My research focuses on the changing television newsgathering industry and the impact that evolution will have on tomorrow’s television reporters. Specifically I am investigating the effects of the increased need and utilization of the MMJ (Multi-media Journalist) model over the traditional television newsgathering model. The old way of reporting local television news had teams of two or three (reporter, videographer and producer) covering events. The new way has one person doing all those jobs.
Former Newhouse Professor Mike Cremedas and I have applied an established broadcast journalism quality rubric to compare local TV news stories produced by MMJs vs. those presented by two-person crews. We also collaborated on surveys of television reporters in the largest 50 and smallest 100 U.S. markets to determine how this trend has affected their perception of the quality of their work and their job satisfaction. Because large-market reporters have likely worked with videographers at some point in their careers, this subset of reporters is uniquely qualified to analyze the differences between working alone and working as a team. Not surprisingly, the large-market reporters who now work as MMJs long for they days when they were teamed with professional videographers. The small-market reporters tell us they expect to work with videographers as they move on to jobs in larger markets and would consider leaving the industry if this expectation isn't met.
The value of this research lies in its focus on the actual reporters doing the job, giving voice to the MMJs themselves. The results can be used by newsroom managers to tailor their protocols and expectations so as to maximize the potential of these more agile, more economical, but, in some ways, more limited solo reporters.