Okay, I can hear you talking to your computer screens now, calling this idea (and me) crazy. Photojournalists hoof it all day, bust their butts, are exhausted at the end of it and don’t need more work with no reward. Hear me out though. This is meant to help you keep perspective.
Perspective on what? Why you hoof it all day, bust your butt and work yourself to the bone. There is an art to your craft. Artists need time to just create. I am not saying turn a piece every week or month. But when a story really gnaws at you and you shot the heck out of it and only a small part of your great video was used, save the video and turn a photo essay. Even if you will probably get a “No” answer, give it to an EP and ask where it could air. Put the piece on YouTube. Show it to your spouse or your favorite reporter. Send a link to the photojournalist that inspired you to become one yourself. Post a link on the SurviveTVNewsJobs Facebook page. Experiment and take ownership in having a piece that is just yours.
Too often nowadays TV news is a grind. You churn and burn and it feels hollow. You end your day wondering, “Did I make a difference at all?” Great pieces can and do come along that keep the fire alive, but sometimes you get in a rut. This is a way to keep you focused. It is a way to remind you, and the reporters you work with, that TV is worthless without your video and audio. It helps you push yourself to improve your storytelling. It can also lead to other opportunities. I know a great photographer with many Emmys who was able to prove he could also write and associate produce, in part, by putting together well thought out photo essay pieces. It also feeds the artist in you. We fellow TV journalists need to see your perspective in this way sometimes. It helps us remember the true power of this medium too. So please, turn an occasional photo essay, for all of us.