Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Radio, TV, Newspapers- Natalie Caula's Been There, Done That

Natalie Caula, a staff reporter at The Post and Courier in Charleston, has crammed a lot of what some call "legacy" media experience into the six years since her college graduation. Since graduating in 2007 from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications, Caula has held news reporting positions at radio and television stations and now at a daily newspaper.

Post and Courier reporter Natalie Caula
"The more things you can do, the more valuable you will be to employers," Caula told communication students in my multimedia reporting class recently. "You have to set yourself apart, and you will do that by really owning the web movement."

Caula just marked one year at The Post and Courier where she covers crime and courts. She's part of the paper's three-person Quick Response Team, which is at the ready to report "breaking" news such as crime, accidents and fires online and via social media.

Previously, Caula worked five years at Charleston's ABC affiliate, WCIV-TV Channel 4 where she covered all types of local news such as this story about North Charleston's image as a city: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mhoj4EcOGNI

While at the University of Florida, Caula, who is from Miami, worked for nearly three years at news and information radio station WUFT.

With such diverse journalism experience, Caula is uniquely equipped for- and comfortable with- today's 21st century multimedia reporting. She says she likes the in-depth writing opportunities available at her newspaper and is also skilled at producing online video reports for The Post and Courier's online presence, charleston.net. She's also active on Facebook and Twitter, sharing news briefs and soliciting story ideas and contacts. And oh by the way, she is fluent in Spanish as well.

To the students, she emphasized the importance of social media savvy. "If you don't get on the train, you'll be left behind," Caula said. She told of longtime journalists who not only don't get promoted for being on the social media "train," they get demoted or fired.

Caula shared examples of her storytelling for both television and print. She shared a fine feature report she and her videographer produced for WCIV-TV about a "clock whisperer" working at Charleston's venerable St. Michael's Church. From her work at The Post and Courier, she spoke about a recent court hearing she covered. The defendant was very stoic but Caula noticed a tear tattoo under one of his eyes. That observation was worked into a compelling lead to her story.

"Pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention to the details," she told the students. "Add color. Always be thinking about what your lead will be."

In her six years since college, Caula has seen great changes in the news business, and she's prepared for more change. "I can't tell you in 10 years there will be a Post and Courier paper" she said. "But it will be online. If I ever get laid off, I know I can go back to radio and television."

With her skill set and positive and professional attitude, Caula's multimedia reporting and producing talents are in demand more than ever.