No editor, no cry (blog)

No editor, no cry (blog)
May 2, 2013 Sam Allen
A young journalist crying, presumably after learning a valuable lesson.

A young journalist crying, presumably after learning a valuable lesson.

As the Extreme Team 13’ wraps up its final story package on Friday, it’s only natural for us to look back on how far we’ve come. We started out, a rag-tag-I-don’t-want-to-work-with-you-team, with a widely unread website. Now, we are finishing strong with a, rag-tag-I’m-only-working-with-you-so-I-don’t-fail-team, with a widely unread website.

Have we gotten better? Yes. Can we still get better? Yes. Am I going to continue with this line of questioning? No.

For my final story I am doing a character profile on musician and substitute teacher Isaac Paris. I interviewed him on Tuesday about his upcoming CD release party in the Pub. I only had one goal through the entire experience; try not to cry.

Two golden snub-nosed monkeys in captivity outside of Xi'an, China.

Two golden snub-nosed monkeys in captivity outside of Xi’an, China.

I shot the interview in the crow’s nest in the Wood Center. The hardest part about filming in the crow’s nest is that it’s approximately 17,000 degrees up there, lugging video equipment up the stairs is the equivalent of climbing Kilimanjaro with a Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey strapped to your back, and asking the frozen Alaskan thawing up there to move is like asking for more when you’re Oliver Twist.

Paris and I talked for over an hour about open mic nights in across the nation, the solipsistic music community in New York City, stand up comics, and how to get through those performances where the audience doesn’t like you. He gave me his CD,  I ran to the journalism lab, listened to the whole thing, and started editing my video of him for the next eight hours.

Since it is my last story for the Extreme Alaska website, I shared it with the class on Wednesday, so I could get some feedback and make improvements to it before my final upload on Friday. I admit, I was nervous to show my video, but criticisms are just apart of the pedagogical experience.

Some of the criticisms went like this:

-Rule of thirds is off.

-Transitions are weak.

-Need more b-roll.

-Sound is hot.

-More natural sound.

-Get a shot of his hands!

-Get a transitioning shot of his hot, natural third hand.

I might have imagined the last one, but either way, I woke up in a cold sweat last night with it running through my mind.

It’s rather difficult listening to several people point out flaws and issues with my video, especially after I spent all night working on it, but I knew that it was these criticisms that would make me better. Or send me spiraling into a deep solipsistic depression. Or both.

As a journalist, learning by failing and getting as much feedback as possible will help me grow. It’s also a personal pedagogical imperative not to cry myself to sleep every night. Extreme Alaska head editor and teacher Lynne Lott often repeats, “The editors that helped me the most, were the ones that made me cry.”

Tonight I am filming Paris’ CD release at the Pub to get video of Isaac playing music and to interview members of his band. Later tonight, I will be editing the video and not be going to the premier of Iron Man 3 because I am a responsible journalist, who isn’t afraid to cry.


by Sam Allen, Extreme Alaska


  1. Annie Bartholowmew 5 years ago

    Sam your video was awesome even before the improvements! Thanks for showing what we’re capable of as students and setting a great example.

  2. Micheal Ives 5 years ago

    Luckily Sam, there IS crying in journalism. I mean…some people have made quite a name thanks to it (cheers Anderson Cooper!) haha
    Nice write up. Agree and feel your pain and gain.

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