Join the debate on online video journalism

Welcome to our new blog all about online video journalism. As a group of broadcast journalism students based at City University, London we are interested in the issues surrounding gathering and publishing online video, the impact of online video on journalism and how it has come to be recognised as a powerful medium in its own right. The blog will explore aspects of this using a variety of media tools based on our specific interests. Enjoy, and join the debate by commenting!

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Why Charities are Embracing Online Video Journalism

It’s not just the media that’s embracing cheaper forms of broadcasting video journalism content. There is a whole wave of new age charities embracing not only social media but also online video journalism, capitalising on the latest, cheapest broadcast platform.

Non-profit organizations have quickly cottoned onto the social media trend as a hugely beneficial tool for communicating their cause to anyone connected to the internet which is estimated to be 1,407,724,920 people or around 21% of the world’s population.

Not only have charity campaigns flooded social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube, these organizations have increasingly embraced the use of online video journalism to advertise their campaigns in an extremely cost effective way.

Case Study 1: Oxfam

Oxfam has a section of its website devoted to campaign videos. Oxfam also has dedicated YouTube channels – Oxfam America and Oxfam Great Britain. Oxfam says that by letting people ‘see it, share it and change it’, they can help fight poverty and injustice by spreading the word using new media platforms. The channels feature videos about many of the charity’s different operations around the world. Check out this video below featuring a report on coffee giant Starbucks and its economic relationship with coffee farmers in Africa.

Case Study 2: Unicef

Unicef has a section of its website totally dedicated to blogs about their different campaigns. They also have a section just for Audio and Video. And of course they have a YouTube channel where Unicef TV is broadcast to its millions of viewers. Check out this report below on the increasing number of families crossing the border into Tunisia to escape the current crisis in Libya.

Case Study 3: Greenpeace

Greenpeace has a section of its website which showcases campaign promos, animations and video blogs. The organisation encourages other groups or individuals to spread the videos by embedding them on other websites. The channel has thousands of subscribers and has had over 13,850,000 channels views.

The video below is about a Chinese photographer Lu Guang. He documented the oil spill at the city of Dalian for Greenpeace. His pictures depict the death of firefighter Zhang Liang and won him a World Press Photo award in 2011. The online videos Greenpeace produces are of high quality both technically and journalistically, often covering very newsworthy stories from the corners of the globe.

 

 

Given that large charities such as the NSPCC spends millions on advertising on TV, it’s more than likely they will increasingly rely on the internet as a cheaper, faster and in some cases more accessibly media platform.

 

Natasha Malcolm-Brown


Yesterday’s Television, Today’s Online, Tomorrow’s Disposable News

Last year’s Leaders debate attracted 4.1 million viewers across Sky News, BBC News Channel and Sky3, but online streams only attracted 300,000 viewers. And yet, during the festive period there, 145 million web surfers checked in at Hotel BBC iPlayer! With youtube hosting 93 online news channels, why are we still turning on the box?

In this digital age, are we still dragging our feet across the analogue field of television, or do news junkies keep up to date via online videos? Nick Kwek investigates…

Zoe Morris watches mainly music videos online and would only choose to watch news online if there was a big story already established to follow. Not exactly one for online breaking news.

Josh Cheesman relies on youtube for amusing videos and subscribes to feeds and forums for updates. He feels news feeds are best watched on the official BBC and Sky News websites. A trusted news website suits him best.

Siobhan Schwartzberg chooses to look up youtube for individual speeches, or special packages. She wouldn’t log onto the BBC website for individual news packages, but rather prefers watching entire news programs. – something perhaps more comfortably done via television.

AH! Sorry about the lighting Tony. Alas, a peril of mobile shooting! Tony relies on BOTH television and the internet: the BBC website and Yahoo are his poison of choice for current affairs news feeds.

Okay, so these participants are hardly a broad spectrum of our society, but they are genuine case studies and they do give us various opinions about watching news online. Surprisingly, only Josh regularly watches news online as a principal source for his current affairs, but this is not so shocking when we bear in mind the statistics. Check this out, as shown by a BBC conducted study:

Only 1 in 10 people say they watch online video once a week, with a whopping 67% saying that they “NEVER and CANNOT conceive watching online TV in the future”! But, it appears as if they may not have a choice in the matter, with advertisers steadily spending billions online rather than television. Since 2007 in fact, there has been a fall in the number of television viewers and a marked rise in the number of viewers online:

Online figures have almost tripled in 4 years.

The obvious advantage for watching content online is that you can watch it any time you wish; day or night, you can still access the same material broadcast via television earlier that day or indeed before it is broadcast. You can watch it for as long as you like, there is always a pause button, and you can go back and watch it as many times as you wish. But whilst it may be a good thing that people are keeping up to date online at various instances throughout the day, is this not impinging on the quality of the news uploaded, and are we appreciating and taking it in as much as we should, knowing full well that disposable news is at our fingertips?!

by NICK KWEK


Beet TV’s Online Video Journalism Summit

Just last month renowned online video blog Beet.TV hosted a summit on exploration into online video at the Washington Post. Beet TV focuses on the emergence of online video and its impact on industry and society and is generally recognized as the first business oriented video blog.

The panel at the summit included representatives from various respected news organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post, msnbc.com, The Associated Press, CNN.com, Yahoo, CBS.com and others. The summit focused on how these associations used their online video to best effect and how they encouraged more viewers and hits. Here are some of my picks of the best tips that these online video connoisseurs had to offer.

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post believes it’s important to do all you can to engage new viewers. Whether it’s Twitter, video journalism or print articles, it all helps to build up your network. Cillizza also had a warning to politicians, now that online services such as Twitter and YouTube reach the same audience as traditional media, production levels must remain high.

Steve King, also of The Washington Post advises syndicating your video both on and offline in order to expand your audience. For example at the Washington Post, video content is posted on Yahoo! as well as their own site. He sees the future of the whole of the business of the Washington Post to be in delivering video content that is exclusive to the newspaper. For example during the 2010 US mid term elections, the Washington Post hosted an Election Day twittercast with Chris Cillizza delivering the latest news and views from the polls.

Ann Derry the editorial director of video and television for the New York Times says their tactic has always been to, “be organic with the journalism and have the video come out of the journalism we are doing.” She also believes that integration of video into online articles is vital for higher views.

Yahoo! Video expert, Anna Robertson, argued why not broadcasting live but showcasing shorter clips works better with the shorter attention spans of online viewers. Ann Derry agrees with this saying unless there is a compelling reason for the video to be live, it shouldn’t be.

Kevin Roach of The Associated Press has found raw video to be the most successful with younger viewers because it is new and different from their parent’s TV news. However this is does not mean abandon making your neatly edited news type packages just yet as Stokes Young of MSNBC.com says they have had higher views in more explanatory, scripted news videos.

The panel also had lots of tips on how to actually get your video watched online. Anna Robertson says social media is very important, especially including embed codes to stream inline on Facebook or Twitter and allowing for easy referrals (like “click-to-share” links and embeds). According to Kevin Roach, 40% of AP’s streams from YouTube come from embedded streams in social media networks. Also search is one of the most important factors including having as many tags as possible that are relevant in order to maximize your content’s reach.

Watching the summit certainly expanded my thought processes in regard to online video and its potentials. Why not check out the video of summit for yourself here.

And here is the second half of the summit:

From left to right, Ann Derry, The New York Times; Stokes Young, msnbc.com; Kevin Roach, The Associated Press; Mike Toppo, CNN.com; Andy Plesser, Beet.TV; Alex Werpin, TVNewser; Anna Robertson, Yahoo! Video; Jeff Whatcott, Brightcove; Mark Larkin, CBSnews.com and Mike Stephanovich, Reuters Insider.

By Yianni Meleagros


“Connection Strength: Excellent”

Forget Nokia, Youtube is Connecting People in a big way that’s here to stay!

Many have purported that as technology advances and online social media becomes an everyday way of life, the world is getting smaller. Who hasn’t heard of facebook, or youtube or twitter by now? As a result, fears of privacy infringement have strengthened. But surely it’s inevitable, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling for a 1984 Orwell invasion, but I think we need to step back and look at the amazing advantages of having such social pathways, literally, at our fingertips.

Just the other day, I was able to contact Barack Obama about City University’s Question Time with a few presses of a keypad. How can one think this is a bad thing? Now, let’s talk business…

Meet Keenan Cahill:

HERO

At the age of 14, Keenan started up his Apple Mac and began lipsynching to Katy Perry. The next day Perry re-tweeted his video. Overnight, a star was born.

18 months later, Keenan has had over 200 million youtube video views and has since started a career in music production, acting and modelling –all because of ONE VIDEO.

Last week, Katy Perry made this video for him, along with Nick Cannon and Khloe Kardashian:

Cue FIDDY.

One of Keenan’s dreams was to one day perform with 50 cent. The boy idolised him and made video after video singing along to ‘Candy Shop’, ‘Disco Inferno’, etc. Then one day as Keenan posted yet another video of him singing along to 50 Cent’s ‘Down On Me’, someone made a guest appearance…

The video with Keenan and Fiddy has 28 million hits on youtube and is actually more popular than the official music video that has only 13m!

Then there’s those with the BIEBER-FEVER!…

Say Hello to 3 year old Cody:

     – “I’M CRYING BECASUE I LOVE JUSTIN BIEBER!!!” Fair Does…

Her sister uploaded a video of her crying over Justin Bieber and the video attracted so many views, 20 million in fact, that American TV Host  Jimmy Kimmel arranged to have Bieber surprise little Cody, and in doing so, cleverly attract more viewers to his television show! Cody’s dream came true, because of ONE VIDEO.

And now this video, in itself, has attracted over 27 million views online.

Bieber, obviously indebted to youtube entirely for his success, has made somewhat of a hobby in doing this. For the Ellen show last month, he went to surprise his ‘superfan’, 15-year old Paige Conway. As Paige and Ellen’s production team record a video about how crazily infatuated she is with Bieber, what do you know, BIEBER TURNS UP! OHEMJEE. Like Totally. Shock. Horror.

This video has also been watched a mere 2m times on Ellen’s youtube channel in a month, but Ellen has made a cheeky buck or two from the advertising, say £20,000. As Mike Lok, Head of MSN Entertainment, says, “for each click online, advertisers pay 1p”. Not all bad then. Certainly hasn’t done badly for Bieber either, who has taken over Lady Gaga’s monster ‘Bad Romance’ and is now star of the number 1 most watched video EVER – at a jaw-dropping…wait for it…

HALF A BILLION views!!! Yup, ‘Baby’ has been played over 503 MILLION times!

All in all, online video can make dreams come true overnight, reconnect artists with their audiences, and as a result attract a wider audience, then we should all be grateful for youtube and the connecting power of social media. If you think the internet is a pit of evil and that the box is a waste of time, then bog off and move to the country!

But you won’t be alone for long.

By NICK KWEK


VBS.TV: online video journalism for the younger generation

VBS.TV is an online TV network that streams a variety of news, music, pop culture and current affairs videos. It was launched in 2007 by New York based media conglomerate Vice, in collaboration with MTV. The site is co-managed by creative director Spike Jonze, the Oscar nominated filmmaker whose credits include Being John Malkovich.

This online TV network is unusual. It targets a younger demographic of 18-24 year olds and offers more diverse content in terms of news and current affairs. It attempts to and succeeds in offering an alternative to the ‘dumbed down’ mainstream televisual programming so often focussed on celebrity culture. The site capitalises on far lower set-up costs and the knowledge that online plays such an important role in the lives of those fitting into this demographic. Confident that many of the younger generation are bored with Heat, Nuts and Paris Hilton, the site produces videos that offer a deeper look into important issues, formed as a result of their counter-culture philosophy.

VBS.TV has gained a strong following and industry recognition. VBS.TV online videos are featured on various other sites including YouTube and Vimeo. VBS online video documentaries have also been featured on CNN – the media organisation said they were ‘intrigued’ by the journalism and unique reporting approach of VBS. One video featured by CNN is an online video documentary about a forest at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan that has attracted hundreds to go there to commit suicide, and explores the pressures on people in modern Japan.

The videos have a transparent approach to them where the viewer is taken on every step of the reporting process. The site is wholly advertiser-funded and content is free to access. Many contributors and freelancers produce videos for the site. Whilst you’ll still find stories about sex, drugs and rock and roll, you’ll also find reports on the war on terror, and North Korean refugees. Below are some of my top pics:

  • A half hour documentary on the student protests over rising tuition fees and the scrapping of EMA entitled Teenage Riot. You can watch the video on VBS.TV by using this link: Teenage Riot.
  • A video which typifies what VBS is about called Heavy Metal in Baghdad, which is a unique documentary about the fortunes of Acrassicauda, Iraq’s only heavy metal band which formed during the final years of Saddam Hussein’s rule. They were only allowed to play if they included a pro-Saddam song in each set. The film provides an insight into the life of young people in modern day Iraq, and gives a fresh angle on a major world news story unexplored by the mainstream press.
  • Swansea Love Story – this is a moving and saddening documentary about heroin addiction filmed in the vein of gritty realism. Reporter involvement (RI) is extremely limited, even at times when the viewer is screaming at the reporter to intervene. The production of the piece achieved interesting and thought provoking shots by filming contrasting sequences of the main subjects with wide shots of the desolate Swansea landscape and also with shots of the local church choir which adds another layer to the film. You can watch part on on YouTube below:

Natasha Malcolm-Brown


Bloggers that care about online video journalism

I decided to look at fellow Bloggers that are into Online Video Journalism and I found a couple of inspirational people.

The Wall Street Journal achieved over 10 million streams per month of its video viewership, spanning from the day’s biggest stories, interviews, news, live broadcasts to opinion shows. 20% of wsj video traffic is live broadcasts, where the Journal attempts to ‘domesticate cable TV to a web format’. Apparently the Journal makes around $200,000 a month with their streams alone and can thereby afford to keep a staff of 23!

Their goal is to have a similar reach as TV for their news streams by 2015 but cheaper. Deputy managing editor Alan Murray said about their success: “We’ve doubled our video viewership in the last nine months, and I’d like to see us double it again in the next year or two.” I like their videos because they cover every news story in great detail but also offer high quality lifestyle stories.

Here is one example of wsj.com video journalism style

Here is another.

What do you think?

Adam Westbrook is a new media journalist that specialises in online video, blogging and social media. He is the founder of the UK Future Of News Group, which is a community of journalists, academics and entrepreneurs interested in the future of digital age journalism. He also lectures video journalism at Kingston University in London and runs an online video production company, studio .fu.

His Blog is the 31st best Blog in the UK (Cision Top 50 Blogs 2010)! He launched “My News Biz 20011 – the UK student journalism enterprise competition” to find ‘the next generation of journalists, currently studying at a UK university, to come up with their own idea for a news business that has the potential to be sustainable’. He believes that journalists can no longer just provide information but that in order to appeal to the mass market and attract followers we have to ‘package’ our information. A package is unique and can be sold for money and he is paying £1,000 for the best business idea by a journalism student.

I really like the idea of launching a competition for Blog followers, that will definitely keep them coming back and checking his Blog for updates! (Note to self J) He also gives tips for journalists on how they can improve their Blogs, such as 10 free programmes media journalists should have. He discusses how in revolutionary times, like in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, journalism is one of the ways that changes the way the world works.You can check out his Blog here.

Angela Grant is a freelance multimedia journalist that produces online videos among many other things. She works for Texas newspapers, local news websites, and two wire services distributed worldwide. As the publisher of her Blog, she gives tips for journalists who produce online news videos. Among many things, she shows how to frame video interviews and even analyses Adam Westbrook’s Blog posts. You can check out her online videos here.

Jil D.