I’ve always held journalists and seekers of the truth in high regard, but after my first MMJ (multimedia journalist) experience I have a newfound respect for solo reporters across the nation.
My first time as an MMJ I was covering DC’s inaugural Maternal and Infant Health Summit. And was interesting to say the least but showed me what it is like to troubleshoot problems in the field. During my day of shooting I experienced technical and situational difficulties.
For this project I was working equipment I wasn’t familiar with so that was a giant to overcome in the field. Because of my ignorance with this equipment, I experienced a lot of sound issues. And we all know a story with no sound is not much of a story at all. I spent a chunk of time on the phone troubleshooting with my university’s tech center, so I missed some shots because I had to step outside of the summit for this. Though I had multiple conversations with the tech center, it seemed to be to no avail. A lot of my audio was missing or jacked up for this piece. Either I recorded an interview or stand up without ever turning this mic on or I shot b roll without sound. These all seemed like minor problems in the field but proved to be major problems later while editing.
Summit location always proved to be a giant to me as well. The summit was on the top floor of the convention center. It’s panels and plenary sessions were in a large dark room and other elements were in the vestibule area that was essentially a 360 sky light. This proved difficult because some of my shots of the panels are grainy and dark because of the lack of light and camera techniques I used to combat that. And while some shots had no light, I had other shots that had too much light from the many surrounding windows.
In my thoughts of MMJ’s, I never really thought about how they maintained mobility with equipment. I felt tied down to the camera, I could step quickly outside to take a call or anything without feeling like I needed to bring all my worldly goods with me. As a person who likes to see all elements of a story by walking around I really felt restricted to staying where my camera was. I also think this static location hindered me getting some additional interviews.
I picked to cover the summit because I found the topic interesting and lacking media coverage. We’re talking about Black babies dying at greater rates and Black mothers dying shortly after childbirth at much greater rates than their counterparts and nothing is being said. The numbers don’t even make sense for the population sizes but are accepted almost without question.
But in America, one of the most advance countries in the world we still should not be experiencing these types of things. And this epidemic is something that just doesn’t affect poor women but women of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Aside from wanting to learn more myself I believe people had the right to know about how to prevent this themselves and what programs are governments putting in place to do the same.
All in all, it was a great experience. I was able to learn some new equipment and techniques on the stop and to cover a really important topic. Oh, and I’m sure my arms are incredibly toned now from carrying all that equipment. So, with that being said, shout out to all the reporters who do this on a daily basis and still manage to go on air, deliver quality content and also look amazing doing it. Y’all are the GOATs and the unsung heroes of journalism.
If you would like to see my completed package, click below!