Murrow Monday: The MMJane advantage

May 6, 2019 11:00

“At first, I thought being an MMJ was a disadvantage as a storyteller,” says Morgan Wolfe. But three years into her news career, she’s come to see shooting, writing and editing her own stories as an advantage. Now, she has a Murrow Award to back her up.

A compilation of Morgan’s MMJ day turns earned a 2019 regional Murrow for WMTV-TV in Excellence in Writing. Each of the three stories showcases “average community members doing extraordinary things,” including a man who comforts infants in intensive care and a trash-to-treasure story of an acrobatic performer.

“Making people smile is just as powerful as triggering them to shed a tear,” Morgan says of her uplifting stories, and how widely they’re shared indicates just how much the community can come together and care.

The MMJ Advantage
How does Morgan manage to tell award-winning stories as a solo crew?

She explains:
Behind the lens, I can get the shots I want to write to, and hear natural sound in the moment.  Of course, I can pivot my ideas after interviews, but generally speaking, shooting, editing, and writing my own stories gives me full creative control of how I want to tell them! 

Those play to a MMJ’s advantage while editing!  
Editing on deadline can still be a challenge, but “shooting my own story makes it easier to put together during crunch time,” she says.

Skills to Learn
Morgan says each of the assignments in the compilation helped her develop another important skill that can be easy to overlook when multitasking: listening. Taking the time to invest in the conversation during interviews and to really listen led to a key fact that shaped one of the stories: The “Wacky Wheeler” had found his circus wheel in the garbage!

“When you are engaging, and listening, your vision of the story can take shape faster, or it can change,” she says, and what you learn can give viewers a deeper insight into a character’s personality.

Advice for MMJs
What should other MMJs do to put together stories written to the corners as well as Morgan’s?

“I go to my shoots knowing what I need to get and how I want my story to be told, she says.” Her primary piece of advice is to have a vision before heading out to shoot a story, then review your mental checklist before you go to avoid missing any key shots or moments. Having a “roadmap,” while staying flexible, helps keep the process smooth and on track, and leads to a better – even potentially Murrow-winning – product.

“I have a lot of pride in what I do and I hope other MMJ’s do too!”





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