Teaching Examples

Aussie daily rocks with slideshows
June 26, 2007, 1:17 pm
Filed under: news, newspapers, photojournalism, slideshows

Andrew Meares, chief photographer at The Sydney Morning Herald, reports that slideshows have become very popular with online site visitors — more so than video.

Total Soundslides pageviews to date are 1,214,918 (since October 2006). Our video team pop the champagne with 5000+ views, our top text stories of the week rate 80,000+.

The biggest hitters:

Pasha Bulker (129,646): Photos of the huge bulk ship aground on a Newcastle city beach (June 2007) — includes photos sent in by readers.

Golden Globes fashion (108,720) SMH fashion writer picks apart what beautiful celebrities wore to the Golden Globes. Well done — I can imagine that lots of people e-mailed this link to friends.

Danish baby princess (70,168): Handout photos from the Danish palace of the new baby princess (“Australian mum,” Meares noted). This is really interesting (I mean, the fact that it was so popular) — there’s no audio, just baby pics — and of course, a nice shot of Mum.

Hunter floods (54,063): Flooding in the Hunter region, narrated by a reporter on the ground.

* Adaminaby (46,428): Drought causes Adaminaby’s old town ruins to emerge from Lake Jindabyne. This one is a very good piece of visual news reporting.

“We have also sent Soundslides via sat phone from the middle of the ocean during a yacht race, and we are doing weekly shows with our foreign correspondents like this one,” Meares wrote in e-mail. The latter, from Lebanon, combines photos from various wire services with the voice of the Australian reporter in-country.

Thanks, Andrew! I really appreciated the chance to see how a photo department embraced multimedia in such a short time span.

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Orlando Sentinel Web redesign
June 21, 2007, 5:17 pm
Filed under: design, journalism, newspapers, online

Danny Sanchez has the news and relevant links at his blog. Or go straight to the shiny new home page.

I don’t know about you, but the new design doesn’t rock my boat. And I really don’t like the tabs.

Update: The midday video update is pretty good, but it seems kind of strange to have it halfway down the page, BELOW all the stories it covers. I like this kind of video update a whole lot more than the overproduced ones from Roanoke and Naples … probably a lot of people feel just the opposite, but this one I didn’t mind watching.

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The right tool, the right approach, for video
June 19, 2007, 11:28 am
Filed under: journalism, newspapers, online, video

Chuck Fadely, who shoots video for the Miami Herald, posted a long rant about boneheaded attitudes toward video:

The internet audience is growing and you want your staff — from the janitor all the way up to the M.E. — to contribute to the web product. Video! Let’s do lots of video! There was some guy at the publisher’s association meeting who said all you need is a point-n-shoot; let’s get ’em for everyone. How ’bout the photogs? Nahhh, they care about silly quality…. we won’t ask them about doing video… We’ll get the web people and reporters to do video.

So the reporters start doing video. All of a sudden the story they used to be able to write blindfolded, in five minutes while doing the office football pool, takes ’em six hours of work to get the video into their computers, figure out why Movie Maker keeps crashing — I’ve got 128 megs of ram, fer krissake! — and finally re-compress the file into the right size on the third try.

Now, to be fair about this, Chuck is a newspaper photographer. And he’s got a lot of experience, so you ought to listen to what he says. But he’s also lumping all those reporters who shoot video into one mushy basket. And that’s NOT fair.

The truth here is that video has a heck of a lot of facets. It’s like TV — you gotcher Planet Earth (pure awesomeness) on one channel, and on another channel, you have Cops, from that bastion of quality journalism, Fox.

Newspaper publishers, editors and owners who think video online has one easy solution are totally kidding themselves. Wishful thinking — that’s all it is. And simplistic. Fatally simplistic.

It’s exactly the same mistake so many newspapers made on the Internet when they started out, whether that was in 1993 or 2003. Looking for a cheap fix, a turnkey solution, listening to some consultant who’s just blowing smoke out of a place far south of his mouth.

Link via Angela Grant at News Videographer.

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Good news for newspaper Web sites
June 18, 2007, 7:55 pm
Filed under: business, future, news, newspapers, online

Double growth rates — according to a Nielsen//NetRatings study, “the audience for newspaper Web sites is growing at nearly twice the rate of the overall online audience.” The study was described in a press release from the Newspaper Association of America.

“An average of more than 59 million people (37.6 percent of all active Internet users) visited newspaper Web sites each month during the first quarter …” This number set a record, according to NAA, and “represents a 5.3 percent increase over the same period a year ago.” The overall Internet audience grew 2.7 percent during the first quarter, NAA said.

If you’re familiar with the elegant and easy-to-understand diagram of how innovations are adopted, you probably realize that Internet adoption in the U.S. has slowed to a near standstill. That means almost all of the people who are going to use it are already using it. Unless we have a gigantic baby boom, the number of Internet users will probably maintain a very low rate of growth from now until the next big thing (whatever that’s going to be).

According to the NAA, the Nielsen//NetRatings data show that, compared with other Internet users, visitors to newspaper Web sites:

  • Have higher household incomes.
  • Shop online more frequently.
  • Are more likely to hold professional or managerial positions.

Newspaper Web site visitors also “use the Internet more frequently during their daily lives, and are more technologically savvy than the general online audience,” the study found.

Copied from the press release:

  • Nearly 73 percent (72.6 percent) of newspaper Web site visitors go online every day (compared with 57.8 percent of the Internet population as a whole).
  • Nearly 42 percent (41.8 percent) of those who have visited newspaper Web sites have viewed streaming video on their computers in the last 30 days (compared with 27.4 percent of the overall Internet audience).
  • More newspaper Web site visitors read blogs in the past month than the overall Internet population (28.4 percent vs. 16.7 percent).
  • More than one in five (23.3 percent) newspaper Web site visitors have read about politics or political campaign information online (compared with 10.8 percent of the overall Internet population).
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (28.9 percent) newspaper Web site visitors have sought out or posted a product review online in the past month (compared with 16.1 percent of the overall Internet population).

Many more details are in this post at the Digital Edge blog (dated May 7, 2007).

One of the goodies there: “More newspaper Web site visitors had broadband Wi-Fi access at home or at work than the general Internet-using population.”

Well, yeah — they have higher incomes and better jobs than the general population, and that is the demographic that has broadband in the U.S. (Did you know that 53 percent of all U.S. households subscribe to a broadband Internet service at home? That’s where they are watching YouTube!)

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A practical view from a media CEO
June 10, 2007, 10:26 pm
Filed under: business, journalism, newspapers, online

If he were founding Spain’s renowned newspaper El País today, “it probably would not be on paper,” said Juan Luis Cebrián, chief executive officer of both Grupo Prisa and El País.

“It would be something on the Internet, and [along with it] a paper version that could be expected to have some appeal.”

He said the traditional mass media are losing influence, and their weight (power? influence? physical size? The Spanish word he used was peso) “is decreasing and will continue to decrease.”

He predicted that elpais.com will gain 200,000 new users in two to three months.

“I do not believe that newspapers on paper are going to disappear, but they are going to lose the central place they have had in the formation of public opinion,” Cebrián said.

Via Julián Gallo. See story and video of Cebrián’s remarks (June 7) at a conference titled “Foro Sociedad en Red,” which means, if I’m not mistaken, “Network Society Forum.”

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A dose of reality: Video editing
June 10, 2007, 9:23 pm
Filed under: journalism, newspapers, online, video

Angela Grant tells us:

When I first started in my position about one year ago, it took me a complete 8-hour shift or longer to produce one video. Through a lot of mistakes and learning, I decreased my production time. On average, I’ll shoot for 1-2 hours and edit for 2-3 hours. Plus drive time. So my start-to-finish production time is six hours or less. That’s for multi-source, complete visual story types of videos. Nowadays, I can shoot for two videos and then edit for one video in an 8-hour shift. However, less involved pieces take much less time (maybe two hours including driving, shooting and editing).

Print this out, and leave it on desks and chairs and taped to computer monitors around your newsroom.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do video. Just don’t expect your fresh new shooters and editors to churn the stuff out at lightning speed, please.

Related post: Who shoots, who edits?

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Jobs in a smart news organization
June 6, 2007, 4:39 pm
Filed under: jobs, journalism, multimedia, newspapers, online

Some newspapers reinvent themselves to ride the obvious wave in consumption of news and information in North America. Others retrench, diverting money and resources away from the online — or worse, leave the Web site in the hands of the marketing department.

Which kind of newspaper will survive and thrive, do you think?

The Las Vegas Sun appears to be pursuing the former strategy, according to David Domingo.

The Sun is seeking to fill four new jobs:

Flash designer … good at building Flash graphics and 3D motion graphics to go with analytical news stories written by our reporters … also work with photographers on enhancing their Flash graphics skills … with our artist and cartoonist on animating their work. (I want that job!!)

Videographer … has skills at shooting, editing and processing video news stories for the Web. I was hoping to find … help the Sun create a new video identity online.

Web content editor … work with reporters and editors at building deep, evergreen content sites that would contain granular content about specific Las Vegas area topics … a good writer … also have multimedia Web skills.

Web technician … have all the skills of a multimedia reporter, but would mostly do processing work at a desk … process video, audio and provide other assistance for the multimedia for our daily updates and for our deep content sites. Skills in editing video and audio clips, helping to create podcasts and vodcast will be essential.

The guy doing the looking for people to fill these positions: Dave Toplikar, until recently a multimedia reporter at LJWorld Online — you know, that wildly successful newspaper in Lawrence, Kanasas, that’s not only making money but also winning awards for great design and even better innovation projects. Just look at their multimedia page.

Update: The jobs are posted here.

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