Category Archives: Video

Taking On The Big Event: The Debate in Austin

The Austin Amercan-Statesman had a big challenge and a big opportunity last week, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton came to town for a debate in advance of the March 4 Texas primary.
Online, the newsroom found new ways to cover the event and to uncover what goes on behind the scenes. I noted one feature in a Trailwatch post:

Cool newsroom offering: check out the interactive seating chart from The Austin American-Statesman to see where Chelsea Clinton and the Obama family were sitting in the audience.

The multimedia coverage offered so much more:
A range of video reports.
A very active group live blog. Notice there are more than 30 entries, from debate-watching parties, from the debate, from post-debate gatherings. Writers include interns, staffers, managers. Here’s one entry, with about ten comments. The entire newsroom was involved and that helped the entire community get involved.
Several slideshows, including photos of this debate party.
Oh, and there were articles, too, on the debate itself on the rallies and on plenty of other topics.

Maybe I missed it, but I did have trouble finding a good table of contents to all this great material. Navigation that allows readers to easily go from any one of these pieces of content to all the related links can be an engineering challenge, but also a great service.

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Filed under Current Affairs, Video, Web/Tech, Weblogs

Cheeseburgers and political satire

Next time you hear some executive talk about cross-platform distribution, you might want to fire up this Senator Craig item, from Doug Clark at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. That’s putting the multi in multi-media. Production credit is to Joe Barrentine, who shows up in one search as an intern in the paper’s photo department. I guess that he put the slide show together to go with the lyrics by Clark, a Spokesman-Review columnist, The Spokesman-Review has a pretty lively blog report from the morning news meeting. Here’s what they said about the Craig song parody:

But the really big deal this morning was Doug Clark’s new song. Some callers called it Doug’s "best perv song ever," although Smith "thought Barista was pretty good," he said.

On
the other hand, managing editor Gary Graham and senior editor Carla
Savalli brought up the point that by producing media to go with Clark’s
column about Craig, it’s…

• an extra step in poking fun of a
public figure that involves not just Doug Clark, but the time and
energy of Spokesman-Review staff if the multimedia team were to
blockade the men’s room for music video production.
• Poking fun of a public figure in a way that can make us ask, Is this something a newspaper should be doing?

"That’s one step further than I’m comfortable with," Savalli said about taking columnist views to a new media platform.

Smith and others argued that ridicule of public figures is a standard tone in Doug Clark work, although they agree that "It is Spokesman-Review content."

Is "Cheesbuger, I hold" by Craig LaBan, a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, doing the same thing?  A columnist who grew up devoted to print turns to the music video format to get across an important point. Political scandal, cheeseburgers — universal topics, important messages, cross-platforms.

In Spokane, Tony Orlando and Dawn provided the inspiration. In Philadelphia, it was the writer’s composition. In both cities, online audiences found newsrooms working to make the most of the web.

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Filed under Music, Video

Reporters, video and examples from all over

Our door is always open to visiting journalists. This week we were able to talk shop with Chris Krewson of The Morning Call in Allentown, where he runs the online operation. His mcall.com is about to get the same redesign treatment we can already see in Orlando and Hartford. (The Tribune Company hard at work.) Chris’s own shop does a lot of video work. He’s researched other examples of excellent newsroom video and has shared these findings:

The Bakersfield Californian. Last year they produced 400-500 videos and 70 percent was shot by reporters. Web editor Davin McHenry says: Ninety percent of reporter-shot video is edited by
another person. We have a pool of 6 people who edit video (most of the work is
done by two people, the multimedia producer and multimedia
reporter.)  Additionally the web editor, assistant web editor, night
editor and one reporter help pitch in with editing as needed. The other
10 percent is edited by reporters themselves.

The Washington Post and the Post documentary video page. Some examples from reporters:
*Washington Post "Answer Man" John Kelly goes to the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge
for an inside look at the unique machine that lifts barriers to alter lanes
during rush hour.
*Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War patrolled the streets of Washington,
D.C., as the U.S. entered its fifth year in Iraq. Reporter: David Montgomery.
*In the Pacific Northwest, wind and hydro-power are coming together to produce
electricity without the release of any greenhouse gases. Post reporter Blaine Harden interviews Brad Peck,
Energy Northwest.
*Brigid Schulte, a Metro reporter, shoots Mary McElveen, recently appointed Alexandria’s poet laureate, who talks about what
she hopes to do for poetry in the city.
*Washington Post Reporter Nelson Hernandez was traveling with a convoy delivering
new water trucks to the water agency in Baghdad when they came under attack by
insurgents.

Note: The Hernandez video was edited by Chet Rhodes, a multimedia editor at the dot com Post newsroom and one of the most influential trainers for reporters and photographers getting started in video. Editors in Roanoke (Carole Tarrant) and Allentown (Chris Krewson again!) praise his one-day training sessions.

Three lessons from Rhodes: 1. Save seven minutes at the end of an interview for the video segment. 2. Let the subject tidy up, and 3. Ask two questions, no more.

The Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va. Reporter Danielle Zielinski updates the Web audience on the construction of a
new rollercoaster
at Busch Gardens.

The Asbury Park Press. That link starts a series of videos streaming. Recently, there were videos on a fire, on a bed and breakfast rehab project, and on a 107th birthday. This link starts another series, which recently included a video on a bus accident and then rolled into the rehab project video.

The Austin American-Statesman. That is the page that showcases all their newsroom video.

The Herald-Leader of Lexington, Ky. Two reporter pieces: Fans turning out for their team and a piece on the Lexington Philharmonic.

Notes on video players: I look to see 1. is there a "share this" or "email this video" button? 2. Will the player indicate both the length of the video and how much time has elapsed so far? and 3. Is the user appropriately given notice about any ad and about how long it will be before the newsroom video starts?

I’m hoping to develop more guidelines as I view more examples.

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News meeting is content, video version

In Spokane, the news meeting is content. Twice a day, the Spokesman-Review editors gather and discuss the day’s news and what they plan to do on line and in print. It’s all on streaming video and there is a handy dandy guide to what’s what in the room for anyone who wants more information. The editor, Steven A. Smith, did this Q &A with Poynter. Excerpt:
"Will anyone actually watch? We have the technology, but we don’t always have the
drama. Will our competitors gain an advantage? Will our staff be as open in
public as in private? If the experiment does not further our goals, does not
help us do our jobs more effectively, we’ll stop. The technology is being used
for many other purposes so the modest investment is not wasted."

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Video examples

Three papers, The Miami Herald and The Wilmington News Tribune, produce daily TV-style video news reports. The daily feature from Miami uses high production values and a zippier, more youthful presentation with two anchors and five news updates. Notice the story frame has banner ads. Wilmington has an AM and PM newscast, with video ads and banner ads in the story frame. The Wilmington report more closely resembles a local TV news report. The Roanoke Times calls its report TimesCast, and it launches every weekday at 3:30 PM. A sponsor report starts each cast.

In Florida, The Naples News presents a menu of video selections. Viewing one sample (prep basketball report) opens a new window with a well-produced report on a single story. No obvious ad support. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, with its TV partner News 6, has a similar menu of video stories, each introduced with a short sponsor reference. Roanoke, in addition to the TimesCast, has video reports, with a simpler story presentation, also with ads in the story frame.

It’s harder to pull together something about the resources or training each of these newsrooms devoted to make this happen.

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Video caution

Will Sullivan’s video warning is worth repeating: What’s up with all these new video initiatives that can’t stream. Standard ‘broadband’ across the nation is capped at 256k.  256k!
256k ON A GOOD DAY WITH NO NETWORK HICCUPS. Until we can break from the
telecom monopoly, rates drop dramatically or the telecoms decide to
offer more bandwidth for free (HA!) we’re stuck at 256K.
I’m
fortunate to be on a 4 mb pipe at home, but at work I have trouble
streaming many of these new projects. At the library, don’t even try!
Dial up at Mom’s house? I’ll eat glass before I try that. There’s a
great technology chasm. Let’s work for some standards. Yes, ‘broadband’
is growing. But it’s DSL speed broadband right now.
Common (non geek) users like my mom are not going to wait for
something that keeps studdering and won’t play straight… Buffer once,
then it better flow. She’s going to leave something for that before she
leaves because the video may not be the crispest HD, ever in the
history of the planet earth. If you can’t figure out your codecs or
offer multiple versions, please put it on YouTube, Google, Revver,
Brightcove or any of the dozen decent other video streaming services
and stop wasting users time and bandwidth.

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Filed under Video