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How a Veteran Radio Reporter Learned to Love TV

How a Veteran Radio Reporter Learned to Love TV

Picture of Kenny Goldberg

I’d always hated television.

So when my bosses asked me to do some TV stories, I balked.

After all, what did I know about TV news? I was a radio news reporter, and proud of it.

But eventually I had to get with the program. So I went into the field with a videographer and got my feet wet.

And you know what? I learned to like it.

Interviewing is interviewing. So that wasn’t a challenge.

It took me a while, though, to understand and appreciate the necessity for good visuals, especially good b-roll.

You see, in radio, we use nat sound (short for natural sound) to make a piece come alive. But even when we don’t have any, we can simply use our voice to carry the story along.

That’s not the case with TV. You need visuals to cover everything, whether it’s actual footage, b-roll, graphics, or photographs.

I’ve discovered that TV is actually a very creative medium. You can shoot scenes in a variety of different ways, with different angles and lighting. You can shoot at faster or slower speeds to give the piece a special look. You can even shoot in black & white, and intersperse it with color footage to provide a nice contrast.

Great storytelling is great storytelling in any medium. But I’ve come to realize that a well written, nicely shot TV news piece is very powerful. It can have a lot of impact.

These days, I have my own video camera, which I use to film short packages. Filming pieces myself has helped me to learn what kind of shots work, and which ones don’t.

I still use a videographer when I’m doing feature interviews. It’s much easier to concentrate and ask good questions when you don’t also have to film it.

Yeah, I miss the old radio-only days. But in today’s market, more and more of us are required to get into video, too.

You just have to remember to focus.

Kenny Goldberg covers health for KPBS in San Diego. He reports on a wide range of health topics and has done international reporting on HIV and AIDS. His radio and television work has garnered three Golden Mike awards, Best in Show from the Society of Professional Journalists, and numerous other honors. He has also been awarded fellowships from the New York Times Foundation, the National Press Foundation and The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships. In addition to his work for KPBS, Kenny is a frequent contributor to the California Report, heard on public radio stations throughout California. A Seattle native, Kenny graduated from the University of Washington, and began his broadcasting career in the news departments of KOGO and KSDO in San Diego.

Photo Credit:  David H. Lewis via iStockPhoto

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