MN perspectives from NPPA’s Multimedia Immersion 2015

Photo by Hannah Foslien

Five journalists from (or soon to be from) MN took part in NPPA’s Multimedia Immersion this May in Syracuse, NY. The workshop is an intense, five-day, hands-on training workshop for visual journalists looking to expand and grow their multimedia skill sets using the latest technology. It focuses on mixing photos, video and audio content and editing them into multimedia presentations. Here are some perspectives on the event from our MN friends (names beneath quotes link to participant videos):

Left to right: Dan (top L), Regina (bottom L), Jennifer, Angela, and Mark

“As a member of the American Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), I received a scholarship that helped offset costs to attend the NPPA’s Multimedia Immersion workshop. Because I’m a university educator and researcher first, I don’t get out to shoot as much as I’d like. This workshop was the “kick” back out the door that I needed to build on existing skills and gain many new ones. I can’t remember the last time I worked that hard and got such little sleep; I loved every minute. From the generosity and patience of the coaches to the awesome cohort of mostly professional journalists I met and worked alongside, I feel like I have a whole new set of colleagues that will help me pass on what I learned to my students in the classroom. Completing the video was one small part of the experience. The new skills I gained and the friendships I formed are even more valuable.”

–participant Jennifer E. Moore
After 3 years at the University of Maine, Jennifer is moving to MN to start a position as an assistant professor at the U of M in Duluth. She did her MA and PhD at the U of M.


“As a first-time coach I think I probably learned as much as the students. The coaches are so incredibly talented and hard-working, but also down to earth and a whole lot of fun. It was an inspiring (and exhausting) week!”

–coach Dan Kraker
reporter (Duluth-based), Minnesota Public Radio


“This was an awesome workshop. It really felt like people checked their egos at the door and came to teach, learn and listen. You are there alongside your peers and the coaches- everyone is a colleague. With video, you can get really caught up in the gear and the technical side, because there is so much to consider there. I really appreciated that this workshop was rooted in the same ethics and ideals of photojournalism and that the real focus was on storytelling. It was a full and intense 5 days and I feel like I am going to be filtering through everything I heard and learned there for a long time. It felt like a new beginning, I guess. Jen Simonson at MPR had gone last year and recommended it to me, and told me there might be scholarships. So when one came up through the NPPA, I applied and got it. That really helps as a freelancer! Hoping somebody will read this and decide to go next year. It is a special experience. Here is the story I did, the subject I got was an animal communicator with Lyme disease. We had two days to film and a day and a half to produce. The goal wasn’t to make the best piece you are ever going to make, just to learn and make something you could not have made a few days before.”

–participant Angela Jimenez
freelance photojournalist, Minneapolis


“For me, it was really fun to get back to teaching, and to get the chance to talk with other coaches, many of whom have similar jobs, and to see some of the interesting work going on out there that I don’t take time to see. Immersion is a packed week of training and hands-on experience, with a little too much fun squeezed in at the end of the day. I came home needing a vacation! But it’s really impressive how much gets done in that time. Take the time to watch Angela, Mark and Jennifer’s videos. They all are worth watching!”

–coach Regina McCombs
Senior Editor for Visual News, Minnesota Public Radio News


“I have solid video skills. I’m a competent shooter in most any situation you can throw me into and I can probably turn an edit for whatever crazy deadline the news gods demand. Those skills have gotten me a long way but too often I’ve felt like I was falling short of what I really wanted to accomplish. I went to Immersion because I want to tell stories people can’t click away from. For me, those six days were about meeting remarkably passionate, talented peers, seeing their work, hearing about their own vulnerabilities, frustrations and goals while rethinking what my role is as a storyteller in my newsroom and career. Oh, yeah, there’s a video project somewhere in there too. Those peers, especially my coaches, pushed me not to accept the ideas or situations handed to me. So much of the day-to-day operations of newsroom and freelance work is reactive. Take the assignment at the time at the place with the person. Great storytelling isn’t reactive.

“The video I left with took an exhaustive amount of time and effort to pull together. When I watch it I can see places I want to improve next time. It might not even be in my portfolio at the end of the year.
But that isn’t what Immersion was about for me. My eureka moment was understanding the difference between making the best of the circumstances that presented themselves and pushing harder for what my instincts tell me I should be looking for.

“So, not really mission accomplished. But after a week in Syracuse, I think I’m on the right path.”

–participant Mark Vancleave
video journalist/visual storyteller at the Star Tribune