The Perks of Being a Video Reporter

As the end of the year approaches, I feel it’s time to disclose some of the sweet perks I enjoyed as the Forward’s video reporter. Just to confess and get clean for 2015.

1) I got to travel

The best thing about being a video reporter is that you can’t do your interviews over the phone. You have to go out into the world. That’s how I escape my sun-deprived office desk on a regular basis.

For “Cracow Crescendo” I traveled to Poland to capture the voices of a new choir at the local JCC. Listen closely. Between song lines, you can hear the cautious hope for a Jewish revival.

For “Nomadic Love” I walked the gritty streets of Berlin with artist Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, who told me how the German capital has become a magnet for soul-searchers from Israel.

And for “Scars in the Garden” I stepped deep into the mud of East Detroit to learn about a community farm where African-Americans and Jews come together to harvest a new era of trust.

2) I got backstage access

My job exposes me to all kinds of bizarre business practices of which I was previously unaware.

For the “Tiniest Victim of Passover Cleaning” I got to peek at the professionals who specialize in pre-Pesach cleaning operations and charge good amounts of money to wipe out every speck of hametz.

While working on “Orthodox Wig World” I learned everything about religious Jewish wigs that I was afraid to ask.

And I spent a whole day with a “Nice Jewish Exterminator.” Moshe Stein kills New York’s hardiest bedbugs, ants, rats and roaches — all while obeying the Torah’s warnings against causing unnecessary pain to animals. The downside: I felt itchy weeks after the shoot.

3) I got to laugh

This year I had the chance to meet a lot of witty women who are fearlessly funny.

For “Comedy About Choice” I interviewed Jenny Slate about her role in “Obvious Child,” a film that deals with abortion in a new way by showing a woman’s ownership over her own mistakes.

In “Drawing the Last Chapter” New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast told me how she turned her parents’ demise into a tragicomic graphic memoir. It’s the type of book that makes you cry and laugh simultaneously.

And for my video profile of “Ruth Bader Ginsburg” I met a young law student who turned her intellectual crush into the latest Internet sensation.

4) I got free career advice

For “Women on Top” I shadowed three powerful female CEOs who shared insights on how to challenge sexism in the workplace. I also learned how to negotiate my salary.

5) I got free food

For “Lox Me Tender” I had the pleasure of munching on thinly sliced lox behind the Zabar’s fish counter. I also heard more about lox and lovemaking than I had initially sought out when I started working on the story.

6) I got to see secrets. Lots of them.

As a video reporter, I meet strangers in their offices, cars and bedrooms. I ask them about their hair, their parents and their salaries. Some of these secrets unfold in my films. But the rest I try to keep to myself.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Author

Martyna Starosta

Martyna Starosta

Martyna Starosta is the digital media producer of the Forward.

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The Perks of Being a Video Reporter

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