Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nothing Yet

I've been working with iNews this year. This spreadsheet-ish type program coordinates the pieces of a newscast, showing editors what video clips need to be built, showing directors and producers how the show will flow and how long written pieces and videos run, and, in general, tying together the work of many people in assorted rooms and on different floors. With iNews, I can get clip numbers and notes from producers and writers that essentially give me a roadmap for how to work, even if I am sitting in an edit room alone.

Quite often, news stories connect directly to one or more videos that exist on the major news sources. Sometimes, however, if the newscast is taking a different approach, I will see the note "nothing yet," meaning there's no matching footage. So, I move on, creating other videos for stories that already have video.

The thing about the "nothing yet" note is that it rarely stays until the broadcast. Sometimes, it is replaced with the name of a video clip--many stories just need a few hours to have video released about them--so I build it. Sometimes, I am directed to use photos--a reasonable substitute if there is no moving video. Sometimes, the story is made "on-cam"--while a picture (or video) may be worth a thousand words, a story can still be worth telling, even if the anchor is just telling it. And once in a very long while, the story is simply removed from the show.

The point is, "nothing yet" rarely means that the producer has given up on the story. It simply means that there is not a simple solution. Throughout the day, a new search or a new way of thinking usually produces results. "Nothing yet" is not an answer--it's just a temporary placeholder.

If we were to give up looking every time we couldn't easily find the "pictures" we wanted, we wouldn't have much of a story to tell most days. The best stories happen when we hang in, look at things from a different angle, and apply what we know to finding what we know might be out there. Stopping at "nothing yet" leaves us with, well, nothing. Going beyond "nothing yet" gives us the chance of creating endless new stories, often complete with pictures AND video.

It's not about living by spreadsheet, or coming up with the flashiest "pictures." It's about remembering that, in news and in life, "nothing yet" is far more than "nothing."

No comments:

Post a Comment