I’m Daniel Woolfolk. I’m a video journalist at Sightline Media Group—the Defense News and Military Times parent company. I am a producer and co-host of Defense News Weekly.
How did my love for journalism shape the path I took in my career?
How was your University time?
At university, I studied languages because it’s something I’m interested in, but I always loved magazines. By my last year, I knew I wanted to be a photojournalist and was eventually accepted to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where I studied magazine journalism. I Interned at Lens, the photojournalism blog of The New York Times.
Why did you choose a career in this field?
I loved photography and, initially, I wanted to be a commercial photographer, but my favorite photographers all started at newspapers and magazines. By the time I got started, the video was the big thing, so I embraced it, and it’s what I do to this day. And, as planned, I have branched out to commercial video.
What was your first job or nuggets from jobs you had that helped you get to where you are today?
My first job was as a reporter covering an Army base. I did daily stories and some photo stories. My editor gave me a tidbit that stays true even when I brand out to commercial work: The news is just interesting people doing interesting things.
How did you prepare for the interview?
When I got to my current job, covering defense and military, I had known people here and had covered a similar beat. I interviewed once before and didn’t get the job, but I kept in touch, and when it was eventually time for me to interview again, it was just a matter of talking to people I already knew. Since they were familiar with my work, I didn’t really have to do much convincing of what I was capable of.
Things are changing very fast in the industry; how do you keep yourself updated. Please list techniques or newsletters, podcasts, events, etc.
I watch a lot of YouTube to see what others are producing. Since I work in video production, I like to see behind-the-scenes videos and pictures to see how people are lighting their scenes. Lighting is my favorite skill of the job.
Any advice about CVs?
Yes. Now that I’m hiring people, I can safely say to keep your resume short, relevant, and easy to read. (I’m in the USA). When I’ve had to read resumes, it’s usually because we need more staff–meaning I’m super busy. I shouldn’t have to ask, “Wait, why am I reading this?”
Advice for someone looking for a job?
Show me that you can make the team better. I was hired, in part, because I’m a backpack journalist. I can go anywhere and come back with a story. At this job, I have been able to jump on a plane with a camera to a vague assignment anywhere in the world and come back with solid stories. Recently we’ve been looking at candidates who have made some content on newer social media like TikTok and Twitch.
Why do you think you were selected among other candidates?
I was selected among other candidates because they saw that I produced quality work regularly. They saw me on social media and news sites constantly publishing good content. They knew they wouldn’t have to spend much time holding my hand and, since I knew people in the company, they knew I’d be a fit.
What’s something you’ve learned later in your career?
Don’t be everything to everyone. In journalism, it’s an asset to be good at ten things at a time, but it’s not lasting quality. Nobody will respect you if you say yes to every idea all of the time, and you won’t advance. I’ve gotten better at saying no and focusing on meaningful work.
Even though I have diverse production and writing skills, I work on a simple personal brand. My productions are efficient, structured, and look great. Still, after years of producing, I base my editorial and commercial storytelling on one key principle: It’s just interesting people doing interesting things.
Tag few friends/colleagues whose story you would like to see them share their story
I will get back to you on this one. I have a couple of ideas but I have to sleep on them.
Also read My Journey as a Senior Event Producer