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Archive for the 'Interview' Category

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

How to get out of debt Frugalista style

by Amani Channel

Did you know that February is No-Buy month? That’s according to the journo-blogger Natalie McNeal who went from working at the Miami Herald to being a social media practitioner/blogger.

I had the chance to speak on a panel with her virtually during last year’s NABJ conference. I admire her for several reasons: she’s a journalist who walked away from the biz to pursue her passions; she’s not afraid of technology or social media, and she has a new title to add to her resume, author.

McNeal’s book, “The Frugalista Files: How One Woman got Out of Debt Without Giving up the Fabulous Life,” hit online and retail stores recently, and she sent me a copy to check out.

Despite the bright pink cover which to me implies that the book is being marketed primarily to women, I found it to be an enjoyable read.

I’m working to eliminate my family’s debt, and though I found the book inspiring on that level, what I especially enjoyed was McNeal’s story of how she managed to escape the newsroom, and find success through her blog.

I had the chance to speak with her via Skype and she gives some sound advice for journalists.

Please visit www.thefrugalista.com to learn more about how you can be a frugalisa, or frugalisto (if you’re a dude).

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Video camera shy? Why?

by Amani Channel

During my reporting days, there were times when getting an interview was like pulling teeth.

Sometimes it had to do with the nature of the story, or location. Some people are naturally averse to speaking out publicly, especially when a story involved crime, or controversy.

At other times, a person would be willing to speak on camera, but their sound sucked. There are various reasons: sometimes people would say what they thought I wanted to hear, others had nothing to say, and some people just weren’t natural on camera.

A recent post at ReelSEO made me reflect.

In this day and age, you never know when the camera may be put in your face. I’ve done more than my fair share of questioning, and I’ve been questioned.

The ReelSEO post features some great advice from Steve Garfield author of Get Seen.

I agree with most of the points, however for the sake of contributing to this conversation, I’m going to share some tips to help the interviewer make the subject feel more comfortable and natural.

Sometimes there’s no saving a bad interview, but there are things that the interviewer can do to ease ruffled nerves.

Conduct a pre-interview with the subject. Avoid asking the exact questions that you plan to ask during the interview. Instead ask questions about their background and expertise. You can throw in a question or two that is related to what you will ask on camera, but keep those to a minimum. If you ask the same questions in the pre-interview the person may come off as rehearsed when you are rolling.

Don’t make it obvious when you start recording. Since your subject will already be warmed up after the pre-interview, try to be subtle when you start recording. If you’re working with a cameraman you can use a signal to indicate when s/he should start rolling. Normally you’ll want to ask for the person’s first, last name and title and spelling before you start the interview, but if the person is calm and relaxed, just jump into the interview, and ask for that info at the end. If you’re shooting this yourself, it’s not as easy to “slip” into the interview but it can be done.

Conversely, I would sometimes tell a subject that the hardest question is the first one. Then I would proceed to ask them for their name and title. That would break the tension, and cause them to relax a bit.

Remind the subject that the interview is just a conversation. This works wonders. If a person is really uncomfortable with the camera, remind them to look at you (the interviewer) and ignore the camera. Again, remind them, “This is no big deal, it’s just a conversation.” If the subject can forget about the camera, there’s a greater chance that their nerves won’t sabotage their sound.

If the subject asks questions like, “What are you going to ask me?” that is a good sign that they are feeling apprehensive. As I mentioned, I normally don’t share my questions, but you can explain what the interview is about and why their response will help you give some context to your story.

Garfield suggests that you downsize cameras for those who are super anxious. In other words, use a less conspicuous camera like a Flip or Kodak pocket camera. While that may work in some situations, if you are working on a high-end video project you may have no choice but to shoot on a prosumer or broadcast camera. Lights and microphones will need to be used and there’s no way around it.

Interviewing is an art and a science. Often, the response you get is determined by your tone, and expression. The more relaxed you are, and if you do a good job of explaining the process, the more relaxed your subject will be. That will hopefully leave you with a few great sound bites to work with.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

How can a traditional journalist start a new media career?

by Amani Channel

Social media why do I love thee?

Because anyone can participate, have a voice, and share information.

Sure, getting booked on CNN is great, but believe me, in some cases mainstream news isn’t anymore credible than the average Joe with a blog.

About a week ago I was contacted by Pam Perry. She’s a publicist/PR coach/social media strategist, and she will be the first to tell you that she comes from the “old school.”

Well, Pam has a new school approach to media, and she’s all over the place. I’ve been following her on Twitter for a good while, and we’re connected on Facebook, and LinkedIn.

When she asked me to be a guest on her show to share some tips about video, I couldn’t resist.

Check out our thirty minute conversation on BlogTalkRadio.

I drop some media jewels about how I started MyUrbanReport; how I transitioned from traditional to new media, and how my online presence helped me find my current job at KEF Media (they actually found me).

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

TJ Holmes interviews woman who “sparked” Dr. Laura’s racist rant

by Amani Channel

I read this morning that Sarah Palin wants Dr. Laura to fight back, but kill that! I hope she gets of the mic and never breathes on one again.

It sounded like she had waited her whole life to use the n-word on air, and she provided no help to Nita “Jade” Hanson.

I’ve been waiting to hear the other side, and I’m glad that American Morning scored this interview.

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Foursquare Day: The Tampa Eye Doctor Who Started it All

by Amani Channel
#4sqday @natebw

I just wrapped up my first official Skype Interview/production thanks to a Tampa Florida eye doctor named Nate Bonilla-Warford or simply Nate BW (follow on Twitter @NateBW).

He came up with an idea to promote his favorite social geo-location game Foursquare on 4/16 “Foursqure Day.” (see this St. Pete Times article)

Dr. Nate sat down with me and explained why he likes Foursquare so much, how it’s used to promote his business, and the overwhelming response to his idea to celebrate Foursquare.

Some production notes:
I recorded this talk back by using ScreenFlow, then exported the file in NTSC/DV resolution. I then imported the .mov file into Adobe Premier Pro, and shortened the interview down to less than 10 minutes (so that YouTube, and other video sites will accept it). I also added the Visual Eye Media and My Urban Report logos to the time line, and theme music. I adjusted the music track, and also had to sweeten the audio a bit since Dr. Nate’s sound was a bit louder then mine and only on one channel. The last thing I did was add the text elements which included lower thirds, and the via skype bug.

We had a problem with his camera freezing up during the interview, so I asked him to send me a couple of high resolution photos which I cropped in Photoshop and used to cover the segments of the interview where there were video issues. I also added a couple of shots of his business when he referenced it.

After that, I exported a full resolution version of the video which was more than 2 gigs, and compressed it down to 50MB using MPegstreamclip.

Watch Interview

More about Foursquare:
PBS Interview w. Tristan Walker
BlackWeb 2.0

Monday, August 17th, 2009


by A.man.I


I was recently interviewed by Atlanta web designer/social media trainer Desiree Scales about video on the web and production. If you have general questions about video production, please check out the podcast.

Desiree has been in the web design game for a minute, and she’ll be featured in an upcoming episode of MediaConnection. Stay tuned.


For all you fans of news blogs, you have to check out ViewFinderBlues by the one and only Lenslinger aka Stewart Pittman. I’ve been following this reporter-turned-photographer ever since I entered the blogosphere.

One of his recent posts, titled Depleting the Breed really struck a chord.

…now I’m seeing folks whom I figured would die with a station logo on their tit leave the fold for jobs that don’t involve live trucks or nightly deadlines.

It’s a sad truth, the biz ain’t what it used to be. Hats of to everyone who is hanging tuff.


I’m sure that just about every TV news pro in the Atlanta market has checked out veteran newsman Doug Richards’ LiveApartmentFire. He’s been providing a daily dose of local news analysis for a minute now.

It looks like his Doug’s love for covering murder and mayhem on the streets of metro Atlanta could only be pacified by returning to the streets. He’s now at WXIA-TV 11Alive News.

I think his blog is even better because he’s in the thick of things providing a unique glimpse of daily newsroom antics. I think his blog will be a good PR/branding tool for the station as well. Doug, has the station put any restrictions on your blog? I wonder.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009


From Grayson Daughters

Here’s a video interview with Atlanta-area IT security expert, Ariel Silverstone, with an explanation we can actually understand!

Sliverstone explains how it’s possible for the unrest in Iran to arrive, uncensored, via the internet.

Silverstone also addresses the global initiative to keep the internet available to all. He talks about the years of Iran-related media now stored on YouTube/Google. And he discusses internet control, privacy issues, and pending legislation regarding the internet in the United States.

And what about a country such as Korea?!

More about Silverstone, and his blog, are here:

Iran and the Internet: A Conversation With Ariel Silverstone. 6-22-09 from Grayson Daughters on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 18th, 2009


by A.man.I

If you’re a PR professional, and you don’t know about Peter Shankman’s HARO e-newsletter, you need to check it out.

Shankman is in Atlanta to speak at the monthly PRSA meeting, and he attended a Tweet Up organized in his honor.

Shankman sat down with My Urban Report to discuss HARO, and social media.

Interview by Grayson Daughters
Camera & Edtiting by Amani Channel

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