Nowadays, if you have a phone, a computer and eventually a website, and most of all, if you want to consider yourself a journalist, you might become one. The same, or even easier, if you want to become a media fixer. The question is: it really so easy to offer quality without having a solid background? No, it’s not. It’s possible to be able to fool some of your potential clients, but on long term it won’t work. In the end, this article is not about the strategy„Fake it until you make it”. I want just to focus on how important is to work with a media and documentary fixer with high experience in the field of journalism.
Here are my 10 reasons:
1.It is harder for a fixer who is not a journalist to think like a journalist, than it is for a journalist who is also a fixer to think like a fixer.
2.You would need probably a fixer with imagination, and being a journalist means higher chances to be creative.
3.As a journalist or documentary maker you would speak 100% the same language with a fixer who is also a journalist. You both know the most important thing is to get the story and also know how to reach it.
4.Journalists are used to crisis situations, for instance when an interview was canceled or a person important for the story does not show up. Most probably, if your fixer is also a reporter (so he already experienced such situations in the past), he already has a backup. Or, at least his chances to find an alternative are high.
5.Actually, from the very beggining, when you try to cover a story, a journalist-fixer would be able to estimate if and how you would get the story.
Research is the key!
6.Speaking about research, I am convinced an experienced journalist, who made a lot of research during his proffesional carrieer, for his or her own stories, is a better solution than someone who covered just a few or not at all for his or her own pieces.
7.If you work with somebody who is only a fixer, you might have another surprise: he or she might be very good when it is about having approvals and translation work, but not so good for the rest of the job. And the rest of the job is in my opinion vital: what is it the story about and how you find the best persons, places and situation to tell a story, no matter is a TV story, a newspaper reportage or a TV documentary.
8.I am also producing TV stories from time to time and I write stories for media abroad. And I don’t have a fixer, because I cover these stories in my country. I am the one doing all the work, which is, in the end, both the work of a fixer and the work of a journalist. I deal both with invoices, figures, filming or photo approvals, and with research, sources, interviews.
9.Some would say TV documentaries are a different thing. But in the end, if you take a better look, it’s also about telling a story, but more in-depth. Following this idea, it’s again about the skills and experience, and, again, being an experienced journalist involved as a fixer would add more value to the production.
10.Sometimes, you can see companies offering “fixer services for media”. I saw a travel company doing this. I think you wouldn’t want to get in touch with what I can say is basically a “reseller”. I also saw fixers offering the services of a another journalists and being also just simple “resellers” who add no value. I really thing this is too much. I understand business, but this is not business, it’s just speculating and it also probably raising the fee. Why would you want to get deal with something like this?