is one of the most awarded journalists in the business. He's the only person ever to win both the highest award for investigative reporting (IRE Scroll) and also be named the best news photographer in the United States (NPPA Photographer of the Year).
During the past two decades, Rensberger has crossed the globe working as a one-man-band. He's worked extensively throughout Europe and has brought home stories from Central America to Asia and almost all points in between. His work has aired on dozens of networks across North America, Europe and Australia.
Throughout the years, Rensberger has also worked as a news trainer. He's lectured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and has trained thousands of journalists in more than 30 countries. The BBC refers to Rensberger as the "best VJ in the world."
Scott has been a Reporter/Photographer at these stations
KIRO-TV Seattle, WA
KCNC-TV Denver, CO
WKRN-TV Nashville, TN
WNEM-TV Saginaw, MI
WLNS-TV Lansing, MI
WTWO-TV Terre Haute, IN
If you want to hire Scott as a Reporter, Photographer or an Editor, please contact him for schedule and rates. He also lectures and trains several times a year at various news organizations and conferences. If you would like him to teach at your station, workshop or university--shoot him an email. He responds immediately!
"Just wanted to say Scott is fantastic! The troops loved him."
"Scott Rensberger was an ace! He was really inspiring, very positive and gave practical news advise."
"Rensberger gave good advise on telling the truth and not staging."
"Rensberger inspired me and made me fall in love with my job again."
"What a revelation. He got a standing ovation here."
-Feedback from the BBC College of Journalism
"I can say I've never been more fascinated with a lecture in my life. I am the assignment editor but couldn't draw myself away for even a moment to take care of last night's show. Instead, I let the show look after itself. It was a fabulous eight hours: your stories were an inspiration." Clive Jackson, Assignment Manager - Global TV Vancouver, BC
"The best natural teacher of television I have ever seen!" Bob Behrens, President - NATAS South Florida
"I want to say thank you for the best week ever. The workshop was nothing less than fantastic." Katja Hojbjerg, Reporter - Denmark TV2 East
"Thanks for the awesome lecture tonight. This was the best seminar I've had so far. It really makes me want to do what you're doing. So inspiring." Albertine Bloemendal - University of Leiden
"Not only are you the future of TV news, you're the person everyone wants. I'm not surprised." Steve Sweitzer - Head of the NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop
"The feedback has been superb - participants felt inspired, challenged and highly entertained. You were a big hit." Andrew Wilson, Head Trainer - BBC London
"I know you must wonder how many people you actually reach at conferences, especially since you get a short amount of time with people but those few short hours did more for me than I can express." Allison Long - The Kansas City Star
"You are talented, funny, cute and friendly -- all of the stuff that made you a big hit. You're a gem of a teacher." Sharon Freed - Head of the NPPA Oklahoma Workshop
"I did it! I won Danish Television Photographer of the Year. I owe everything to you, Scott. Thanks for opening my eyes." Jesper Sterum, Video Journalist - TV2 Denmark
"Many folks in the newsroom are still talking about the presentation. Selected quotes include, 'He is the most enthusiastic journalist I've ever met' and 'Now I remember why I love this job'." Warwick Wise, VJ Trainer - BBC Royal Tunbridge Wells
"Personally, I was very impressed by your enthusiasm, your love of the job and your positive approach to life and work." Keith Bradbury, News Director - British Columbia TV
"Thanks to YOUR training and YOUR personality my work has greatly improved. YOU gave me that decisive kick." Gisela Stalger, Reporter - BRTV Germany
"You're an artist." Ray Farkas - Off Center Productions
By Laura Ellis, BBC
"Scott Rensberger has been a Video Journalist longer than just about anyone in the world. There's a clue in his physique. 20 years of carrying all his kit on his back has given him linebacker shoulders and worsened a damaged left ankle he's planning to get surgery on just as soon as he finds the time. Aside from this, he has a shelf full of awards, a business which takes him around the globe and enough funny stories to keep twenty after dinner speakers happy for a decade.
Scott has been working with the BBC for just over a year, passing on his techniques and running workshops on story telling and story finding. So what's so special about the man who's been dubbed 'the world's best VJ?'. Intrigued to find out, I went on the road with him when he accepted our challenge to spend a week finding and shooting stories in London.
His plan was to use public transport whenever possible and work with a BBC kit. He did a crash course on a Z1 camera, edited on an AVID laptop and brought a couple of his own extras - a very lightweight tripod he claimed to be 'in love with' and his favourite LED light panel.
Day one dawned and with a subway card and a quick introduction to city geography he was away. First stop, 2000 years of London's history. Scott had come equipped with 85 potential stories - all gathered his usual way - a combination of talking to anyone and everyone, reading everything he can lay his hands on and a bit of internet thrown in for good measure. He had cast his net widely with potential subjects ranging from a man who loves rats to an idea based around adopted AIDS orphans.
Watching him decide whether an idea holds a story is like watching someone pan for gold. He grabs hold of a handful of thoughts and shakes them around, throwing out questions and possibilities. He has no fear of scrapping the whole notion and starting again if it doesn't contain the nugget of gold that, as he puts it, makes the hair on the back of neck stand on end. Dropping in unannounced on the team who run Tower Bridge, he had five people brainstorming within minutes. Did the Bridge have a cat? Did it have a bedroom? Who worked there the longest? Who knew most about it? 'I heard', said someone, 'that in an emergency, Eric the Bridge Master can lift the bridge from his front room'. I swear I could see the hairs on the back of Scott's neck start to rise.
Once he has his 'nugget' things really start to heat up. He writes a script that reflects how the story might pan out. Then he shoots to this script, adapting it as the story unfolds and changing things wholesale if there are unexpected twists or changes of direction. He is disciplined about what he shoots and would rather have fifteen good shots of something he knows he wants than fifty 'just in case' shots. As each shoot progresses he's restless always on the look for something new, something better, something no one else knows. He's picky. The words 'stock footage' don't feature in his vocabulary. He uses all the light, time and energy he can lay his hands on.
Then there's his interview technique. He likes to let subjects lead him around a location, taking him and his camera to where the action is. He hates staging and dislikes using one location for more than one soundbite so he's constantly on the move. He asks long questions, often 'doubles' because they tend to give him self contained soundbites he wants and has a disarming way of breaking off into a chat or an anecdote or asking his interviewee if they're having fun. They usually are.
In each part of the process there's an obvious pride in a good job done. Scott grew up in rural Indiana. His background, he says, 'gave him the gift of poverty' and shaped his appetite for adventure. The rough and tumble of being the youngest of seven children with a stock car driver mom and a dad who died when Scott was just two, stood him in good stead when he began to carve out a TV career as a multi-skilled journalist in America's most unionised town. His stubbornness has got him a long way since. Throughout his career, he has battled dyslexia and prejudice against his 'one man band' status. He also took on a remarkable adversary in Bill Gates, disputing in a court of law, an issue over access to public land. At the time, he was the only person to have come out on top in a legal wrangle with Gates and he may still be. Now that's a story!
He leaves each shoot with a couple of extra story ideas to follow up, a stash of telephone numbers and an average of forty minutes of film. Once he has logged his pictures and refined his script, he lays down his track and edits until he's happy. He uses a lot of quick cuts and natural sound and his scripts are very lean with the words carefully placed for maximum impact. His pieces are designed to involve the viewer, to draw us closer, find a way to make us pay attention. He likes to drop little 'gifts' throughout a piece - new pieces of information to surprise us and make the story memorable. His idea of a well told story is one that we'll still recall years after the event.
In his time in London, Scott ended up cutting three stories - one about the undiscovered treasures of Roman London, one about London's complex relationship with the rat and one about a forgotten landmark. He has another eighty or so stories he's love to come back to, including one about London Bridge. Sadly, Eric can't lift the bridge in an emergency from his front room (but I'd like to think that at this very moment he's working on finding a way).
There've been thousands of words spoken and written about Video Journalists working. Scott doesn't spend a lot of time adding to them 'I don't care much for debating methods', he says - 'it's all just about good stories'. Scott Rensberger doesn't really do dogma. He's only interested in whatever works and he's found a way that works for him. He's at pains to point out that it might not work for everyone but watching this remarkable journalist foraging for ideas in an unfamiliar city with only his insatiable appetite for storytelling, and a subway map for company I think there's still a lot we can learn from him and this is borne out by the incredible feedback he gets from the groups he talks to. 'Inspiring' is the word they use most about him. Perhaps the snappiest comment came from his most recent session. It said, simply, and with a nod to Scott's own tight control on word count 'Awesome Dude'.
I still hadn't got to what really made him tick, though. Why would a 45 year old with a well paid job, a comfortable home in DC and a 'hitch in his gitalong' get such a kick out of travelling three thousand miles just to poke into the lives of Londoners? Over a iced venti decaf skim latte - he has never knowingly walked past a Starbucks - he explained.
'If I go up to someone in here and start talking to them, they think I'm a freak. If I go up to them and start talking to them with a camera it's a passport into their lives. I want to help people talk to other people about their passions and this is my way of doing it'. And with that, he picked up his beloved tripod, his LED light panel and limped off into the sunset, cursing the fading light.
I can still hear his voice. 'You call that an ending? No one's going to remember me walking off into the sunset. At the very least you need a car chase or some guns'.