Newspaper Video: Debate highlights good practice

The discussion about the judging of online video has the capacity to become a real meta-conversation but, as with all good chat amongst people with experience and passion in the area, it also throws up the useful stuff.

In the Newspaper video yahoo group, where a lot of this stuff plays out, Chuck Fadely has linked to ‘good’ newspaper video.

But in clicking round the comments I’ve also found one or two people doing the ‘taxonomy’ thing for online video that I did a while back. It’s fair to say that my take on it feel more in to the production process and output side of things.

Paul Bradshaw’s defining areas fall in to the same area but have a much more editorial slant:

  • ‘Moving pictures’. I call this the ‘Daily Prophet approach’ after the newspaper in Harry Potter where the images are magically animated. This is where video is added to a text story as an illustration, without narration but in the same way as a still image might be used. A good example is this story from the Eastern Daily Press. I’m also thinking CCTV footage would fit here;
  • The Video Diary. This splits into two sub-categories:
    • The video blog/vlog: person speaks into camera about their thoughts/opinions/experiences – Ian Reeves’ first attempt is a good example, which also happens to include some reflections on online video journalism;
    • The personal account: person with a story to tell is filmed by another person about their thoughts/opinions/experiences. This may be combined with others to form a video feature. The Washington Post’s ‘Being a Black Man‘ is one example of such video being integrated with a multimedia interactive.
  • Edited narrative. This is essentially a replication of the TV documentary or package, but in (generally) shorter form. The Exeter Express & Echo seem to have the right idea here, going out onto the streets to talk to (gasp) people (one student commented that the story itself would have been much duller in print), although they also do…
  • TV show/vodcast. Again, this is replicating broadcast techniques and is generally the most redundant type of online video. Rocketboom is an example of it done well (most likely because they are not coming from a print or broadcast organisation, but are online-only). The Daily Telegraph do it with their Business Daily, as do many local newspapers, including the Bolton News and Manchester Evening News. For advertising sales departments, it’s a useful way of tapping into TV advertising budgets, but for readers it’s redundant compared to searchable, scannable web text. Its only real use is for readers who want to download a video bulletin to watch on the move (vodcast), so why do so many newspapers force users to stream it? Control, control, control.

I like the idea of the Daily Prophet in particular.
But if Paul’s and my definitions of online covered the production aspects then The Five E’s of online video from Jeff Rayport’s talk from the Online Publishers Association conference in London. (via Jeff Jarvis’ blog summary ) cover the pre-production and why element.

  • Extend content you have and bring it to online media.
  • Expand video activities to make new and experimental forms of content.
  • Expose (let the outside in; e.g., NY Times wedding videos, Le Monde user videos).
  • Explode (let the inside out; syndication, in other words).
  • Exhale (you don’t know what will work so relax).

Put them all together, and add a bit of Moncks Monikers and a dash of Kevin Anderson and I think there is enough there to at least start to answer the Why, what and how questions of online video.

I might set my students the task of using the defintions here to quantify and assess the video that Chuck links to.

4 thoughts on “Newspaper Video: Debate highlights good practice”

  1. Andy, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on how a TV reporter, photographer and producer should get started in multimedia or online work. I would assume that a different starting point might be approprioate for each one.

    aybe for an editor, the first job to tackle would be compression for online delivery of video. But what about the other folks?

    Lenslinger posted a comment somewhere recently about how a TV station would need to hire additional crews to shoot original video just for the Web — not very likely to happen!

    So, where should a TV journalist begin?

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