Summary of Skype chat with Amy Zerba

We were fortunate to have Amy Zerba, a senior staff editor with the New York Times, join us via Skype last week to talk about her career (including some things she wishes she’s known earlier), the role of technology in the future of journalism, and tips for students about to embark on their professional lives.

Her top 10 tips for using video as a storytelling tool:

  1. Answer the “so what?”
  2. Interview to b-roll ratio should be 3 to 10
  3. Be open to new story angles
  4. Let a story breathe
  5. Spend quality time with subject, as was done with the “A hoarder tries to let go” story
  6. Use fewer text slates
  7. Keep a checklist of shots (and don’t leave til you’ve got them all)
  8. Ask every source if there’s anything he/she would like to add
  9. Collect ideas for your idea bag
  10. Experiment more (check out the ScienceTake: War of the Ants video for an example)

A few additional tips included:

  • Drop your audience into the story
  • Think about creative lighting
  • Use different camera angles
  • Give/show context

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