MARIETTA, Ga.– There’s a story to be told about the stories being told by some of the newest additions to the staff at the oldest of the three major cable news channels, CNN.
While there was no shortage of naysayers when CNN announced in 2008 that it was hiring 10 all-platform journalists, there has been little done to examine their journalistic work product.
Does it matter that these s0-called APJs are shooting television news content differently?
Does it matter that they create a video news product that looks more like that of a newspaper employee doing video than a polished, broadcast “package” (a term often used for self-contained news report) even though they represent a newsroom whose core product is broadcast?
Are these journalists producing content that is worthy of journalistic recognition as examples of good storytelling?
The Man Implementing the Plan
These are questions that came to mind as I listened Saturday night to Victor Hernandez, who coordinates domestic news coverage for CNN. That includes directing the content of five so-called “all-platform journalists,” who essentially are one-person bureaus in various cities around the U.S.
Every time I come back to Kennesaw State, which is in Cobb County, my former residence, it’s like a homecoming. I spent the majority of my broadcast journalism career producing newscasts in this market, which at that time was the tenth largest in the nation, at a station that now is hiring what used to be called “one-man bands.”
For those non-journalists reading this post, a “one-man band” is a reporter who also shoots, edits his or her own content.
While Hernandez readily admits he “hates the term one-man band,” he clearly loves what his network is doing in creating reporters who create content that “move past the 1:30 quick and dirty.” (reference to the traditional one-minute, 30-sec television package that viewers have become accustomed to seeing in local and network newscasts).
Instead, the all-platform journalists may produce blog pieces like this, a video report exclusively for CNN’s highly successful Web site, CNN.com, a photo gallery with still images or all of the above.
The All Platform Journalists
This summer Jim Spellman spoke with Gary Faulkner who went to Pakistan to look for Osama Bin Laden. He produced an edited interview and then did what’s commonly referred to as “talkback” with CNN anchor Drew Griffin. This would appear to be very traditional broadcast news. But, it was the type of story that he turned that was different.
Spellman’s work on homeless children was highlighted by Victor in his discussion on Saturday night.
Another example of Jim’s work was a story about medical marijuana, which was a news package shot with a little unconventional, “edgy approach”