The multimedia department with Flux Magazine has increasingly demanded my love and attention this last month. We put up 3 stories by the end of last term, and I hired 8 more producers to the staff. For those of you interested, my staff is now the size of a small class in and of itself (18 people!). Maybe it’s the inner GTF in me—we’ll get to that in a moment—but I do have a problem with turning down eager talent.
As a staff, I think the whole department learned an incredible amount about storytelling, video production, and teamwork last term. I often reflect about what my take-aways are from experiences such as these, and I think our staff has found particular utility in working in groups. Individualized, backpack journalism has its place, but for students (myself included) who have a busy schedule, it’s nice to be able to rely on the talents of others to make sure a project flourishes in one’s absence. In particular, I think the lion’s share of our knowledge gained was on the technical front—if elements of cinematography or camerawork weren’t learned on the field, producers learned the hard way in the edit bay. I was particularly critical of each piece’s editing because if I’m good at only one element of journalism, it’s editing.
This term the staff is focused on the heart of our work: the storytelling. One of the best pieces of criticism I received recently is that much of our work is surface-y, and, from a narrative standpoint, rushed. This is particularly true for a piece I ended up contributing to, Crate Divers of the Northwest.
As a group, we put a lot of effort into a piece intended to be an accompaniment to a written story, but it failed to stand alone. We ended up with a great movie trailer for a short documentary we’ll probably never get around to making. We should have spent more time in developing anecdotes, character, etc., but we sacrificed all of that to turn the piece in on time.
This term I want to avoid vignettes like Crate Divers and Valentine’s Day, so we’re spending a lot of time learning about and discussing storytelling as an art. As managing editor I see it as my duty to compile what I’m learning about the subject for my producers to access at their leisure, so I set up http://fluxmm.wordpress.com as a resource that attempts to stand alone as a learning tool. Any additional resources or suggestions, criticisms, etc. you may have would be greatly appreciated!
I can’t forget that I’m still a student at all of this, even if I am leading others. It keeps me on my toes, and humble.Be sure to check out Higher Point and A Prodigy Diver, the other two stories published at the end of Winter 2012.