Now that I’ve been operating much more in the nonprofit world and much less in the journalism world, it’s rare that I find myself chasing down those random video stories that cross my path.
But, I’ve been in the mood to commit random acts of journalism lately. I’m currently in Madison, WI conducting a 3-day “Multimedia Journalism Bootcamp” for the faculty of the Madison Area Technical College’s journalism program. I was out and about the state capital when I came across some street performers slinging fire around on chains and couldn’t help myself. I was compelled to shoot video and ask them to tell me a little about their art and themselves.
That’s the nature of a really good story, I think—it begs to be told, to be explored.
So many reporters at so many newspapers and television stations have been battered by the constant drum of doom and gloom in the industry, or the demanding focus on learning news skills, new technology and new ways of doing things that it can be easy to neglect our sense of curiosity. The news stories or video projects that get us excited and the ones that perplex us, yet compel us to get to bottom of things can often get lost.
Heaven forbid such a story should fall outside our work hours, say at 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday night in a park square in Madison, WI. I could have been inside watching a movie and eating pizza, but I happened to be out exploring a new city. That’s when I met Sean, a construction worker by day who liked to go to raves and learned to swing balls of fire in a dizzying display of skill and dexterity. I met Paul, a student who sports a mohawk and dropped out of school, but aspires to return to study horticulture or engineering. He’s also hoping he can make a little cash swinging fire, which he does with flair and expertise.
It wasn’t a long video and it tells only a small part of their story, but it represents the potential of curiosity satisfied. The final product is an engaging video that inspires even more curiosity. It’s one of the things I just remembered that I love about journalism.