From the birth of a word, to the intersection of media and conversation

March 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Videos

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This is an absolutely must-see TED talk. Having seen a preview a few weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to see the amazing data visualisations that would come out of five years of video and audio analysis around a baby learning how to talk.

That was cool enough. What I didn’t expect was how Deb Roy has since applied his research in language acquisition to the intersection of public
media and online conversations. Think ABC’s #QandA on steroids, but instead of just monitoring or displaying the hashtag, it’s mapping every public conversation and connection that’s taking place around a program or individual broadcast.

The screengrab above is from the presentation, and shows the connections being made with an individual piece of content.

Deb Roy’s full TED talk video below.

Interview with Dave Earley about Mobile Journalism – MoJo

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Media, Mobile, Videos

Mobile Journalism Toolkit for Pop!Tech Fellows...
Image by whiteafrican via Flickr

I had an interview request about mobile journalism, or mojo, from Air Force News of all places.
The editor, Simone Liebelt, is a former student of Deakin University academic and mobile journalism expert Stephen Quinn, who recommended me as “one of the pioneers in Australia” for the story on Mobile Journalism trends. The following are some of the answers I was going to email in, but we ended up talking over the phone.
Read on for my ideas about using mobile phones for news gathering.

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An experiment in Mobile Journalism or MoJo

March 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Mobile, Technology, Videos

Reuter's Got Mojo (that's mobile journalism)
Image by inju via Flickr

In January I experimented with a little mobile journalism, or MoJo, on a small story. Using Qik on a Dopod mobile phone, I live streamed video from the scene of a unit fire on Brisbane’s south side.

This was by no means an experiment in mobile journalism that even basically covered how MoJo could be done, it was simply a spur of the moment decision to give it a go. These are my thoughts on the process.

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Helen Thomas – ink in her veins

November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Journalists, Media, Print, Videos

Short video of legendary newswoman Helen Thomas on her return to the White House after recovering from health problems. She is speaking about looking forward to reporting on her eighth US President as a member of the White House press corps.

She’s been in the newspaper industry so long, I think Helen would bleed ink, and will quietly mourn the state of the newspaper industry.

I realized really how dedicated I was to newspapers, which are dying.

via huffington post via crikey

Future of Journalism – Brisbane

September 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Mobile, News, Online, Print, Social Networking, Videos

MEAA - Future of Journalism logoI’m not going to go into the Future of Journalism conference last Saturday in any great detail.
There is a post on the Future of Journalism’s Wired Scribe blog with a roundup of several good links to posts by people who were observers and panelists on the day. Interested people can read a roundup there.

You can also read through the live Future of Journalism tweets from various people on the day.

What I’m providing here is just a quick video of a question I asked of editor David Higgins about the use of social networking tools for newsgathering.

Video after the jump…

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James Smith – the singing tradesman

July 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, News, Portfolio, Videos

I would normally never highlight stuff I’ve done at work, but this guy is a great story.

Either check out the video directly directly at YouTube, or read a little bit about him and watch the video on the story page. If you think it’s worth sharing please send the links around, or digg it.

James Smith first tried singing 18 months ago. That was karaoke – now he’s had 10 singing lessons, and on Saturday night he sang Nessun Dorma and several others at the Bastille Day Grand Dinner Ball.

I shot and edited the video. I rarely get to play with the video cameras these days… This is the first interview James has ever done. A story to rival Paul Potts – the singing mobile phone salesman from Britain’s Got Talent (YouTube link).We had to go with the video before both commercial TV news stations got him, despite my rough shooting and editing skills (back lighting on his porch, and why the hell is there not a tripod in that kit?). Both commercial stations did a story on their Saturday 6pm bulletins, 18 hours after my video went online, but this was James Smith’s first ever interview.

Again, either check out the video directly at YouTube, or read a little bit about him and watch the video on the story page.

I had embedded the video here, but something to do with the code broke my webpage, so visit the links to see it.

Watch Hulu video in Australia

March 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Videos icon logo

I recently posted saying it’s not possible to use the online video service, Hulu, in Australia or any country outside the US.

Well, I was wrong. Don Day at Lost Remote was kind enough to make a post about a new service called OPENhulu, where you can download a third-party application that will allow you to watch Hulu shows.

To do this, you must download Hotpot Shield, free software that makes it look like you are browsing from an IP in the United States, therefore allowing you to watch Hulu content via the OPENhulu website.

It’s not entirely foolproof. On downloading the program for use, you only receive a 10 gigabyte bandwidth limit per month to run through their system, which will limit the number of full-length shows you can watch.

You will want to have some good high-speed broadband to be able to watch Hulu’s NBC shows through OPENhulu. Trying to port video content through the Hotspot Shield has proved nigh on impossible for me, simply because of my broadband speed.
I’m on a wireless 3G internet connection, which claims speeds up to 512kbps but rarely reaches 300.

I don’t think you’re required to watch videos through the OPENhulu site. I was also able to watch videos directly at, but it does run ALL your internet traffic through the Hotspot Shield, so whether watching Hulu videos or not, it will slow down your entire browsing experience until you turn off the filter.

It does work though, and that’s the important thing! The videos started downloading and playing for me, even if that was happening too slowly to actually watch them. There is also no message of death informing you the video is not available in your region.

If you were asking the question, “How do I watch Hulu outside of the United States?”, here is your answer to what has likely been a painfully long search.


Own your video – YouTube doesn’t pay

February 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Videos

On a Lost Remote post that gave a not-so-rosy outlook for the future of online video, Steve Safran commented that, rather than there simply being no money in online video, “There is no money in giving away your video and hoping someone else will sell it and make you rich”.

The example suggesting there was little money in online video mentioned Perez Hilton from TMZ, who claims to have only made $5,000 from 25 million video views on YouTube. Safran says Perez could realistically be making $500,000 a month.

Of course Perez isn’t making money off video. He’s hosting it on YouTube. That’s a free service. He doesn’t have control over pre-roll tied with banner ads or any of the tracking that’s required to make advertisers want your product. He’s paying nothing for video hosting, so naturally he’s getting next to nothing in return.

Even at a modest $20 CPM (and this should be $30 – $40), he could be bringing in $500,000 a month in preroll ads. He’s missing out on $6 million in inventory.

Safran is adamant that just because you can’t make much money off YouTube doesn’t mean there is no money to be had in online video.

via Lost Remote TV Blog

So what is it about owning your brand that brings in the advertisers? Safran points out that Perez may not be making as much money as he could because of ownership rights to those videos. When online newspapers do video, the ‘wire’ videos from Reuters and Sky News (in Australia) are generic news items. Often they’re not local, or locally owned.

If you don’t get a lot of views, perhaps its because people are aware they could get that news and video at any other site, since you’ll often see the same ‘wire’ video across competing sites, as you would agency stories across print.

So what will a viewing public repeatedly come back looking for? Trusted local content delivery. By trusted, I mean people are aware that the video they want to see can be found with your media organisation so they will eventually, unprompted, return repeatedly to see what’s new.

In the case of TMZ, this is guaranteed celebrity video, pictures and humiliation that will be regularly updated, and that either can’t be seen anywhere else, or is just easier to find on TMZ because you know it will be there. You can ‘trust’ there will be something there to see.

In the case of local news sites, the only video of interest to your loyal readers or viewers that you can guarantee to always have is – local video. And if you do it well, they keep coming back, just to see if you’ve got the video they trust you’ll have. As local content, you absolutely won’t get the 25 million video views that celebrity clips will get on YouTube, but if you’re getting a large chunk of the local population, that translates into excellent advertising dollars locally.

So I remain a believer in the potential of locally produced online news video, and the market for it. Corey Bergman makes a good point in the post in question, consumers are going to begin demanding more accessible content.

Just vaguely thinking about doing online and mobile content delivery won’t cut it. Our news sites need to be aggressive in developing their own multi-platform content-delivery solutions so that, again, by making themselves the reliable point of content consumption they capture the new market, rather than try to catch up with it.

The Super-Journalist

January 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Journalists, Media, Online, Videos

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Vic Ellis - One man bandCan a single journalist really be a one-stop shop for all your online multimedia needs?

I like the thought of that future, but hadn’t been able to wrap my mind around the concept of how the journalist could record audio, video, get some stills and take a few handwritten notes all at the same time.

The picture I had was similar to that of the one-man band – bass drum strapped to back, harmonica brace, foot pedals, cymbals between the knees and a violin for some fast fiddling.

But for Jane Munro, one of the Radio Online producers for the ABC, it’s just part of the job.

‘When I am shooting a video story I use the camera to acquire everything I need to publish on a range of platforms.
‘I extract the audio from the video package, and sometimes broadcast that audio unchanged as a complete radio package. I then extract still images from the video to accompany a text article. That and a compressed version of the video is published on our local website.’

More available from Issue 48 of Inside the ABC

Some journalists can’t wrap their heads around more than asking questions and taking notes. It’s easy enough to set up and leave a small camera on a tripod while you interview someone, or record audio (which many do for personal record anyway), but the problem comes in the production process.

The editing and posting online of content is where more technical skills are needed. Journalists shouldn’t be expected to learn and do these things themselves, but those who can or want to should be given the opportunity, and this is where organisation-wide collaborative systems need to be in place to make it possible.

It requires just a little effort. If a stills photographer has been taking their own camcorder out on jobs years before newspapers – let alone video – went online, it would be unwise of the organisation to not recognise that persons worth, or encourage their efforts.

NYT Soundslides – Benazir Bhutto

January 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Pictures, Podcasts, Videos

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Soundslides logoIt’s still pictures and audio, but it’s compelling.

John Moore, a photographer who was snapping pics just metres from Benazir Bhutto’s motorcade when she was killed, talks about the rally and that day.

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto | The New York Times

Audio with random photos overlaid is not great. A slideshow with managed photo placement to associated narration is great. For a newsroom that thinks they can’t afford video (they can), well produced audio slideshows are a good way to make your readers more open to the future introduction of video content.

Video sharing grows – where the news?

January 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Online, Social Networking, Videos

Pew Internet logoAccording to a recent survey, daily visits to online video sharing sites doubled in 2007.

As online visits and online video viewership grows across every demographic, where does online news video fit in? The online department of a newspaper can’t cover every story in video, and shouldn’t be expected to. In Australia, international or national video stories for newspaper sites come from wire services, such as Reuters or Sky News video.

There’s no reason, however, for them not to come from independent video makers, or user-generated content, because they are competing with video-sharing sites.

What online newspapers should be doing better is local news video. They’re better placed and have better local knowledge to make the story more personal for their viewers. If they won’t do it themselves, providing the platform for user-generated content to appear could also be a ‘ratings’ winner.

User-generated ‘news’ content can be uploaded to a slew of video sharing sites, but it’s effectively invisible if people don’t know where it is or how to find it. Create the platform, and viewers will come to you for the people’s news, supplemented by your own. It doesn’t have to be extremely difficult either.

The Pew Internet: Video Sharing report showed that 15 per cent of respondents had visited a video-sharing site within a day, compared to 8 per cent in the survey a year earlier.

Overall, 48 per cent of those surveyed reported ‘ever’ visiting a video-sharing site, up from 33 per cent in 2006.

The largest percentage growth of users visiting video-sharing sites daily came from high school graduates, whose usage grew from five to 13 per cent, and was followed by women, who jumped from five to 11 per cent.

The largest demographic of daily video-sharing site users in 2007 was the 18-29 age bracket, of whom 30 per cent reported daily video views. The next largest demographic was men, of whom 20 percent reported using a video site ‘yesterday’ in the survey.

The only demographic in the survey not to record a growth in daily usage of online video sites was people aged 65 and over, who remained unchanged at four per cent use.

From a Pew Internet report from July 2007, half of those who view videos share the link, while three quarters of online video viewers reported receiving video links from others.
Pew Internet: Online Video.

Make your news video shareable, or even easier to view, and again the viewers will appreciate it.

Hulu Beta Testing

December 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Online, Social Networking, Technology, Videos icon logoIn a largely speculative post last month, I wondered about the possibilities of Hulu, News Corp’s new online video venture.

Since then I’ve received my beta testing login details. With a great deal of excitement I went to to see what fantastic wonders would be presented to me.

None. If you’re in Australia, bad luck – it’s a case of look, but don’t touch.

For now, Hulu is a U.S. service only. That said, our intention is to make Hulu’s growing content lineup available worldwide. This requires clearing the rights for each show or film in each specific geography and will take time.

Being limited to North America because of distribution rights, international users are agonisingly teased by a long list of currently popular TV shows they can’t watch – Arrested Development, Family Guy, Scrubs, King of The Hill, My Name is Earl, The Office… the list goes on, and unless you have a beta login to Hulu (get on the waiting list) none of those links will get you anywhere.

With a login, choosing any episode from one of those shows takes you to the video player screen, right to the excited point of ‘Loading Video’ before slapping you in the face – rejection. screen grab - Unfortunately this video is not currently available in your country or region. We apologize for the inconvenience.
But I want to take advantage of the options alongside the video player – share, embed, watch it full screen! Hopefully it’s not too long before something is up and running for Australia.

In a desperate attempt to see the video player in action, I tried some older shows in the hope they were no longer affected by distribution rights. Thankfully, even Doogie Howser episodes (Breaking Up is Hard to Doogie) from 1989 were unavailable.


In a continuing push to break new ground in digital media, ABC (Australia) has released ABC Now, a desktop media player for select ABC digital content.

The potential of this application is huge. When I read the description of what it would do, I couldn’t wait to try it. Unfortunately the interface isn’t entirely user-friendly at the moment, but it’s in beta, so expect something great to come.

For what is obviously planned for this media player the ABC is again demonstrating why Australians go to them for original online audio and video content – because they try to make it easily accessible.

Often they succeed in the attempt, and that’s why their podcasts and vodcasts have enjoyed such popularity. ABC digital content has succeeded because it is available. If there’s not much to choose from, people move on. The ABC’s integration online of text, audio and video content is impressive, to say the least.

If you haven’t seen it, check out an example of their in-page video player on this story.

Hulu – the News tube

Earlier this year it was announced that News Corporation was developing a YouTube killer.  It was to be their own video serving site that was going to deliver full-length TV shows in a partnership with NBC, rather than the perceived notion (misguided I think) of the worthless fare served up on YouTube.

The News Ltd paper I work for (full disclosure) went so far as to declare in March 2007 that “YouTube’s dominance of online video content is about to end”. is the outworking of that effort and is now in beta, and it’s looking pretty good.

Something very few news sites are doing today is incorporating social networking opportunities into their structure.  Even less are incorporating social networking into their video content – which remains for the most part clunky and unappealing.

Hopefully Hulu will change that for News Ltd/Corp.  This aspect of the current beta player is promising.

The “embed” function allows you to set in and out points, so you can embed just a selected chunk of a video clip on your blog.

I really hope this technology gets rolled out to all News Ltd/Corp sites, because it will exponentially enhance video content accessibility.

A review of Hulu at LostRemote.

Design a news site for a web audience

August 29, 2007 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, Online, Videos

If you’re a TV station dabbling in online content, Steve Safran of Lost Remote urges you to put more than your video “left-overs” online.  Shoot content exclusively for the web, or at least tailored with a web audience in mind.

Also, if your “talent” isn’t talented enough to be on air, why are they talented enough to be online?  Be very clear here, he’s not saying they shouldn’t be online, but that television and web are different.  Tell people not to think of themselves as speaking for television, and the imperfection and quirkiness of being themselves can be the selling point.

As Safran says, there is a difference between “real and quirky” and “bad delivery”.

via LR – The web is not the TV minor leagues

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