Monday, Aug. 10, 2009 | She’s a veteran TV newswoman, but Allison Ash feels a bit like she’s back starting out at her first job in North Carolina.
“I’m shooting my first solo stand-up in more than 20 years,” she said while standing in a parking lot outside 10News’s studio. A small video camera whirred on a tripod, shooting Ash’s mock report as a trainer stood by with tips about the art of self-filming.
Once again, Ash is learning to do double duty as both reporter and cameraperson. This time, the camera equipment weighs 10 pounds instead of 60. But the newly hired 10News reporter still has to relearn the basics of TV photography.
Not that she minds. Ash, now one of a new breed of video journalists, is happy to relearn skills that she long ago outgrew as she moved to larger TV stations. “The way things are now, if I don’t do this I’ll be obsolete,” she said. “I refuse to be a dinosaur.”
Not long ago, the idea of VJs would have seemed the ultimate in insanity to many TV journalists who were accustomed to teams of reporters and photographers. Double-duty was something reporters only did at their first jobs in smaller towns with cash-strapped stations — think Bakersfield and Yuma — before moving up to the big leagues to a place like San Diego, which ranks among the 30 largest TV markets in the country.
But VJs save money, and cost-cutting is the name of the game in local TV today. The wider use of VJs, in fact, is only the beginning.