Karl Idsvoog is a highly versatile and cost-effective multimedia trainer/consultant. He was an investigative reporter/producer/manager in local, network, syndicated television and online journalism, before moving into training/consulting and education.
Idsvoog has completed highly successful media development/training missions for the U.S. Department of State, the International Center for Journalists, Internews, Radio Free Asia and IREX. In the Republic of Georgia following the Rose Revolution, Idsvoog served as a founding member of the news advisory board to help Georgian Public Television restructure its news gathering operations. He developed and taught the broadcast curriculum for the Caucasus School of Journalism & Media Management in Tbilisi. In Armenia, he helped Yerevan State University restructure its journalism curriculum as the school moved from a theoretical to a practical based program. During more peaceful and cooperative times with Syria, Idsvoog helped management at Syrian National Television pinpoint structural problems in its workflow and production systems. In Kenya, Idsvoog helped journalists improve their strategic approach to developing solid news stories. In Cambodia, Idsvoog helped radio journalists become multimedia journalists as they began reporting for the web.
At Radio Free Asia’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., Idsvoog has done voice training for on-air journalists in the Mandarin, Cambodian, Burmese, Tibetan, Vietnamese and Korean services. In Botswana, Tunisia and Egypt, the training often turned to distribution on social media, how to shoot good video with your phone and how to use it effectively on your blog.
Idsvoog continually critiques media on his blog
, where the branding slogan is: When journalism fails, bad things happen.
The reason Idsvoog relates so well to journalists is twofold: he has a true passion for journalism and he has spent much of his career producing stories that matter instead of blather that doesn’t. His investigation of the federal government’s cover-up of the health effects of the open air nuclear tests on the people of Southern Utah and Nevada (co-produced with Lucky Severson and Susan Lavery) and his investigation of the illegal business practices of the Japanese machine tool giant Mazak both received the Columbia DuPont award.
Idsvoog has won national reporting awards for health reporting, education reporting, investigative reporting and online reporting. Margie Freaney, the founding academic director of the Caucasus School of Journalism, a person who has trained journalists throughout Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, calls Idsvoog the “best journalism educator” she has ever seen.
Susan Gilles, the John E. Sullivan Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, critiques the book in a single sentence as she writes, “If you are going to have one book about how to access government records in Ohio, then Marburger and Idsvoog’s Access with Attitude is the one you want on your shelf.”
Idsvoog travels with camera, microphones and a laptop full of media software – Avid, Adobe Premier, Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Motion, Photoshop. “Give me a few days,” says Idsvoog, “and I can take journalists who’ve never touched a camera and have them shooting and editing with confidence, and I can help almost anyone improve her or his on-camera presence.”
Idsvoog was among the first broadcast journalists to utilize CAR (computer-assisted reporting) and started one of the first online CAR units. Idsvoog jumped on the dotcom rocket and rode it from blastoff to bankruptcy oblivion at APBNews.com, a New York based web site that won every major journalism award in the book. Idsvoog was vice president of project development, overseeing the site’s most successful interactive applications; he was also in charge of usability testing.
He is currently working with a new startup Washington, D.C., web site, Newsit. Newsit is designed from inception for mobile media reporting. Idsvoog is a journalist who understands the entrepreneurial side of business, and not just from being part of the dotcom boom or working now with Newsit. After the network news magazine he was with got the ratings ax, Idsvoog launched his own business venture, Direct Video Marketing, at the time one of the first marketing companies advocating that clients get aggressive with video.
His MPO sales machine (a TV monitor attached to a c-format VHS player) cost $1,600. But it broke down sales doors as potential clients wanted to see the unique piece of gear. Every call was a cold call. Clients included Oldsmobile, Fitness Master Exercise Equipment, The Abbey Resort on Lake Geneva, Western Zirconium and Carthage College. Every campaign achieved the client’s objectives.
Idsvoog has a BA and MA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he was selected as the school’s outstanding graduate. He was a 1983 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He is married, and he and his wife Kathy have two adult children. His daughter, Kate, is an elementary school teacher and his son, Adam, is an international relations/spanish major at Kent State. Idsvoog teaches a range of multimedia journalism courses
at Kent State.
Want a free car? Become a college sports coach.
SHOWCASE | April 26, 2012
Kent State student reporters find one school where coaches are advised to give car dealers tickets to games or other events, learn about their families, invite them to play golf, and so on. Works for the athletic department; not advised for science or history professors, or others.
J-students take on athletic departments and the NFL
SHOWCASE | March 08, 2012
Kent State students in Karl Idsvoog’s classes do solid watchdog reporting, as shown in a series of interviews questioning the lopsided, costly favoritism that athletes – and coaches – get at university after university.
The NiemanWatchdog.org website is no longer being updated. Watchdog stories have a new home in Nieman Reports.