The music decides': Editor of the Year reveals his method
By Tayler Reviere Verninas
Kyle Porter is not a musician. He’s a photographer, editor and producer. But Porter admits it's music that makes his stories stand out.
“Music drives the edits,” Porter said. “I can pause if there’s a nice beat; I can let it beep and then pause for a minute as I sit on a shot. I edit based on what the music sounds like. I don’t know what the package is going to look like. The music decides.”
He believes his greatest strength in editing is finding the right music and pacing.
“I somehow find it easy to seamlessly mix and blend musical tracks in my editing to change the mood and overall feeling,” Porter said.
Porter won the NPPA Best of Photography Editor of the Year award for the second year in a row. He is the special projects photojournalist, a producer and an editor at KHOU, the CBS affiliate in Houston. The Columbia College Chicago graduate started his journalism career in Quincy, Illinois, at market 171 as a sports anchor and reporter. But it was in Minnesota where his storytelling got started.
“I created my storytelling foundation working at KARE in Minneapolis years ago, then added the flair and drama of Houston news,” Porter said. “I think my photojournalism is pretty standard, but I have a distinct style of editing that Houston seems to love.”
He described the trust he believes a storyteller upholds when working with the characters of a story.
“My responsibility is making them glad they invited us into their lives for that day, so it needs to be a phenomenal edit,” Porter said. “I’m editing not only for my station, myself and the reporter. I am editing for the people because they get to keep it for the rest of their lives and maybe restore their trust in media. I get to be that!”
Porter said he was shocked when his name was announced for Editor of the Year at the West Coast Workshop awards ceremony in San Diego.
“I didn’t know what to say,” Porter said. “I don’t even remember what I said on the mic, but a complete honor. I go to work to do my job, and to be recognized nationally, I can't believe this is happening again. I truly am so shocked.”
Porter shared how sometimes he gets teary-eyed while editing, but that’s when he knows it’s working. He believes the most important element of storytelling is editing.
“It doesn’t have to be great photography; it’s the editing that makes it happen!” Porter said. “It’s the way you put it together, and that’s when you feel stuff then. It’s how you piece that puzzle together. That can make or break the story.”
In the end, it was Porter’s ability to piece those puzzles together, along with the music, that earned him this honor twice in a row. ■
The Editor of the Year receives $1000, a SONY-sponsored award in the Best of Photojournalism contest.