Teaching Examples

Is video the best use of your resources?
January 26, 2007, 2:03 pm
Filed under: journalism, online, video

Will Sullivan of Journerdism is back! I have missed his posts. He has lost none of his needle-sharp perceptiveness. In summing up recent conversations about newspapers shooting video for the Web, he writes:

One issue on this topic that I haven’t seen discussed much is if this is the right step for all of online journalism to dump its resources into. Isn’t video journalism just another passive form of storytelling? Is it the best use of staff resources? Video takes a hell of a lot time to [shoot] and produce, and the result is incredibly linear. We tell you what happened. You sit there and watch it.

What he said! Like Will, I would like to see more discussion of interactive forms of storytelling.

I agree with his point 100 percent — and I have said so before — video is passive. I’m not suggesting we DON’T do video, but I do think we should be investing time and money in some other things too — richer storytelling and more involvement from the people outside the newsroom.

I was struck the other day by this remark from Melissa Worden, the multimedia editor at HeraldTribune.com in Sarasota, Fla.:

Why can’t gathering the facts involve using the recorder rather than a pad of paper? Why does video have to be a secondary concern?

Rather than being a 180-degree turn away from the top part of this post, I regard Worden’s question as a way to shake up our thinking about HOW we do video.

Getting the reporting done is a key part of the job of journalism. Storytelling is also a key part — but they are not the same thing. Let’s make sure we are also thinking about the best way to tell the story.

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2 Comments so far
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Video storytelling is passive as it is currently used by most TV outlets and newspaper websites. Video can be “clickable” with hyperlinks to other information with new technologies that are coming available. We don’t need to use the TV metaphor of video storytelling on the web. “Newspaper Video” as an expression of the video medium is not and should not be 60 seconds with a stand-up where “We tell you what happened. You sit there and watch it.” We have the luxury of letting the subject tell their own story and presenting the story however the content dictates. We can have a series of 20 second clips that give just one answer, 2 min telling the main core of the story or 30 min. documenting the whole situation — it’s our choice to tailor the content to the story. Yes, video takes time. Yes, it can take more time than just a single photo or photo story. But what matters most is selecting the best medium for the message.

Comment by Brian K. Johnson

I could not agree more! Thanks for commenting, Brian.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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