Should Newspapers be cutting back on their online video content?

According to a study of 100 US newspapers undertaken by the Associated Press, a large number of them are cutting back on video and video journalists. As the current financial climate continues to bite hard at newspapers, it is often the video that is first to go.

Kevin Roach, Director of US Broadcast News at AP led and the study and found that financial reasons were often the main factor in the decision to cutback but he wouldn’t disclose the specific findings of the study.

He is of the opinion that newspapers should stick with their online video content as he believes it provides an important part of editorial output. He also thinks that there are new opportunities emerging for these newspapers in how people consume their content, e.g. through social media and new devices such as tablets.

He suggests papers must publish breaking news of local interest quickly in order for their videos to be effective. With the change to the web that social media has brought, getting news up quickly is essential.

Below is Beet TV’s interview with Kevin Roach.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/goRrgqDXZwI%5D

However as others have been cutting back, the Miami Herald has been reaping the rewards of increased investment in its video content. Last year, MiamiHerald.com saw about a 25 percent growth in video traffic, making it the second biggest traffic driver behind articles.

They found over a period of study of six years that the most popular videos were sports and breaking news. These were already strong points at the Herald but with further investment and improvement they were able to build up a loyal audience.

The Herald uploads on average 60 to 80 videos a month and has partnered with Miami TV stations including WSFL-TV and CBS 4 in Miami to try to extend its reach. They share content with WSFL and cross promote content with CBS 4 which helps to increase the site’s traffic. The Herald also posts many of its videos to YouTube where they can get thousands more hits than on MiamiHerald.com and thus further increase it’s reach.

So if more newspapers could follow the Herald’s example of investing more in video then perhaps they too would experience similar success and not have to cut back on a vital component of news.

Below is a video from the Miami Herald, which I believe illustrates well what they are trying to provide: breaking news of local interest. It also shows the advantage of using video over simply just print, seeing pictures of the dogs elicits more emotion in us and gets us to engage more fully with the story than just an article could.

Miami Dade Animal Services Centre

Yianni Meleagros


“All we hear is VIDEO GaGa”: The integral role of ONLINE VIDEO in projecting Lady Gaga into SUPERSTARDOM!

Has VIDEO murdered music? Maybe it was just a bad romance…

When Lady Gaga bust onto our radiowaves in 2008 with Just Dance, she had everyone from teenage girls in miniskirts to grandfathers in brogues tip-tapping away on the dance-floor. But when we were blessed with the ability to put that name to a face at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in 2010, the world paused for a moment in bewildered unison asking, “WHY>?>?!! WHY THE MEAT DRESS, GAGA???”

Courtesy of REX images

Even now, half a year on –we still talk about Gaga’s radical dress sense as if it were some sort of Divinity, in place of what she should actually be celebrated for – her music. But what effect Gaga raises from her image is completely obliterated when compared to the effect caused by her music videos.

Miss Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s (GaGa) ‘Bad Romance’ currently stands as the World’s second most watched video EVER (Not even most watched music video, but VIDEO) on youtube.com.

Yup – Her lycra-coated body has paraded across the world’s eyes a staggering 362 MILLION TIMES!  (And counting!) This means that on average, ‘Bad Romance’ has been watched by ONE in TWENTY people on the PLANET! Or in other terms, her video has been watched once over by the total population of South America! If we play the video back to back 360 million times, and my calculations serve me correctly, it would take 30.5m hours, that’s 3500 YEARS to watch!  How scary is that?

It’s ironic to think you’d be hard-pressed to find 1 in 20 people who even like Lady Gaga and that everyone you speak to about ‘Bad Romance’ seems to think Gaga’s music is, well, just plain BAD.

And yet, we just can’t get enough: In February of this year, she won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video with her psychedelic video.  Back in 2009 Lady G was nominated for a total of nine awards at the VMAs wherein she won the award for Best New Artist for her single “Paparazzi” (Which has been viewed a mere 55 million times on youtube) and won 2 awards for Best Special Effects and Best Art Direction.

At the 2010 VMAs – “she gone cleared up good”! With ‘Bad Romance’ she won Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Choreography, Best Direction, AND Best Editing! Not to mention Best Collaboration for her video with Beyonce – ‘Telephone’. In response to her success, Gaga is quoted as saying “I’ve always been famous, it’s just no one knew it yet”. Well they sure do now, honey! Thank you youtube! Michael Jackson’s legendary music video, ‘Thriller ’, seems like an amateur 8mm home video in comparison to her worldwide SUPER HD BLOCKBUSTER.

                 – “fashion roadkill, that’s okay” – GaGa.

Type the letter ‘L’ into youtube and Lady gaga will come up as two suggestions in a row. Type in ‘Lady’ in google.com, and she comes up as all suggestions every time. Three years ago, Lady Gaga was still Stefanie, and now thanks to ONE ONLINE VIDEO, she is a household name who has made an unprecedented mark in music history.

All this from a woman who is “just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time”.  Right then.

by NICK KWEK


The VJ Movement

The VJ movement is a website that brings together over 150 professional video journalists and cartoonists from over 100 countries contributing their own perspective on a wide variety of stories. In this way they the user can be as well informed as possible in order to form their own opinion on the story. As they say on their website, “We as journalists believe that there is more than one truth.”

They encourage users to post ideas and pitch stories but it is not citizen journalism. Users can help set the agenda but the items are all produced by professional journalists. By having so many different contributors they aim to provoke discussion and thus discover even more new opinions and perspectives on different topics.

They aim to produce videos that while being separate stories in their own right are linked together on a wider level. By allowing users to pitch their own ideas they ensure that the citizen and journalists are in a constant dialogue, something that is not really replicated anywhere else with the same level of success.

Moreover they have set up the VJ Foundation which is a non-profit organization that exists to support local journalists, encourage high quality journalism across the world and enhance international reporting. The foundation also provides support and training to journalists in regions where freedom of the press is under pressure. It also strives to increase awareness of the importance of the role of journalism in society.

For me what makes this website so special is the opportunity to get your ideas made into actual projects. For example, back in October a story was pitched about the situation with regards to homosexuality in Ecuador. Ecuador was the first country in the Americas to recognize same-sex relationships. However at the same time there are various clinics that claim ‘cure’ homosexuality. I found this piece really interesting and it really opened my eyes to the ostracization towards homosexuals that is still felt in many parts of the world. You can see the video below.

As mentioned earlier, the VJ movement attempts to link together separate stories to highlight similar injustices throughout the world. Linked but separate from the Ecuador story is one about how homosexuals in Israel are bypassing the strict religious laws by marrying abroad. Although there is a thriving gay community in the liberal city of Tel Aviv, the majority of the rest of the country is much less open-minded. In 2006 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages abroad must be legally recognized. Despite much opposition from the government this verdict has yet to be overturned thus allowing homosexuals in Israel to live the lifestyle they desire and remain in their homeland.

As we have seen the VJ movement is doing such good work throughout the world publicizing stories with the help of their users that may have otherwise slipped under the radar. On top of this their foundation puts into action the principles and morals that they adhere to. Lets all hope the VJ movement keeps on rolling for many years to come.

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.


Ten pioneers in online video journalism

Part One – Narrative freedom

One of the great advantages of online video journalism is that it allows you to break away from the constraints of television journalism.

The internet provides a space for greater creativity, experimentation and variety.

Perhaps most significantly, online video journalism is not restricted by the reporter-led TV formula. (A formula that is well explained in Charlie Brooker’s now infamous How to Report the News.)

As Adam Westbrook and US journalist Paul Balcerak have suggested, there is greater artistic potential in online video journalism.

But experimentation with form, as Westbrook points out, should not detract from quality.  There are several key rules surrounding form that can be broken, but certain fundamental rules must be adhered to.

Here are five sites that show exactly how online video journalism allows for a more artistic form of visual storytelling than its television counterpart.

1. Al Jazeera Frames

This channel contains some excellent shorts, each one is a two-minute treat. There’s also information about some of the filmmakers.

Recommend:

A Cup of Tea (below) – a look at Sri Lanka tea makers. Stunningly shot.

Debtris – a very original approach to data journalism

2. PNW Local News

This is a US-based organistation. It consists of 30 local community newspapers, but its blip.tv channel has a wide variety of video reports.

Recommend (click on the links below):

Navigate King County’s Future Intro Video

World Championship of Sand Sculpting 2010

3. Raul Gallego Abellan

This year’s winner of the RTS Camera Operator of the Year Award. As you’d expect, his videos contain some exceptional camerawork. He works for AP and is based in Bangkok.

Recommend:

Rising Waters – Pakistan Floods 2010 (see website)

Foot Patrol (below)

4. Harmit Kambo

In most of his films, he uses stills accompanied by first-hand witness accounts. But some films do include video footage.

Recommend:

Watching the Detectives (below)

A Bomb on Your Doorstep

5. video .fu

Adam Westbrook’s Vimeo channel collates a pool of films by different producers that exemplify the creative art of online video journalism.

Recommend:

The Sartorialist (below)

The Mast Brothers

In the second part of this series, I shall look at some of the most well known online video journalism channels and will give an overview of their style and content.

Will Teddy