Behind the News: From Pitch to TV…
jay-z_barack_obama2
Via Google images: Jigga and Obama…

By Ray LeMoine
Here’s a short film about New York’s young blacks on the eve of the elections. I worked on it with my neighbor, Hugh I Gilmore, a British journalist and filmmaker. Growing up, I always wondered how TV news was made. Well, in the case of this film, it began as this pitch I wrote:

6. My President is Black: Young Urban Blacks Ponder a Barack Future
“My President is Black”: that’s the title of the biggest song on New York’s airwaves right now. Next week America’s two biggest rappers, Jay Z and Lil Wayne, are performing in New Jersey. On the eve of the election, how does black America feel about one of their own finally coming to power? We’ll look at the Obama euphoria sweeping the Bronx, Harlem, and Brooklyn, following some Obama volunteers to the show. We will visit Power 105, the radio station sponsoring the show–which right now has an Obama ad in the headlines. We will interview Nas, the controversial rapper who’s recently taken to political activism. And we will go to the Power 105:Powerhouse concert at the IZod Center.

That went out on October 20th. Initial response was positive, but unlike other stories I’ve worked on, it didn’t get picked up right away. Then on Monday, October 27th, it was a go. But the Jay Z and Wayne concert was the next night, meaning we didn’t have much time. We went straight to Power 105 in Tribeca. They wouldn’t let us upstairs, but the publicist came down and said no access unless you go through Universal. We spent the next 20 hours trying to get the ok to film but were denied. But we decided to film the show guerilla style.

A field trip to Harlem came next, where we visited the Obama hq and met some young rap fans. The next night we went to see Murs, a political rapper, at the Bowery Ballroom. That concluded filming. Unfortunately, we never got Nas. Editing was done at Ole Schell’s in-house studio…and took about 20 hours longer than the 4 hours I’d promised him. (Sorry Ole.) The piece was finished Friday and aired Monday, November 3, the day before the election.

And that’s how this news sausage was made.

Advertisements