“Let there be light, sound, drums, guitar.” Let there be a news report?

AC/DC’s “Let There be Rock” may not be the be the best analogy for journalism, but you do need light (a picture), sound, and sometimes music for a captivating multimedia report. However, to truly captivate the audience, there are many questions that need to be answered. Will you have voice over narration? What will you use for transitions?

Before, ESPN was known for Sportscenter, baseball, and College Gameday.  Then, ESPN added a show called E:60 in October of 2007. The show airs once a week, and is like the CNN and BBC news of ESPN. E:60 covers stories that investigate the lives of notable athletes, as well as reporting on sports stories that do not receive much media attention. For example, Jeremy Schapp did an investigative report called “Athletes of Bahrain” ESPN E:60’s “Athletes in Bahrain” Report , which tied in Bahrain athletics with the protests that occurred last February. The report told the story of A’ala Hubail, a renowned soccer player in Bahrain, whose poltical beliefs and involvement in the protests, which led to his banishment. ESPN “pulled out all the stops” in producing this video. Music, still images, time lapse shots, bold subtitles, and news clips were all used to grab the audience’s attention. My favorite feature was the bold subtitle. The subtitles put a dramatic emphasis on Hubail’s quotes, as well as help to provide an emotional effect. The words “torture” and “beating room” still leave a lasting image, and gain sympathy from the audience.

Sometimes, music is unnecessary or too distracting. Local news broadcasts are an example of presenting a story where music is not necessary. Let’s examine KOMU’s story about Columbia Transit possibly eliminating the Black and Gold routes in order to make cuts on the city’s transit budget (Bye bye Black and Gold Routes?). Notice, they did not use music. Instead, KOMU used a bar graph to get their message across. According to KOMU, the Black and Gold routes account for around 800,000 of the 858,009 transit passenger ridership. Since, this is an important story to the local community, KOMU did not want music to distract their audience, and let the graphic tell the story.

Multimedia news reports can very tricky. Effects need to be added to attract and maintain the attention of the viewers, but news outlets must be careful not to go overboard. They can be either your friend or your enemy. The only way to do it right is to ask yourself, “What does this need? Would this work here?”

How is milking a cow related to journalism?

There is a phrase that says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In journalism, sometimes the picture is crucial to your story. Pictures can attract and inform readers, as well as sending a message. As journalists, our job is to inform the public on what is happening in the world. However, in order to obtain that “eye-catching” image, you need to find a unique image that stands out. That can be very difficult.

Henri Cartier-Bresson Photo taken by: Corbis of the Telegraph

According to Henri Cartier-Bresson, most of the pictures that we take are “not great”. He said, “You have to milk a cow and get lots of milk to make

a little piece of cheese.” So, how is milking a cow related to journalism? Cartier-Bresson is saying that you cannot wait for one shot. The more shots you take, the higher the probability is of getting that perfect shot. Or in other words (Also Cartier-Bresson’s), “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

Sometimes, the “perfect shot” is one of those “in the moment” type of deals. For example, Iwo Jima, where the soldiers are raising the flag. Sometimes, the photographer already knows what kind of picture they are looking for; like the “Lunchtime Atop a Skyscraper” picture taken by Charles C. Ebbets. He wants the audience to focus on how high the workers are, by showing the men sitting on a beam with New York City lying directly beneath them. These famous images were made possible thanks to the powers of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Photo taken by Scott Thomas

Aperture is defined by the website Photography Art Cafe, as a hole in a lens that admits light into the camera. The aperture setting on the camera deals with the depth of field, and are measured by f-stops. Photographers must answer the question, “What I do I want the audience the focus on in the picture?” If the photographer wants the audience to focus on the subject, then the camera must be set on a low aperture. If the photographer wants the audience to focus on the background, then the camera must be set to a high aperture.

Let’s say the photographer wants to create a special effect for the audience to focus on, like objects moving in a blur. Then, the element of shutter speed comes into play. A multimedia journalism class at the University of Missouri defines shutter speed as how quickly a photo will be taken and how much blur is seen. NASCAR is a good example of shutter speed. Most shots in NASCAR have to be taken at very high shutter speed because the cars travel around 200 mph. However, sometimes photographers want to show the speed. So, they set the camera to a lower aperture, and the cars race past in a blur.