sneak preview coming to a blog near you soon?

  2. At least one piece has already run, and you’ll see more next week. I think the strategy is to back into it and not make any big “ta-da” announcement. Training concludes at the end of September, so they’ll be running full tilt by then.

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