Who’s Your Favorite VJ?

Mine was Martha Quinn. For those old enough to remember MTV of the early 80s, vj’s were the disc jockeys for tv. Instead of spinning “stacks of wax” they supposedly pushed the play buttons on the video player and introduced each song.

I’m looking into the whole vj experiment as it applies these days to local news. A planned visit to WKRN last week was postponed due to the hurricane, but I plan to be there soon. I’ve been watching some of their vj stories on their web site. I can’t speak for every viewer, but this type of camera work and editing style and writing really appeals to me.

So after a google search today I found this interview with Michael Rosenblum, who I guess is sort of the ‘father of the vj experiment’.
I found this quote particularly interesting: “once one station in a market goes from fielding 5 crews to 30 or 40 and cuts it’s costs by 60 percent, the others in the market will have to follow suit.”

And this statement says a lot about the benefits of employing vjs.

ROSENBLUM: “In a typical TV newsroom, there may be 70-100 employees while fielding 5-6 Betacams. This is as insane as having a newspaper with 70 reporters but only owning 5 pencils. The cameras are the pencils — they are the thing we make TV with. The thing that is actually on the air. When you only field 5 camera crews every day, every story must make air. It makes people very conservative. Very nervous. We can’t take risks. We can’t ever fail. Good journalism requires the ability to take a risk and fail from time to time. Creativity requires the ability to take a risk and fail. Maybe there’s a story here. Maybe not. Let me try. With 5 crews, you can never do this. When you field 50 cameras a day, not unusual, in fact, more the norm, you cast television journalism in a whole new light — the abiilty to take a risk. What we do now is just make TV. In the future, we will be able to be journalists. Not just regurgitate stories from the newspaper and the wires.”


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