Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade
February 24, 2015 Eric Bennett

Burton Davis, the shooter in the case, on a video broadcast from Fairbanks Correctional Center to the Rabinowitz Courthouse.

The News-Miner reporter’s primary goal that day was getting a picture of a man who had shot someone during a home invasion in order to have a visual to go along with his article about him.

Attending the arraignment at Rabinowitz courthouse, I found myself drawing comparisons between the newspaper reporter approach and a television journalist already there.


Does the high quality of video and audio from a camera defeat the use of a reporter’s own eyes?

The reporter I accompanied from the News-Miner carried a voice recorder, a laptop, a point and shoot digital camera, a notebook and a pen. The person from the television news had a video camera set up on a tripod. While the paper reporter spent the entire arraignment session taking notes on her laptop and trying to get a good shot of the people she needed while they were on the broadcast from jail, the newscast reporter sat by their camera, which was pointed at the broadcast and apparently were messing around on their phone and not paying attention.

From these observations alone, what can be said about the increases of journalism technology? Does having a big device that captures all information about the scene at the same time make a reporter lazy? Maybe. The paper reporter essentially had all the same capabilities as the film reporter, but it was broken down into multiple tools that required much more manual input.


An arraignment can have a lot information that a reporter must convey in their report.

In the end, the consumers of their individual reports may be getting very different products. Having not seen either of the reports at the time, I can’t say for certain, but I can make guesses. The film reporter probably edited together a 30 second to one minute video report that had to be ready by the broadcast that night. The paper’s reporter maybe wrote 200 to 300 words and possibly had till midnight to get it finished.

I think that while the film reporter had the technology to make the report easier and faster to get done, the paper reporter, since they seemingly were more engaged with the story, will be able to tell a more clear report.

This one situation does not give a lot of positive points towards film reporter, but there’s always the variables of each individual reporter or the depth of the story they cover. I think video reporting, using a mass of technology to tell the story is better at providing an exact view of a situation, while the story-telling skills that a paper reporter with lesser technology requires can give a lot more background and interpretive answers to the situation.

Eric Bennett
Eric Bennett has lived in Alaska all his life and is a senior journalism student with a particular interest in copy editing. He loves reading about the yakuza in the news and generally all spooky things, true or not.

1 Comment

  1. David Spindler
    David Spindler 3 years ago

    Yes, I do think video reporting does bring out the essence of a news covering story but like you said, the story-telling skills of a paper reporter carries a lot more background information and gives more interpretive answers to questions readers have.

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