Gavel to Gavel Coverage of the Oscar Pistorious Trial

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I love working on projects that raise the game in innovation so I couldn’t be prouder of the online team’s contribution to Primedia’s groundbreaking coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial, #OscarExtra, an online pop-up radio station running for the duration of the trial.

The idea came to us a way to run trial audio within all 4 of our station’s radio station apps and thanks to our team’s creative powers it quickly turned into an amazing full-service 12hr radio station. Sounds simple right? You optimize on the biggest media event of the year by providing dedicated coverage without cannibalizing on your regular radio programming, well yes and no. The operation of a live feed from the courtroom, a board operator, and a great radio presenter who did call-ins and commentary was pretty standard by radio standards and the online side of setting up a dedicated stream and quick turn around podcasts was one we already had waxed.  However, convincing all the station heads that it was better to do this cool groundbreaking content thing online only turned out to be the most challenging task of all :). You have to understand this in an environment where podcasts are still relatively new to our audience it looked like this massive risk…

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It’s a good thing I’m charming because our ‘launch it now and apologise later’ strategy… well, it could have gone sideways. But it didn’t because as it turned out radio listeners like to listen to things online too, especially when at work and the internet is easily accessible. Oscar Extra was one of our most popular online projects of the year with streams surpassing any of the numbers we had ever done in online audio before!

It was also really exciting to see the attention it got from the industry who thought it was groundbreaking too. 

UPDATE: #OscarExtra nominated for Bookmarks in the Integrated Multi-platform campaign category 

I love it when a calculated risk pays off!

Joburg Day Goes Live!

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Some new developments on the career front…

I’ve been working on digital strategy for Primedia Broadcasting over the last few months. They are the amazing media company behind brands like Radio 702, EWN, 94.7 Highveld Stereo, 567 CapeTalk and LeadSA.

My portfolio of work spans all the brands at this stage which has been pretty intense but it’s also been some of the most fulfilling work of my career particularly because of the freedom I’ve been given to to push boundaries!

One of my highlights has to be the live stream we did for 94.7’s annual Joburg Day Concert.

My role was basically managing all the content elements which included, the website, social media and the 12 hour live stream. Hosted on the Joburg Day site the stream broadcast the concert, behind the scenes live footage and prepackaged inserts to over 50 000 viewers *wowzers*!

Highlights include:

Hosting the top 3 most watched streams of the day, and the most watched of the week on live music portal irocke.com. Read about it hereJoburg Day Bands Views

Also being no. 1 trending on twitter in Johannesburg on the day.

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UPDATE: This is a great analysis of Joburg Day 2014…. which was a huge success http://www.primedia.co.za/30-000-fans-rocked-to-the-beat-of-947joburgday-with-mtn/

Internship Review: BET News

ImageThis 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.

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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.

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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.

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The day I became a teacher….

I’ve always loved working with young people, but I never had the opportunity to teach till this Summer when I landed a graduate assisting job with the 2012 NYU Urban Journalism Workshop. The program has been running for over two decades mentoring and teaching minority teens in the New York interested in journalism. I was honoured to be chosen to continue that legacy. My work included helping the high school students with reporting writing, video shooting and editing, multimedia training as well as chaperoning. I became a bit of a digital consultant since I’m studio 20. It was awesome to realise that I now know enough about social media, digital and video production to teach others. I’m particularly proud of the video and slideshow packages since none of them had edited before and some had never picked up a camcorder – you can check out all the videos/slideshows here.

The students work is showcased on a news site called The Spectrum which was created and launched as a culmination of the programme.

All the students were such stars and we had so much fun. Check out some pics of the UJW babies… they’d die it if they knew that’s what we called them 🙂

NY Times’ LEV Blog: East Village Nights

Our final project for this semester was a night life series for the New York Times’ Local East Village blog and I chose to do my piece on the DJs of I Love Vinyl (one of my fave parties to attend in NYC!)

One of the guys Jon Oliver also hosts a late night show on East Village Radio. The footage in the piece above was captured between midnight and 2am, a perfect fit for the “EV Nights” theme of the series!

Also as good fortune would have it the same week I was set to shoot he was going to have the South African/Canadian musician Zaki Ibrahim in the studio, too!

I also chatted with 3 out of the 6 I Love Vinyl collective about the record store culture in the east village in the piece below featuring DJs Scribe, Amir and Twilite Tone (who happens to be Chaka Khan’s nephew and rapper Common’s DJ)

I love shooting at night and… I love shooting solo. The two things I discovered on this project! It’s a huge challenge of course having to handle all the editing, sound, lighting and interviewing on your own (and I have several mishaps and technical dramas to show for it)  but it’s also great to have absolute autonomy as to how a piece turns out.

And I’m pretty proud of the end outcomes on these…

You can check out the posts on the New York Times’ blog here and here

Partying with Nick Zinner for NY Times East Village!

Anyone who knows me knows that if anyone can work a party (for journalistic reasons, of course) it’s me!

However given the very seriaaaas journalism that goes on at NYU i haven’t had the opportunity to flex my party stalker muscles recently.  That was until i got the call to cover the 10th anniversary of  Lower East Side cool kid night spot LIT/Fuse Gallery. Of course i jumped at the opportunity i mean this is where Kate Moss has been spotted and Lindsay Lohan goes to get..er, LIT!

So me and my video camera crawled into a coffin shaped storeroom, rubbed shoulders with the VVIPs, shimmied on the dance floor and even cornered Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in a very dark green room to bring you and the readers of the NY Times this report…check out the video below and the full story on the Local East Village blog