Advice from NBC’s Richard Engle

From NBC

From NBC

This is the release from NBC Publicity with selected clips:

NBC News’ Richard Engel was on Late Night with Seth Meyers and he gave some great advice for young journalists. He also talked about the CIA torture, living in the Middle East and volunteering as a “human shield” for Saddam Hussein.

Richard’s advice for up and coming journalists:

· “It is good to have ambition- and go out to where a story is, but go slowly.”
· “Don’t just grab a camera and go to Syria because you will end up kidnapped or worse.”
· “I was in the middle east for seven years, learning the language, learning the place before I went to a real warzone. “
· “So it’s like climbing a mountain. Don’t go to Everest as your first expedition. Don’t be afraid of the mountains , just take some time.”

Richard on the CIA torture report:

· “So there are people that I’m taking to that are happy that this is coming out because they think it is a horrible chapter in American history and a dark period after 9/11 that shouldn’t be repeated.”
· “There are other however who say- yes it is dark, but those who are taking it to task now, knew about it at the time. They are finding that hypocritical.”

Richard on being a human shield for Saddam Hussein:

· “I was a human shield for Saddam Hussain. …. They thought a good way to end the invasion would be to invite a whole lot of Americans and have them hold signs and chain themselves to his facilities-‘Please don’t bomb’ and he was giving out visa to Americans to come and do this- to chain themselves to oil facilities or roads.”
· “I couldn’t get a normal visa- this was not the preferred route in. “
· “So I said- I will take one of these visas-I’ll volunteer to be a human shield-obviously I had no intension of being a human shield. And I got the visa, went in and then disappeared. I went underground and faded from the regimes radar.”

The Power of Using a Motivator in Your Storytelling

In my writing workshops, I often talk about what I consider to be the BIG motivators that make stories work.
You can attach your story to money, family, health, safety, community, moral outrage, curiosity and/or social trending and any story can become more interesting for a wider number of people. The more motivators you can hit, the better.

See how many motivators you can count in this new online ad:

The ad would have a narrow audience if it was just aimed at beer-drinkers or dog-lovers. But it is more than that. It speaks to safety and family. That is why it is a mega online hit.

Of course there is that issue of whether you should drink so much that you are unsafe. But that’s another commercial.

Veteran TV Journalists Share Ferguson Experiences

I interviewed a half dozen senior journalists who were on the ground covering the story in Ferguson, Missouri and, interestingly, most said the police treated them with respect.
They said while some officers were hot-headed and emotional, many more were calm and gave journalists the space they needed to do their jobs.
Read the story here from


Other journalists describe very different experiences in this story from Neiman:

Police aggressiveness and media coverage in Ferguson: In the second week of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police, the targeting, threats, and violence toward journalists only escalated, with at least six more journalists arrested, including Getty Images photographer Scott Olson. Ryan Devereaux, a reporter for First Look Media’s The Intercept, spent the night in jail, being arrested (though not charged) because of “failure to disperse,” as he explained in a first-person account.

In addition to the arrests, at least four reporters caught police on tape threatening to mace, shoot, “bust your head,” or kill them. (The officer who made the latter threat was suspended.) Forty-eight media organizations signed a letter protesting the violent treatment of journalists and the lack of information being provided about those incidents and Brown’s shooting. As the week went on, journalists began being harassed and threatened by protesters as well when they attempted to record looting.