May
2013

Social media and journalism

I’ve been meaning to write more on this blog, but I keep getting caught up in too much work stuff. I recently got to do a bit of writing for others though. I am passionate about making the case for just how important social media, Twitter in particular, is for journalism. I am keen to make the point that journalists need to approach Twitter just like any other medium they may report in. Our core function; be accurate. Here are a couple of interviews I did recently talking about that:

http://www.vocus.com/invocus/media-blog/tweeting-wisely-the-dangers-of-social-media-qa/

And

http://www.maineprmaven.com/2013/05/13/social-media-evolution-how-its-changing-journalism/

Mar
2013

I’m the Chris Farley of 207

It’s time I come clean with the viewers of Maine TV, I’m the Chris Falrey of 207. I can do the odd interview here and there (with some competence), but when I hit something that I am a big fan of; I geek out. I can’t hide my enthusiasm, or my excitement, that I am interviewing someone I am in awe of.


I can’t help but gush over how much I love the person’s show/writing/talent. During my Doctor Who interview with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, I called Karen by her character name, Amy Pond, which you should never do.


Being a TV and broadcast journalism geek, I can tell you that with all certainty there is no better, or tougher, interviewer than Rob Caldwell.

I’ve worked with Rob for ten years now, and absolutely no one compares to him in terms of asking though, thoughtful, and fair questions. He knows how to ask the question that gets an answer the viewer will find interesting and engaging.

One of the elements of a good interview is not making it about you. This is a very hard lesson for many ego driven TV types.

In your mind you’re thinking, “well I’m on TV too, people know who I am. They obviously want me to interject what I think and feel into this conversation.” No, the viewers want you to ask the questions that make the interview all about the person they’ve tuned into see, which is not always going to be you.


Rob Caldwell gets this, as many other good interviewers do too. It’s becoming less and less of a common practice though. As we become our own mini stars, with TV and social media, a good reporter must remember what they’re there to do; tell a story.

What happens though, as in my case, when you just want to do the interview for yourself? Yes — I know it’s not about me, but it kind of is. I want to ask the questions I want to ask because I’m a fan. I don’t want to waste the few precious moments I have with this talented person setting up a question for people who are new to them. I want to get right to my super geeky, often inside, question.

Sadly, that’s irresponsible and I know it because I’ve watched Rob for the last ten years do the right thing every time. Whenever I get into a situation I can’t think my way out of, I think; “what would Rob do?” My Caldwell instinct always kicks in and I do the right thing.

It’s hard to stay responsible when you are a big fan. That’s where his years of experience trumps anything that can be taught. I know he’s interviewed many people he’s a big fan of, but he knows how to words things in a way that does the job for both fan and viewer. With an author, or an actor, you ask questions that will appeal to a general audience — not the niche audience.

I’m trying to find those precious words now as I struggle to ask the right questions of someone I am a big fan of (someone who doesn’t want a lot of gushing or fanfare). It’s where I see just how good Rob is, and how I need more experience. I need a couple of failures to know just how to do it right. Thought, let’s be honest, who wants to go on TV and fail in front of everyone? It’s not really failure; it’s more like a coach examining a good play to se where it can be done better the next time.

So I’ve gone back into my geekness and examined how I can do it better this time. How will I do? I have no idea, I’ll let the other fans and viewers decide that when the interview airs.

Apr
2011

Capstone Research Help

Hi everyone,

I am looking for feedback on the topic within my capstone project. I am designing a class to teach social media to people who are either entering or are in journalism. The class in the style of our classes in the ICM degree but on a website like ICM 501, 505, or 508.

Here is where I need the help. How do I narrow down what to teach? How basic do I start and how advanced should I get? Should I just focus on Facebook and Twitter and do I go as basic as how to set up an account? For the capstone I am only going to teach three modules. There is so much stuff to teach about social media it’s overwhelming trying to narrow it all down.

Also I know how I feel about online classes, but I need to know how other people feel too. As a part of the research, I am looking to hear from people in our degree about what they think works and does not work when taking an online class. Please be as honest as possible. We have all had various Professor’s in this degree. What have you found is the most effective teaching method and what are the type of things a professor does that makes you scream? Again looking for your honest take.

I need a wide audience to get the right feedback. Also if you chat with anyone else in the degree program please pass this on. I would love to hear from as many people as possible. You can either comment below or email me if you want to keep your thoughts private. I will not be sharing peoples opinions. I am simply conducting research so I can better approach teaching.

Thanks everyone. here is my email: brett.whitmarsh@quinnipiac.edu

Sep
2010

What’s Old is New Again

Today, within the great walls of NEWS CENTER, we found out that the old classic show “Bewitched” is going to start running at 3pm on our air. Yes, that Bewitched, the one with two Darrin Stephens and one nightmare of a mother-in law, will be re-run once again on WCSH6.

I am an utter geek when it comes to television. Classic TV sets me off on some of my geekiest rants. This year I turn 30-years old. When I was a little kid, before TVLand and Nick-at-Nite, I would look forward to the syndicated re-runs of some of our nations greatest TV classics.  Shows like The “The Dick Van D/ke Show,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” and yes “Bewitched.” Many of these shows would air just before school started, or were on when I got home. I hated leaving the house before each episode was finished. Sick days, and summer vacations, were filled with great marathons of the shows I have come to adore.

My love of producing TV came out of a passion for watching TV. Which is why I am so excited about Bewitched coming back. When I was five years old I had no idea what editing was. To me, the magic of the show was real. With the snap of a finger, or wrinkle of a nose, all kinds of wonder could be created. It’s more then nostalgia, it’s the building blocks for the direction I took in life.

Certainly some may scoff at the notion of a show from the late 60’s being re-run in 2010, and I respect where they are coming from. However, somewhere in Maine or New Hampshire there is going to be a little kid, like me, who has never seen Bewitched before. One afternoon they’ll be flipping around and land on our station. And maybe, just maybe, that same spark that lit inside of me, will trigger a future editor or producer and that’s good enough for me.

Through that spark comes an incredible sense of pride in working for WCSH. As I walk through the doors of the station each day, I know I am apart of something special. As silly as it may sound, that respect comes from an appreciation of our television history. While the formats and ideas might be different, the fabric of what makes TV great is found in both what has gone before and what is still to come.

You can catch Bewitched starting the week of September 13th at 3pm.