Telum Talks To:  Corazon Miller from TVNZ

Telum Talks To: Corazon Miller from TVNZ

By Cindy Paskalina Kweesar

Telum Media spoke to Corazon Miller from TVNZ on how she puts together stories for 1News and what types of pitches pique her interest.

Describe a day in the life of a News Reporter at 1News at 6pm? 
Every day is different in the newsroom. Some days, I’ll be looking at issues of the day - anything from migrant worker protests to reporting on this year’s blossoming Pōhutukawa trees. These are often compiled during the day and can require a bit of a mad scramble to find people who are willing to talk on camera and go out on shoots before returning to the office to transcribe, script, voice, and edit it all together. All with the help of amazing producers, camera people, and video editors. 

It’s a tight turnaround. I like to be scripted by 4pm or 4.30pm at the latest to give me time to change anything with the edit. But there are times when, for various reasons, we’ve gotten uncomfortably close to the deadline. My closest call made it with 30 seconds to spare!

Between the demands of daily news, I like to dig away at some stories that you can’t just turn around on the day. In recent times, my stories have revolved around immigration challenges, from the dairy farmer who may be forced to leave New Zealand after ten years to the plight of Afghan children who arrived in New Zealand without their parents. Stories like these can take anywhere from a few days to a few months.

While much of this content ends up on the TV bulletin, I also contribute to the growing content 1News has in the digital space. This can be anything from a small social media explainer and analysis of an area of expertise to lifestyle features and big in-depth features. But as is the nature of a newsroom on a day with breaking news, your day can change in a flash as you are sent out the door with no idea what to expect till you arrive on location.

What is the most challenging part of the role?
One of the most challenging parts of the role is working on sensitive stories, particularly building trust that you are a safe pair of hands to share their story with and have it broadcast to a nationwide audience. I have worked through various strategies to try and alleviate this stress, but in some cases, people simply aren’t comfortable and want their faces blurred or don’t want to be interviewed on camera at all. If this happens, I have to think of creative ways to tell the story, but there have been a few cases where I just haven’t been able to do the story as the camera proved too much of a deterrent.

Do you have a most memorable story you’ve worked on to date?
It’s hard to pick just one. I’ve met so many interesting people and canvassed so many issues. I’ve been lucky enough to receive funding in years gone by to do internships in Asia, where I was able to travel a bit and explore issues like the state of foster care in Indonesia. I was also lucky enough to live in London for a few years and cover some fun events, such as the Venice Biennale and the royal wedding, for the NZ Herald. But by and large, the stories I tend to be the most proud of are those I think have shared a side of society we haven’t heard much about before.

What would your ideal story pitch look like?
My ideal story pitch would be something that is topical and offers us something new, but importantly, in this space, it has the human talent and visual elements to pull it all together. I also appreciate it when, after I’ve given feedback, the contact is willing to be flexible with deadlines and to discuss any potential gaps I feel exist. And while I appreciate constructive advice about who in the wider industry could be good talent, I don’t like being told who I can or can not talk to and what the angle has to be. While I am always open to discussion, I do think that if you reach out to a journalist, there needs to be an element of trust that goes both ways. My pet peeve is the overuse of the word “exclusive”. In our books, this is reserved for something unreported that no one has, but it is also difficult to easily source.

What is in your journo toolbox?
My laptop, an earpiece for live crosses, a work jacket if it rains, a notebook and a pen, or if I lose that as often happens, just the digital notepad on my phone.

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Corazon Miller

News Reporter

1News (New Zealand) 1News at 6pm

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