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Photographer stresses storytelling in atypical profession

   	 Photographer stresses storytelling in atypical profession

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WRAL-TV chief photographer Richard Adkinsrn speaks to broadcast production t ... (more)

12.08.2004Curriculum Programs

Sanford,rn NC–Video and radio production students at Centralrn Carolina Community College (CCCC) received some tips, storiesrn and broadcasting insight Wednesday, December 8, 2004. Richardrn Adkins, chief photographer at WRAL-TV, spoke to three broadcastrn production technology classes about a typical day in thern television industry.

rn “rn There are no typical days,” Adkins said.

rn That is easy to believe after hearing some of the storiesrn the 20-year industry vet shared about his experiences.rn Adkins has covered a murder trial and a mead-maker in thern same day. His job has taken him from the beaches of Northrn Carolina to the mountains of Japan. Adkins said on daysrn like those, it is great to be a television photographer. “It’srn like stealing money.”

rn However, Adkins stressed to the students that, while thern job can be rewarding, the most important part is tellingrn a person’s story. “We’re storytellers,” hern said. “Anybody can pick up a camera, not everyonern can tell a story.

rn “rn You can report the news all you want, but if you can introducern people to people it will be more memorable,” Adkinsrn explained. “Every story has a beginning, middle andrn end. But every story has to have a character. That’srn what it takes to tell a good television story. You havern to give the viewer something to connect with.”

rn Adkins urged students to be conversational in order torn bring out the best in a character and a story. “Justrn sit people down and talk to them,” he pleaded. “Yourn need to eliminate the sound byte. Let people talk to you.”

rn Adkins also spoke passionately about the ethics of coveringrn a story. When asked about staging or re-creating events,rn Adkins adamantly spoke against it. “That’srn not true. That’s not real,” he told the class. “It’srn not ethical. It’s not an option.” Adkins saidrn reporters and photographers can avoid such troublesomern situations by being prepared and said that in an industryrn based on trust you can not afford to compromise. “Ifrn I tip-toe over the line of staging, how can you ever trustrn me again?”

rn CCCC television instructor Heather Burgiss said this wasrn the third time this semester students have interacted withrn WRAL-TV employees. In October, television broadcast productionrn students toured WRAL studios in Raleigh. And in Novemberrn WRAL assistant news director Rick Gall spoke to the broadcastrn management class.

rn Burgiss said she hopes students learn a lot from peoplern like Adkins. “I think it always helps when they canrn be around a professional in the industry,” she said. “Irn hope they learn about how to do things right the next timern they are covering a story. Hopefully they’ll do somethingrn different than they would have before and think about thingsrn more ethically.”

rn For more information on the broadcast production technologiesrn program at CCCC visit You can also contact media technologies department chair Bill Freeman atrn