Lecture by Brad Kalbfeld, former AP Managing Editor/ Broadcast

On Tuesday, April 5, 2011, Brad Kalbfeld stopped by George Mason University to talk to Online Journalism students. Kalbfeld is a digital pioneer. You can check out his website, Interactivity, LLC.

For more than 36 years, he has been a :

  • writer
  • reporter
  • editor
  • news executive
  • including 22 as Managing Editor/Broadcast for The Associated Press.

Kalbfeld was responsible for AP’s broadcast wire, audio and domestic video operations and has produced coverage of such major events as 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf, two space shuttle disasters and five presidential elections.  

He started out the lecture by showing off his laptop in the 1980’s. It was a typewriter. He then went on to show us his electronic laptop he got in the early 1990’s.

Kalbfeld’s description of the event. who is the source of a story (ie: Reporter or “Joe Six-Pack”) and how the information trickles down the .

The news event process is like this:

  1. Event happens
  2. Reporter OR “Joe Six-Pack” reports on it
  3. Copy Editor okays it
  4. Section Editor/ Show Producer okays it
  5. This can go straight to the Reader/Viewer OR go to a Managing Editor before going to the Reader/Viewer

A student in class, Melissa Sathmary said, “Citizen journalists have the opportunity to fabricate stories though, like Balloon boy.”

Responding Kalbfeld said, “Professional journalists are scared of citizen journalists. So there is a pressure to give more credence in their articles.”

Investigative journalism has changed in the past 36 years. “There is less money involved on the local level for investigative journalism. However, it is a great way to get attention. And if you do that enough, it’s a great business plan to make money. It is one of the chief ways investigative journalists can make enough money to make a living,” said Kalbfeld.

He wrapped up the lecture by saying, “The world is your new editor”.

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