Newsroom staffers serve two masters these days — readers of the news printed on the big, noisy press in the back room and readers who fire up their computer each morning to see what’s going on. That dictates how reporters and editors spend their time. What was not so important 30 years ago can be vitally important today.
A case in point is video footage. In an effort to serve our website viewers we often carry video cameras with us while on assignment in addition to the still cameras, pens and notebooks,
Thursday morning there was discussion on the law enforcement scanner that the Brainerd Warrior Dance Team would receive a police escort of out town in just a few minutes. Now that’s usually not “stop the presses” sort of news. However Brainerd Dispatch website guru Denny Newman and I looked at each other and had the same thought — a police car with flashing sirens escorting our high school dancers out of town would make a nice video for our readers.
So off I went with a video camera, jogging past Wendy’s and crossing Washington Street in order to get a close-up shot of the short parade. As I waited in front of Heartland Tire, it looked like I was waiting for a bus. My young friend Kenny works at Heartland Tire and I was half expecting him to come out ask if I was lost or just confused.
So the big moment finally came. The motorcade was on the overpass to the west with sirens blaring. As the dance team bus and its police escort came within range I filmed a few seconds only to have the screen go black. The batteries were to low, even though they had tested all right back at the office.
The result was no video for our readers that morning and I returned to my more mundane task of electronically shufffling news releases and preparing stories for both the print and web audiences. Regardless of of which audience we’re aiming at journalists will always have their share of false starts, dead ends and near-misses. It’s just that now we share both our successes and failures with a much broader audience.