On video

Part of my job is shooting and editing videos to accompany news article or blogs. It’s a fun change of pace from my usual reporting because I get to work a different creative muscle with video than with writing. Shooting short web videos also helps me distill the story into its most interesting and vital elements.

The video below is from a concert at the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, featuring percussion legend Paul Wertico. It was really neat to meet someone whose work I greatly admire, but I was so focused on the task at hand (and uncharacteristically star struck) that I embarrassed myself when trying to tell him that I really enjoyed “that one album with the colorful circles on the cover,” which only flirts with accurately describing the cover. He was pretty gracious about it.

Sometimes, the pieces are heavier in tone. Here, a (now formerly) homeless man in Springfield performs a song he wrote about the loss of his wife and unborn daughter. I reported on him as part of a larger story, and I was happy to report later that he was able to get off the street.

Another of my favorites I’ve done so far is this one about the Springfield Police Department’s K-9 unit. The story that went with the video deals with the Fourth Amendment issues surrounding drug-sniffing dogs.

I’m trying to use video more to cover spot news, like the union rally of State Journal-Register employees last month. Even if I’m not going to write about something, I hope that having video of it gives readers/viewers a sense of what actually happened.

I’m not sure what the future holds for print media, and I’m not at all concerned about the health of my employer, Illinois Times, but I think it’s clear that video has a place even in the print media atmosphere. I just hope to keep telling interesting, relevant stories, and if I get to have some fun in the mean time, that’s great.


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