Multimedia Journalism:
Is it Practical or Are
News Stations Just Taking Advantage of You?

Multimedia Journalism:
Is it Practical or
Are News Stations Just Taking Advantage of You?

Written by Lois Lane
🕒 May 3, 2018

I’m in a Rav 4 on the side of the highway, knee deep in a VO/SOT for 4 p.m., a PKG for 5 p.m. and another for 6 p.m., barely noticing anything but the clock and my Edius timeline.

But I couldn’t miss one thing.

It was a crunching sound coming from the backseat, and it was getting louder and louder, sort of like a bee flying towards you.

“Want a pringle?” said, my coworker, a photographer making the noise, looking happy.

“Must be nice,” I thought, wanting to snatch the Pringles and throw them out the window. But instantly, I felt a pang of guilt. It wasn’t their fault.

The station I was working for strictly forbid photographers from “helping” MMJ’s. They were only there to set up our live shots. So every day, like clockwork, I would remind myself that there wasn’t much the photographer could do that I couldn’t.

After all, that’s why they hired me, right?

Wrong. They hired me because I was willing to do two people’s jobs for one salary, and the sick part is I never once thought something was wrong about this, until I finally did.

Don’t get me wrong.

I think MMJing has a purpose, but I believe we’re using it in the wrong way in too many newsrooms.

For instance, when someone hands me a camera and says I’ll be working on one story for one show, I love it. I have fun getting nats, talking to people and putting the best product I can together.

But it almost never seems to go that way.

Another contributing factor is we’re all buying into it.

I constantly hear reporters say, “Photographers are so annoying. I like working alone” and (my favorite): “I love to do it all. That’s what news directors look for.”

Does anyone else hear these words, and wonder to themselves, “But what happened to the importance of really great storytelling? Where did that go?”

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  1. I’m still currently working in my first MMJ position I definitely feel like I get taken advantage of a lot. Because we MMJ anywhere from 2-4 stories a day. And on top of that we have to produce a radio newscast everyday too. We literally have to stop our work to produce a radio freaking newscast. I’ll just never get over that lol. And we’re the lowest paid in our market. There are more people on the sales team than reporters. It’s only two of us and there are six sale team employees. It’s like we’re the puppet and they just get all the money. But what I remind myself at the end of the day is >>> I’m learning how to move fast, have thick skin and prepare to negotiate for the next contract. Butas far as your article — I totally agree with what you are saying! We are all so willing to agree to hard work instead of smart work. I just believe that companies have become more money hungry than ever…including the news’s like one of the new ways to start a small business these days!

  2. During the four years I worked as a photographer I often questioned just how much longer that job would be around. I saw, during my time in two different markets, a lot of MMJs and I often told myself that this was the way the news business was going and my choice to be a photographer was a bad one. I saw the writing on the wall.

    Was I wrong? Are photographers still as utilized as they once were or is the news industry doing exactly what I predicted it would do and put all their eggs into quantity over quality?

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