Friday, October 26, 2012

Mailbag: The care and feeding of photogs

Hi Grape,

I'm a rookie just starting my first job. My question is simple: what's the best way to get in the good graces of the photogs? Many of them are veterans and I know they're suspicious of young people. Thanks.

Well, this is an easy one:

-Treat photogs as part of a team on every story. On the way to the story, ask for their ideas on how to cover it. Ask for advice.

-On the way back from any story, ask them about what shots they got that might be "money shots" or provide great nat sound.

-Pick up the check for lunch on a day when the photog has really gone the extra mile for you. Buy a cold drink for him on a really hot day and a coffee on a cold one.

-Say thank you after a good story, and make sure the newsroom knows who shot it.

-Keep your hands off the car radio, lest you pull back a bloody stump.


Just curious on your take regarding the bias in our business. Is it worse this election cycle than in 2008?

Well, sad to say but I think the bias has gone over the top this year.  What's amazing is that it's more obvious than it was four years ago and the viewing public is wise to it.

I find it odd that one network's lead story isn't even covered on another network.

You'll find this interesting: you can't find a certain cable network in hotels in red states and can't find the opposite network in hotels in blue states.

In my opinion the polarization in this country can be traced directly to bias in the news business.

Dear Grape,

I'll be covering my first election and wondering if you have any tips.

Oh, I've got bunches:

-Wear a poker face. You can't appear happy if a certain candidate wins or sad if that candidate loses.

-If you've been assigned to cover a certain race, make sure you find time to personally introduce yourself to the candidates in the days before election day.

-If you're anchoring, you'll need index cards with info on each candidate. These should contain background info, maybe some interesting tidbits about the candidate. Make sure you know how to pronounce all the names. Election night really separates the great anchors from the ones who can't do anything without a prompter.

-Understand the issues. If you don't know what sequestration means, or what happens if the electoral college ends up in a tie, look it up now.

-Get an absentee ballot, as you might not have a chance to vote on election day.



Anonymous said...

Grape... You have posted a lot over the years about treating photogs well. And you're right. It's important. However, don't forget to emphasize that these veteran photogs need to treat the reporters well too. It goes both ways.

The reality is that there are a lot of grumpy photogs out there who could use an attitude adjustment. And yes, photogs, there is a lot of young talent out there, but work with them, and help them develop. And to many of you older guys: lose the attitude.

-The Grape said...

Point taken, but lately producers are treating photogs like servants instead of the most valuable members of the news department. That makes them grumpier.

Also, most photogs tend to be sarcastic by nature. Maybe I understand that better since I'm from the New York area, but don't confuse sarcasm with being grumpy.