This summer I interned at BET News, this is the department that produces current affairs and news specials within BET. Their main focus has been to create a credible current affairs model within a niche music and entertainment environment.
They have produced notable feature length specials on the Trayvon Martin case, Michelle Obama’s mission in Africa, as well as an in-depth interview with President Obama addressing black America. Their documentary “The Curious Case of Citizen Cain” was also a recent winner at the NABJ (National Association Of Black Journalists) 2012 Salute to Excellence Awards.
Their latest two-part documentary is called Second Coming? Will Black America Decide 2012 Check out the trailer here
While working with BET News on their various projects my main duties included:
– editorial research and producer support
– managing the still and video libraries, fulfilling visual requirements for news’ pre-packaged specials
– contributing to social media across their various channels
– working as a control room PA and Social Media co-ordinator for the three LIVE broadcasts of the political conventions titled BATTLEGROUND 2012.
Convention nights were definitely a highlight. Being a part of the control room buzz, responding to multiple script changes, live fact checking, all while trying to prepare for that thing that could go wrong at any second! It was scary, but also thrilling. As the person in charge of filling and animating the onscreen twitter board too, every night you’d find me juggling multiple device screens (this included my cellphone, two laptops and a tablet LOL!) but seeing something you’ve created go live to millions of viewers before your eyes was worth it.
My Final Analysis:
Dubbed #BETRNC and #BETDNC the broadcasts for me were definitely a huge success, all round. The idea that BET could put forward premium quality live elections coverage was surprising to some. But knowing how talented the force behind the scenes was, I expected nothing less.
BET News served the needs of it’s niche audience without compromising on journalistic credibility, which isn’t always easy when it’s an African American audience in a presidential race with a black incumbent. But in my opinion they nailed that balance and put forth the most innovative social media strategy for TV news of the entire convention coverage cycle.
And as Jay Z said, the numbers don’t lie:
August 30, 2012
#BETRNC was the #3 top trending topic WORLDWIDE on Twitter.
September 4, 2012
#BETDNC was the #2 top trending topic WORLDWIDE on Twitter.