This isn’t the first time I’ve realized this.
Bylines don’t tell the whole story.
You can compare it to a movie: The credits roll and only one name is shown. “By: John Smith”. Forget all the actors, producers, cameramen and audio mixers.
A byline doesn’t even begin to tell a reader how much goes into the story. I realized this last summer with my first nationally broadcast video story about the oyster industry after the Gulf Oil Disaster. It took video editors, fellow producers, writers, photographers and so much more to shape my piece into usable material.
Now, this summer, the same rule applies with print copy. Photographers, fellow reporters, copy editors, the sources; they all have important roles in the finished product, shaping how the final version gets printed, but most people don’t realize the true teamwork that is necessary to produce quality journalism.
This frightens me a bit. I’ve been trained to be a convergence journalist, a mobile newsroom, an all-in-one man. But how can I possibly be all those things to produce outstanding journalism?
I’m not saying it is impossible to do; it certainly is. But I think backpack journos like myself forget how much more efficient teamwork can be than producing everything yourself.