When the local newspaper is sending out 26 print journalists and photographers with video cameras every day, where do you think people are going to go for their news?Â Online, because no TV station can match that volume of local news coverage.
Local news stations, please take note.Â As all media move to the web, the local paper is your direct video competitor – and doing a much better job.
A study by Harris Interactive says the web will be the top news source within five years.
Network TV leads for now, but most people surveyed thought they would increasingly turn to the web for their news.
Michael Rosenblum is certainly going to piss a few people off. And why wouldn’t people get pissed off when you’re questioning the practicality of tradition?
Who would buy an edit suite today? Not in an era when you can edit just about anything on a laptop. Makes sense.
Extend that argument to cameras, satellite dishes, transmission towers in an era in which anyone can put video up online with a server and an online connection and suddenly the whole architecture of local tv news as we know it starts to collapse.
Go over the local University. Get yourself a dozen bright and eager young journalists. They all have their own cameras and laptops anyway. And start your own local news channel.
There is no â€˜barrier to entryâ€™ except your own anxiety.
Someone is going to do this. Why not you?
Amen. And while not every university student has a video camera, even the movie mode of a half-decent point-and-shoot camera is going to yield a decent 320×240 video image – pretty much your standard online video viewing size.
If you don’t have a video camera but WANT one you can get some of the higher quality ones (HD, 3CCD and external microphone) on eBay, brand new, for much less than the retail. I link you here to pages that have a review (not in-depth), retail price and eBay prices of a couple of cameras.
JVC GZ HD7
Sony HDR CX7K
You’re needed for some hard yakka.
Take online video by the horns, wrestle it to the ground and scream something incoherent about not taking it anymore. Then lead it by the nose, and show it how to make a difference.
And as video moves to the web, the quality and very content of that public discourse is now up for grabs.
So while exploding mentos and coke bottles are great, there are more important issues to be dealt with in video.
And Fox News and NBC are not going to do it.
You have to.
The most basic and free video editing software (as in, you don’t have to go download/install it because it’s already on your computer) is usually okay for basic video users.
For Windows users there’s Windows Movie Maker, while I’ve found iMovie for the Mac is an ample resource for those quick edits and exports.
If you don’t have any video software that you can use on your hard drive, or are up for a little experimentation, there are a lot of online editing solutions. I would recommend not trying them on dialup (as I have to at home).
Mashable has put together a very comprehensive resource.
Video Toolbox: 150+ Online Video Tools and Resources
There’s more information there than anyone can reasonably be expected to digest, and the following are just the categories under which they list resources:
- Live Video Communications
- Online Video How-to
- Online Video Editors
- Online Video Converters
- Video sharing
- Video hosting
- Video organization and management
- Vidcasts & vlogging
- Video mashups
- Mobile video apps
- Video search
- Online video downloading services
- Miscellaneous tools
- Online TV
They also have other posts in the series, with the Online Photography Toolbox, Blogging Toolbox, and Online Productivity Toolbox.
Earlier this morning I mentioned to a friend this academic report from October last year about the quality of news content found in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
And today LostRemote mentions a Pew Research study showing: â€˜Daily Showâ€™ and â€˜Colbertâ€™ viewers most informed about news – Lost Remote TV Blog
Read the entire report’s summary of findings, if you have some time.
This is an email I recently sent to my internship coordinator at UQ’s School of Journalism and Communication, after he asked me if I had any VJ sites I could recommend. I spent some time looking for a few links for him and thought they might also be useful to others.
To: Journalist-in-residence, UQ School of Journalism and Communication
From: Dave Earley
I haven’t kept up with video journalism (VJ) sites much, mainly because it usually requires high-speed internet when videos are involved, and I’m on free student dialup! I haven’t really found any VJ ‘forums’ either.
By the way, an example of a good university news site is Virginia Tech’s Collegiate Times.
Hope the following is helpful, and not link overload.
The only site I could recommend off the top of my head is Michael Rosenblum – but other than discuss theory, he doesn’t go into a lot of technicalities on his blog about how to do VJ. So I’ve put him in ‘interesting reading’ links. He runs training worldwide in VJ (including for the BBC), but perhaps the best start would be this page:
It looks like it has some good links that could be helpful
After a bit of searching, you might also find these useful. I haven’t had time to look into them in-depth (as I said, dialup is not conducive to fast content viewing online):
The CurrentTV guide is fairly basic, but provides some good information – I’ve looked at it before. Actually if you follow that link, at the bottom of the section there is a ‘Learn More’ button where you’ll find more links.
Another report along the lines of the previous – Web revolution leaving newsgathering in a lurch
The problem with cutbacks media-wide, according to Tom Rosenstiel (director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, publishers of the State of the News Media report), is that in many communities, â€œpeople will suddenly discover that there hasn’t been a reporter at the city council meeting for weeks and that no one is checking the police blotter. It could happen little by little and be discovered after the fact.â€œ
And with the reliance on newspaper journalism driving daily radio and TV stories (because of their own staff cutbacks), the loss of a newspaper or even just a diminished capacity to report as it once did, will have news coverage consequences for radio and TV also. Naturally this translates to a less-informed public because of a dearth of coverage media-wide.
There is an argument that online should be 24 hours, news straight to the web rather than waiting for the print run, hourly update or 6pm broadcast, but lack of resources, if only in staffing, presents the same problems for the online arm of newspapers.
“…most newspapers are ramping up their websites to stay relevant. But because online advertising lags in comparison to print, many newspapers can’t adequately staff their websites with reporters who gather news.
At one point, the media wasn’t sure how to approach the web – should they ridicule it, ignore it and wait till it goes away, or see it as a threat to be dealt with? The Internet and those who populated its content were seen as unprofessional, unreliable, unreadable and apparently a waste of time. Now that it’s making an impression, however, mainstream media still may not be entirely sure how to harness the Internet, but they’re at least making cautious approaches.
In his assessment of the State of the News Media report released earlier this year, Steve Johnson at the Chicago Tribune has found that media companies are terrified of the Internet. The upside, he says, is that they’re finally taking the web seriously and making moves to exploit it but, being 10 years behind the curve, there’s a bit of work to be done.
“…journalists now see the Internet as a possible salvation and not this horrible threat to their standards. They are experimenting wildly, but no formula has emerged and maybe even less of an idea of how to pay for it.
And as always, how to pay for it is the problem. With global newspaper readership in decline (except in China, India and a few other parts of the third world), the media have to figure out how to harness the precious advertising dollar on the web, because almost nobody is prepared to pay for news content at this point.
See the State of the News Media report in its entirety.
We need to be certain that what we are creating in online journalism is a new model.Â And this is exactly what makes the future of the new medium exciting – “we” are creating it.Â The collective “You”, who were named TIME Magazine’s People of the Year for the explosion in interactive, community-based web content.Â The accessible technology and resources required to now put audio, video or text online makes every single person a potential media contributor.Â It’s not the quality, the ethics, or the substance that is suffering, as some may argue – it’s just presenting it in a new way that can engage people who are growing up in a new world. Â
From Michael Rosenblum:
Web video is not about television. And web journalism is not about text alone. It is about something new and exciting … the creation of a new medium, a new way of speaking to one another.
Those who believe that the web is simply a place to post conventional TV news stories or TV shows cannot be blamed too much. They are simply the heirs to an old and venerable tradition in the world of invention: recording the last words of the dying.
Using the medium effectively will require imagination.Â If old-school TV and print styles are forced on the web they may as well not be there.Â If they’re being forced on the web because people can’t comprehend their usefulness in any form of expression other than the traditional one, imaginative minds will not only transform journalism on the web but also capture the market.
Market is money.Â Now who’s listening?
How are newspapers (in particular) responding to the threat of losing revenue and market share to online? There are constant opinion pieces about the subject in print and online the world over, and I link you here to yet another.
Very rarely are you watching online video from a news site that’s bigger than about 600 pixels wide. Not only has the vision been compressed, so has the sound. Online viewers live with less-than-perfect vision and sound quality, and why? Because it’s not what is of utmost importance to them. Content, content, content.
Basically the argument in the article is that a “good enough” attitude towards online video (in this example) is often interpreted as degrading the mission, whatever that might be.
I would argue that it is in fact perfectionism that could be degrading the mission. The article tells one story of a paper that purchased expensive cameras and expensive editing software to respond to the call for online video, and so could only afford that small amount of equipment. But it meant only two people could work at a time, either shooting or editing, and the length of their production process meant they were scooped online by other outlets.
So what did the editor do? Better-invested his resources in six cameras that were 90% cheaper than the others, and allowed staff to use iMovie, the free video editing software that came on the Apple Macs most of them already used. Instead of two people, now 17 were working on video, and instead of only managing 50 local videos a month with the more expensive gear, they were now churning out 195 per month.
And the result? Readers responded and the traffic came, nearly doubling in 10 months.
Jeff Jarvis recorded Michael Rosenblum at the RTNDA conference in Las Vegas recently, and since embeddable video makes it so easy… here it is, Michael Rosenblum on how better to spend the multi-million dollar salaries of star TV presenters.
I really do love it. The possibilities are exciting, not only for what any single person could do in the city, but in the outback, in third world countries, in Siberia and Paris. One person, one small camera, and some editing software can go anywhere, at any time.
If New Media gets you going, and video journalism in particular, someone you should read is Rosenblum, a proponent of the VJ (video journalist) for the last 18 years – an expert.
What he argues is that quality doesn’t have to suffer when you send out a one-person crew. The VJ. A single reporter collecting vision. For a newspaper? A TV or radio station? A web-only publication? A personal blog?
Who cares? You can collect vision, and produce quality equal to that of expensive cameras and two or three-person crews, especially if you’re producing for the web.
Sure, don’t sacrifice quality just because you’re going to the web, but don’t waste your time or resources either.
On Tuesday I went out on my first story as a VJ. Myself, a camera, a tripod. The vision I got and the story I could have made, on my own, meant there can be no need for the journalist, the still photographer, and the two-person camera crew – all from the same media outlet.
What a waste! So lay off the other three and give one person the camera? Sure, if you want to diminish the quality of your news content – or you could increase your coverage by giving each one of them the freedom to go get their own stories.
My finished product on Tuesday wasn’t good for a few reasons:
- On only my second use of the camera, I forgot one of the filtering functions I needed to press to get rid of the glare.
- The heavy tripod had a loose leg-lock, meaning it was more of a bi-pod, which is incredibly less useful, especially when one leg suddenly retracts without warning in an attempt to dash the camera against the sidewalk.
So apart from a tripod that didn’t work, and a camera I’d only used for the second time, I remain enthusiastically convinced that single-operator VJs are the way to go.
Give me a camera. Let me practise. Send me away. I’ll show you what I can do.
Read Rosenblum – he’ll excite you about the prospect too.
I’m at ABC TV interning for the next two weeks, which is going well so far. I appeared scowling in the background of the 7pm news last night as Peter Beattie talked about a new water pipeline.
Last week on Friday I put together a video clip for the Courier Mail online, that can be viewed if you follow this link. It’s fairly low on informative content, but I spent a lot of time working with the transitions and timing for the music… It was fun playing with editing software (Adobe Premiere Pro) for only the second time.
I didn’t mean to post the entire article online, but from the Online Journalism Review is a basic guide: Tips for shooting better online video.
I was reading through my Introduction to Broadcast Journalism lecture notes to see again the different shot types – pan, tight, mid, wide, etc. – and noticed some of the notes I took in class (almost two years ago now).
…give camera person as much info as will help get the right shots
– fine line between giving info and telling camera person what to do
But when online, usually I am the camera person. So I should know how to get the right shots myself, and be able to tell the camera person (if I do happen to have one) exactly what I want and how I want it.