Newspapers should jettison (most of) their web video efforts

Newspapers should take a hard look at* their largely feeble attempts to draw readers with web video. It’s a misuse of their shrunken resources. It’s not working. Though visits to newspaper websites keep growing, a small minority of visitors watches videos there.

*(Update, Oct. 14, 2011: My original post read: Newspapers should give up their largely feeble attempts to draw readers with web video. As the responses to this post flowed in, I realized I’d overstated my views in the lede. The title of the post [should jettison most of their web video efforts] better reflects my intent, and later posts on this topic [Oct. 8 and Oct. 14] further clarify my thinking as it evolved through the dialogue my original post engendered. Thanks to all who contributed to the discussion.)

Let’s be clear from the start: I’m talking about local and regional papers, not national newspapers with sophisticated multimedia operation like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (which announced an expansion of its video programming this week).

For a long time, I blamed my own aversion to web video on my inner curmudgeon. But when I ask my students how often they watch video on the web, many confess they rarely click on video links, whether they’re on a news site or on Facebook.

This summer, I read in the Tow Center for Digital Journalism’s report on the business of digital journalism, “The Story So Far,” that legacy news organizations, those that existed before the advent of the Internet, aren’t making money on web video. Somewhere south of 10 percent of unique visitors to newspaper and local-television websites watch video streams. Even at The Huffington Post, which isn’t a legacy organization, “no more than 5 percent of unique visitors clicked on a video throughout most of 2010,” the report said.

The poor results for web video on newspaper websites are nothing new. Citing a study from Brightcove and Tubemogul, TechCrunch reported in May 2010 that “newspaper sites are having a real problem getting their audiences to watch videos.”

According to this year’s Tow report, the only news site that has succeeded in drawing viewers to its videos is CNN.com:

CNN.com is different than other video-rich sites because of the size and expectations of its audience. The company says it delivers between 60 million and 100 million video streams a month. In contrast to local-broadcast competitors, CNN.com can match the costs of substantial technology and newsgathering with a massive audience. “If you do not have scale, you do not have a business,” says [K.C.] Estenson [senior vice president and general manager of CNN.com].

Meanwhile, newspapers have upended their photography departments, and the lives of their photographers, in search of the holy video grail. For example: A few years ago, Newsday fired its 20-plus photojournalists, then let them apply for jobs as “visual journalists.” It hired seven. They shoot digital video, and the still shots the paper runs are grabbed off those video files.

(Also, the stock-photo portfolios that 20th-century photographers built as royalty-producers for their retirements have lost nearly all their value with the advent of “royalty-free” photo sites, but that’s another story, old news to photojournalists but shocking to many of their former print colleagues.)

While videos languish on legacy news sites, photo galleries are extremely popular—anecdotally, at least; I haven’t located reliable metrics. But the same people who tell me they shun newspaper-site video are enthusiastic about the sites’ photo galleries.

Part of the web’s essence is the short attention span it engenders. If I’m on a newspaper website, I’m probably moving fast. With a photo gallery, I control the speed at which I move from picture to picture, and I can leave the gallery if it outlasts my interest. But if I’m watching a video, I’m a passive consumer. I’m not interacting with the material while I’m watching it. I feel trapped.

The ads that sometimes precede videos are a turnoff, literally.

Bob Sacha, a friend who has made the transition from still photography to new media and visual journalism, sees the failure of newspaper sites to draw video viewers as simply a question of quality. Today’s great videojournalism is done elsewhere, he says, at sites such as Doctors Without Borders’ starvedforattention.org. Sacha is one of the world’s great visual journalists, and when you look at his work, you can understand his frustration. You can read about his career here, and you can look at samples of his heartbreaking, exquisite video journalism.

None of Sacha’s work appears on newspaper sites. Like many new-mediaites, he has little but scorn for all but a few newspapers. It’s no secret that newspaper managers on the editorial side took a while to figure out the web, and some still haven’t. On the business side, still, very few managers have a clue. They seem to be blundering, still, after 20 years.

Julie Moos, director of Poynter Online, argues that some newspaper videos do well. People may tune in for local sports highlights that they can’t get anywhere else. I haven’t reported that out, but I bet she’s right. But that doesn’t rationalize newspapers’ spending precious resources on video that hardly anyone looks at.

Newspapers should redeploy their resources to focus on the hardcore, contextual local reporting they do best, the terrifically written in-depth features that make readers laugh and cry, enterprise stories, still photography, the great graphics that made 1980s papers so beautiful. They should stop spending money on video except in the places where they’re collecting viewers now, like local sports.

I’d also make an exception for enterprise videojournalism, long-term projects where the visual journalist has time to create compelling work. But let the everyday videojournalism go. Who will miss it?

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  1. It disappoints me that the Tow report used the construction “different than.”

  2. Totally agree. I never watch those things.

  3. Thanks for putting this out there. Totally agree! Well said!

    • Thanks for your comment, Daniel. I’d be interested in talking to you (via chat or phone) about any experiences you have had, as a photographer, that are relevant to this issue.

      Best Barbara

  4. Thank you for this post. After working for a Media General paper where “everyone is a multimedia journalist” I couldn’t agree more. Being a multimedia journalist meant we did the stills and shot and edited the video and somehow threw together some half-assed copy for every story whether is was the county fair or a city council meeting. Quantity up. Quality down. And that was the site-click driven formula pretty much the whole time I was there.

    • Gavin Adamson
    • October 3rd, 2011

    I couldn’t disagree much more.

    I don’t think I need to point to do any more than point to YouTube to describe the potential for the medium. When the medium works, there’s nothing better. (I’ll point you to _The Conversations_ Ondaajte’s book about Oscar winning editor Walter Murch, who describes watching a video on a laptop as sometimes more impressive than going to a theatre; it’s intimate and touching in a way that TV cannot be.)

    I think the challenge for most media organizations that were formerly print-only is in educating top management about different types of story telling.

    My advice:
    * Put the resources into training people how to tell stories in video.
    * Tell well structured, efficient (and therefore meaningful) stories about people and how they overcome specific challenges.
    * Consider experimenting with themes (like NYT’s 8 million people, or Globe and Mail’s report on mental health)
    * Community newspapers have an advantage in telling stories about local people that people want to know about.
    * Industry publications have an advantage in telling stories about the most successful people in the industry and how they got there.
    * The article notes that people still want their sports in video, but they also want their A&E in video!
    * Get to know your readership (or its constituent parts) intimately. What do they want to know? How can you tell them? Life sections, for example, can tell people how to open wine bottles, or how to complaint to cable companies.)
    * Take time

    WHAT NOT TO DO:
    – Don’t simply train reporters to do TV-broadcast type reports
    – Don’t upload raw footage
    – Give up after six months or a year

    Gavin Adamson
    Assistant prof
    Ryerson University
    School of Journalism

      • Watchdog
      • October 4th, 2011

      Gavin, the blog author doesn’t say the medium doesn’t work; it does say the medium doesn’t work for most small and middle-sized newspapers. I am a journalist who still works for community newspapers and the video doesn’t work at all. Most of it just stinks because 90 percent do not have a clue how to make an effective video. But when the newspaper execs force us to go out and take video of anything and everything, they are contributing to the horrible image video has for news. We have been turned into animals to churn out as much as we can on very little pay. It’s pathetic because I love what I do but I really hate being take advantage of.

      • Mr. Adamson suggested putting the resources into training people, which sort of makes your entire post a moot point. Nobody is disagreeing that “90 percent do not have a clue how to make an effective video.” We didn’t learn photography overnight, why expect to learn video overnight?

      • Justin
      • October 5th, 2011

      Mr. Adamson:

      I guess you have been out of the really world too long.

        • Gavin
        • May 21st, 2012

        Justin, I just saw your reply. Academia is not what it used to be. There’s a lot of industry collaboration and contact. In my case it’s more than that: I was at the university last year as a limited term faculty member. I quit my FT job late in 2011 with a major financial services publication where I was multimedia editor to join the university and to help them stay relevant. From 2007 I launched a succesful (and still growing) online video platform for the title. It works because editors understand and listen to its readership and have spent time developing a video audience. Won’t happen overnight but to turn away from online video and any new digital technology would be foolhardy.

      • Cameron
      • October 15th, 2011

      My worry is that even if we’re trained to make good video, making good video takes time. And when you’re writing for print and taking photos, and I mean this in community newsrooms that have, say, under four reporters, your time slips away really, really fast. Coupled with the fact we’re rarely equipped with decent cameras for video, how can we justify wasting so much time with a product that only a percentage of the audience wants anyway.

      YouTube works because anyone can post anything. It’s simply entertainment. (And, personally, most of it is garbage anyway.) The people watching YouTube, if I were to guess, don’t watch news video. They want to see a guy get beaned in the crotch, or some other viral thing. Different approaches and audiences.

      I don’t know, I’m still not convinced video is worth the effort.

  5. Telling a visual story with video is very different from telling that same story with still photographs. It’s a different skill set that many upper managers don’t understand, I’m afraid. The photojournalist needs to understand how to capture action in order to build sequences, record excellent audio (a big reason why many exit a video is that they can’t understand what is being said!), and know how to put all these puzzle pieces together to tell a good compelling story. Some photo journalists (and reporters) excel at the transition, some don’t.

    Also, people gather information in ways that are comfortable to them. Some are readers, some listen in-depth to the radio, and others get theirs visually – which might speak to why newspapers are getting low traffic on their videos and CNN is doing fine. In time I think this will change, people will expect a variety of formats wherever they may get their news.

    • Lindsay Meeks
    • October 3rd, 2011

    What you’re missing out on is the video that’s syndicated out. Sites like 5Min and YouTube can do wonders to get the day-to-day video out there. The vast majority of our traffic comes through those sites rather than our own site. We also make a large profit off of selling our content to other news organizations and documentary film makers. The real issue here is the way that we think about video and how we use the video. No, people don’t always go to our website for our videos, but people are combing the internet for the videos through Google, AOL, Twitter, and YouTube. We get our name out there through those sources.

    I think the expectations of video on newspaper sites needs a readjustment as well. No one watches our long-term projects. They want our fast raw clips, our weird funny news, and our exclusive interviews on breaking news stories. Then our hardcore sports fans want to see anything about their sports teams, even though they might be finding the videos on YouTube instead of our website.

    Video for newspapers isn’t a lost cause. It just needs to be re-thought out. We have a small team, and I think that’s fine. It’s more about choosing the right topics and effectively covering them rather than just throwing up videos for every single article.

    • Jim Felt
    • October 3rd, 2011

    I shoot stills and very infrequently videos for advertising use. And read both online and print materials. Each has a place but as time goes on I spend measurably more time on this iPhone (don’t care for the fuzzy screen on my iPads) daily then I do reading any other single type of media. Meaning magazines or newspapers. And I read everything it seems. But seldom watch HDTV online (never) or via cable.
    Our clients are just as confused. It’s like the highly suspect but hot topic spending on the “Internet” back in 2000. The results are still client and use specific. But does it create big ticket sales? Impulse sure (like my Amszon Prine usage!) but big stuff? I’m not do sure.
    End of rambling. 10-4

    • JMS
    • October 3rd, 2011

    Funny because video is the fastest growing market at photo stock agencies and most photographers are switching to video. Yeah well photo galleries are popular when it’s the day after the ‘Oscars’. You should see how well magazines are doing with their video departments and how their web integration is excelling.

  6. This is very interesting but it speaks to the “impatience” of the culture.

    Does anyone remember the dot.com bubble burst? When everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to get a website and become hitech.
    Well the wall streeters invested in just about everything – and then when it didn’t pay off immediately – they abandoned ship.

    Fast forward to now. Was there really a dot.com bubble burst or were we just in the lead up to the exponential curve of technology?

    How foolish to think that we can predict the success of web video in such a short period of time.

    Will we never learn?
    Gail Mooney

    • Me
    • October 3rd, 2011

    Thank you Gavin and Rebecca. I think the potential for video storytelling on print media sites is phenomenal. Of course not all videos will be successful; there are some stories for which video makes no sense. But the success of good video stories will depend on marketing and what the audience expects.

    Rebecca I think you are spot on when you point out the differences in how people consume information. Those who watch videos don’t typically go to print media sites to watch; they don’t associate the two.
    It’s shocking how many people still are unaware that newspapers do video stories. I still get looks of surprise, even from media and communications professionals, when I show up on assignment for my newspaper with a video camera.

    Not enough people know that we do videos, especially those who consume information that way. I think we need to do more to reach out to them.

    • Phil
    • October 3rd, 2011

    Sorry, I didn’t add my name to the post above. It’s Phil Carpenter.

  7. I’d agree with what was written if we’re just talking about the quick hit “YouTubeization” of video going on at many newspaper websites. You know, reporters thrown a video camera or a photojournalist asked to run out and grab a quick 30-45 second video clip for the web (which depending on the story has it’s place sometimes)

    However if we’re talking about good video storytelling that grabs at your emotions, keeps you watching with a great story focus, characters, visuals & the edit then no!

    The key to get more web hits with video newspapers (that do good video storytelling) need to do a much better job promoting in print/web the story & keep it on the homepage much longer with a good visual placement that sets it apart from other news on those very cluttered web pages.

    Eric

    • Bubba D Smith
    • October 3rd, 2011

    Damn, my publisher told me that I weird because I said that if I google something and it comes up as a video, I jump to a site which has it as text.

    I’ve always said, there’s only 3 reasons someone watches videos on the internet:
    1. It’s an amazing, action video.
    2. It’s dumb or stupid video
    3. Porn

  8. I couldn’t disagree more, as well.

    Newspaper sites who think this way, stink at video storytelling. Videos should be thought of like a well-written story, but sadly for many print minds, they are not.

    This is an age of cross-platform journalism — people want to see action, not just read about it.

    Asking a convenience sample of college students if they watch video is not a good sample or base to throw out video storytelling in general. Sadly, news organizations often ask their interns to speak for young people’s interests. Ack!

    News organizations should better promote good video storytelling on their sites — not hide it, unintentionally. The promotion of good stories is terrible — that goes for well written stories as well.

    I do agree that everyday boring video stories should go away — don’t waste viewers’ time. But telling a good story — regardless of the medium — will never be a waste of time.

    You have your quick reads, and then you have those stories that resonate with you for some time. I still think about stories I watched last year.

    This is what good video storytelling does — it moves us to think about issues and connect those issues to our own lives. Academic research has shown that the real reason people watch video news stories on the web or listen to audio is because they have an interest in the story. Not because it’s action, dumb or porn. Careful with generalizations.

    I do appreciate your post and raising this issue and opening it up for the rest of us to discuss.

    Amy Zerba, University of Florida

    • Charlie Nutt
    • October 4th, 2011

    Local video makes sense for stories that are extremely local and highly visual — the big fire downtown, for example.

  9. Yes “feeble efforts” at video should be abandoned. I’d argue that feeble efforts at anything should be abandoned. You hand a notebook to a guy in the pressroom and say “now you’re a reporter.” Why would you hand a camera to someone with no instruction and say “now you’re a video producer?”
    I work at a small-medium sized newspaper, and depending on your definition of success, our videos are successful. People watch them, sometimes tens of thousands of people. Sponsors pay to have their pre-roll in front of them. They beat out bigger papers and television stations for awards. Is video going to be the economic savior of our paper? Probably not. But it has become another tool for many of our journalists who use it thoughtfully.
    I wish you wouldn’t dismiss something so completely based on your own aversion and what many of your students confess.

      • Mark
      • October 5th, 2011

      Hi Peter

      That’s nice that it works at your paper. You were probably trained on how to shoot relevant, informative, well composed and well edited video. An overwhelmingly majority of newspapers (large and small) hand their photographers a video camera and say, ‘you’re a visual person, you’ll figure it out’. Not the smartest thing to do – it demeans the the photographer and the product that they are expected to shoot. Commonly referred to as ‘cheap and cheerful’.

    • Don Himsel
    • October 5th, 2011

    Well done, Peter.

    • Dawcin
    • October 5th, 2011

    Very good! Finally, someone speaks up about the waste of resources.

    Way too often, the videos newspapers put online are God-awful and why the heck would they bother spending all that time? Newspapers are NOT TV and will never be TV.

    Just because a newspaper has a video camera (DSLR) and a computer does not make it video production company.

    It is also the same with all the digital cameras out there — how many are really photographers?

    Just because you have a camera doesn’t make you a photographer and the same with video.

    WAKE newspapers and do what you do best — make good still photographs again.

    P.S. I would be nice if many of the “new” photographers could learn how to spell and write. Are you listening J-schools?

    • Michael
    • October 5th, 2011

    I think the point that’s being missed here is that decent newspaper videos don’t have to require a lot of resources or large amounts of time. Granted some stories require logistics and technical prowess, but many do not. Breaking news videos seem to do very well on newspaper sites and I doubt most viewers really care about the technology behind the lens. In an age of smart phone mania, the immediacy often trumps quality production. I think the successful companies will tow the line and focus on both types of video, delegating the proper resources to both the highly skilled photojournalist and others in the newsroom who can be trained to tell a story visually.

    • Malinda Hartong
    • October 6th, 2011

    I agree that newspapers, especially locally, have lost their way, abd especially visually. Images are no longer seen as a way to engage the viewer & draw them to experience the story, but as clicks and hole fillers.
    And yes, finding quality video on newspaper sites is difficukt not only because handing someone a video camera does not make them a video journalist, but also thanks to newspapers not promoting quality when they did have it.
    Former Cincinnati Enquirer video editor Stacy Doose edited his heart out for his Emmy, as well as many nominations for himself and senior video producer Glenn Hartong. Photographer Micheal Keating also has a gold statue.
    But Stacy was canned, and Glenn was given still gear again (20 yr staffer). No support for video. Cant find it on the site. Cant sell it. I’m akso a former staffer who shot video as well as still. Thanks to Glenn at the desk, i could shoot, edit, even with voice over on my iphone in the field and have it posted before the truck was flipped back over. Agreed not the best quality, but fast breaking news posted quickly did well, when viewers were able to find it. Thankfully there are still talented folks out there like Bob Sacha, Glenn Hartong, & Stacy Doose who have not given up on their passion due to their profession!

  10. Your column is correct if your NEWSPAPER serves an older generation. But, no one under 35 really cares what old newspaper guys think.

    As a Missouri photojournalist a millennium ago, I was taught to dislike TV people and as a print journalist we made TV people feel unwelcome in the press club. And TV people returned the favor. That attitude is what I hear in this report.

    Our students at CyChron.Com quit making a newspaper and went web-first years ago. They do love their magazine and creating still photo story layouts; but they love even more live web video streaming of interviews and events; and capturing interviews of a fireman on smartphone video to place along summary articles about a disaster with a grabber photo.

    Students are preparing for a their new world in which their love of video clips, augmented by short inverted pyramid stories delivered on handheld devices, already predominates.

    Take look at local community NEWS PLATFORMS such as the Moore, Oklahoma, Monitor. (Not a newspaper, a news platform) The action under the Friday night lights is so much better as video in the reader’s opinion. The Monitor’s staff includes reformed newspaper and TV people, and a bunch of new j-grads.

    You go ahead and make a newspaper; our smartphone-wielding students will deliver the news.

    Mercer

  11. “Let’s be clear from the start: I’m talking about local and regional papers, not national newspapers with sophisticated multimedia operation like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (which announced an expansion of its video programming this week).”

    That’s not where those papers draw attention, they have been popular for years and will always get clicks on almost anything they publish. And it is not difficult to learn how to take decent video. It takes a little time, but with a decent tripod and some experience, almost anything is achievable.

    “For a long time, I blamed my own aversion to web video on my inner curmudgeon. But when I ask my students how often they watch video on the web, many confess they rarely click on video links, whether they’re on a news site or on Facebook.”

    If I read this right, she’s using her “students” as the basis of her post. “Her students” can say they don’t watch videos but they’re not parents who follow their children’s athletics (high school teams, little league, etc.), citizens who want to know what happened at the city council meeting or people who want to see a local play more than the newest episode of Jersey Shore…

    Legacy newspapers have a tendency to not promote their digital enterprises at all, and use them, as a professor of mine said earlier this week, as a shell of it’s print product.

    That’s why the multimedia isn’t working for “legacy newspapers”, because they don’t market their product correctly in the first place and are stuck in the 20th century…

  12. This site does an awesome job with photos! Check it out.

    http://jacksonville.com/photos

  13. Video is here to stay. But newspapers are facing two challenges:

    1. Insufficient bandwidth. It’s just too painful to watch video on most connections. 3g mobile devices are particularly bad.

    The why do television stations do reasonably well with online video?

    2. Identity, branding and presentation. Viewers/users are conditioned to expect video from TV outlets and static content from newspapers. Also, newspaper executives have the same comfort level so they relegate video to second-tier presentation. Also, many newspaper staffs are not versed in video storytelling or assignment techniques.

    People are still using video and their consumption is growing. Newspapers need to stop thinking of themselves as news”papers” and assertively enter the post-paper media world.

  14. Ok, video hasn’t been the golden goose that saved newspapers.

    But that was stupid of us to think it would. We had no such expectations for photo galleries, despite their high traffic. We had no such expectations for sexed-up celebrity news, which also drew big traffic. And sports coverage, our bread and butter main traffic draw, isn’t regarded as the sole goose in our pond, either.

    Video, like all the other things we publish, is just one element that makes up the whole. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

    But what video has done is increase time-on-site and engagement. It’s an essential part of what we do now.

    We have learned that news and sports draws video traffic while features don’t. We have learned that video needs to be embedded on the story page for it to get traffic. We have learned that video needs to start with a bang and be short and to the point. And most importantly, we have learned that video needs to focus on the top story of the day – the stories that get linked to across Facebook, Twitter, and the portals.

    Our videos have generated some revenue with ads and sponsorship, so we’re ahead of the rest of the newsroom. We continue to increase video traffic. Sounds like a success to me.

    As our overall site traffic transitions more and more to mobile devices, our video traffic remains consistent with the non-mobile stats – it’s obvious we need to do better at making our video mobile-friendly. Let’s hope some execs listen to us and figure that out, because revamping the CMS is way beyond my pay grade.

    Looking across the newspaper landscape, the level of video accomplishment seems to be pretty high, given the wholesale elimination of staffs across the board. The interns all know how to produce video as a normal part of their jobs. Photo staffers and reporters alike produce video now. The tools for video continue to get cheaper and easier. And we’ve learned that videos don’t need to take a week and a day to produce.

    Video is essential to what we do and is essential to our future. It’s crazy to suggest we abandon it.

      • Kelly Jordan
      • October 10th, 2011

      Well said Chuck, thank you

    • jmillian
    • October 8th, 2011

    I agree that video is virtually useless when it comes to newspaper sites.

    During my summer internship at Newsday.com, I learned extensively about what the online editors really wanted to focus on. Video had special places to go and they would usually make an effort to put some video in a prominent position on the site, but most of the time it was clear that their efforts were half-hearted. They were much more interested in putting up photo-galleries about anything and everything (a lot of which were done by the interns).

    While I also question the true value of jamming endless photo-galleries down readers’ throats, I do agree with newspaper editors who see them as far more important than video.

    The reason I myself believe that video is not successful nor worth it on a newspaper website, is because people are not going to a newspaper website for video. People who go to newspaper websites are going to get what newspapers were made to do.

    Written stories.

    As a matter of fact, I disagree with the notion that “major” newspaper sites such as the New York Times have been successful in using video pieces. I agree much more with another commenter who basically said that these major papers are “successful” just in comparison to minor papers. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have (had) massive readerships in print so naturally they are going to have massive viewerships online so naturally they are going to get more views on videos. But people still go to these sites for written news first.

    Why is CNN so successful with video?

    I don’t know…perhaps it’s because they are originally a VIDEO MEDIUM.

    Crazy thought right? Not really.

    http://jmillian247.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/response-newspapers-should-jettison-most-of-their-web-video-efforts/

  15. Although there is clearly a lot of evidence to back up your statement. I have to respectfully disagree. From my own experience as a student broadcast journalist, I have seen the affects videos can have a small or local papers. Yes, the ad’s before videos can be very annoying, however, there is a lot of information that you can get from a broadcast piece, that you can’t get from a print piece. Images tell stories, sometimes more than a well reported investigative piece. Videos tend to give life to the black and white print pieces on a newspapers website.

    However I do have to say the video has to be shot and edited correctly in order for it to be affective.

  16. I agree that videos are bringing local papers down. People would rather read news and view pictures online than watch a video of the news.

    In my personal experience, I get a much better sense of what is occurring when I read it. If I watch a news clip, I don’t take in as much about the story because the speaker may be speaking too fast or mention a word or phrase I don’t understand. With a newspaper or online article, I have more information available because there are no time constraints like there are in videos, and if I read something I don’t understand, I usually am able to figure out its meaning by reading the rest of the story.

    I wrote a blog post about how many people have lost appreciation for newspapers and have turned to the internet and television for more news. Yet, newspapers are the source of all other news sources and provide online videos with the information it needs to conduct a report. The only difference is newspaper have a greater variety of information because they are not limited by time like TV or online video-journalism.

    Online video ads are unfavorable because they distract people when they pop up, and according to many, waste their time and prevent them from viewing videos sooner. People would rather read about ads in papers because it offers them a choice of whether they want to read them or not when they are interested. Video ads do not.

    I find ads to be distracting because whenever I watch them, I tend to doze off or leave my computer until they are over. Sometimes, I don’t realize when they end and have to back up videos to the beginning again.

    Videos and ads are hardly used by people, and as a result, deliver news organizations little revenue in comparison to its other methods of making a profit.

  17. Photo galleries look like they are great traffic drivers because it takes so many clicks to get through them. Advertisers hate them. A good news video will get as many unique visitors as a photo gallery, just not as many page views.

  18. I concur. And I would make this point: newspapers online should take fuller advantage of digital still photography, especially panoramic photography of crowds. It’s not an issue of equipment. It’s an issue of imagination. Even cheap consumer DSLRs can quickly grab enough frames for a 180-degree pano of a crowd. A high resolution panoramic image of a crowd has much more visual power than a panning video of that crowd.

  19. The key idea is remember online news videos are not tv news videos. Knowing your target audience is the most important lesson a news agency has to learn. Keep in mind one question when planning a video idea or trying to adapt a written story into a video, “Will you watch this?”
    If it peaks your interest and others than you’ve got a great idea!

    Videos are moving images and static subjects just bore the audience. Shoot in sequences because most photographers crossing over to video capture subjects for a still frame. That is the opposite of what video should be. It should be dynamic and visual. Show me, don’t tell me!

    • Bob
    • October 24th, 2011

    I feel sorry for the sell outs and young people who jumped on the video band wagon and lost the skills needed to become a great photojournalist. I stuck to my guns and didn’t do video, took a lot of flak, but in the end what happened.

    • Barbara Woike
    • November 4th, 2011

    I couldn’t agree more – but then, as an AP photo editor for some of the best still photographers in the country, I feel no need to look at feeble video, and get nervous when there is periodic talk of having our still photographers shoot video more frequently than they do already. Save the video for tidal waves and belly landings – when still photos can’t tell the full story, but take advantage of more slide shows – which cost little and can showcase the many good pictures that photographers shoot, but never see the light of day because there is no room for them in a paper edition. Peak action….the essence…that’s what still photos can deliver….spare me from all the boring stuff in between.

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  1. October 8th, 2011
  2. October 11th, 2011
    Trackback from : All Day. Erry Day.
  3. October 11th, 2011
  4. November 2nd, 2011

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