This month I’m hosting the Carnival of Journalism — a monthly compendium of smart ideas on the future of journalism — and need your brainpower.
The question we’re tackling: “What is the role of online video in the newsroom of the future?”
I wouldn’t pose the question if I didn’t think this part of the industry had a future. However, I’ve found there’s a collective murkiness around what the future actually looks like. Newsrooms have had a complicated relationship with online video. (More on the topic in the original post.)
So, tell me about your perspective: How do you use video in your day-to-day work, as a producer or as a consumer, and how do you think it ought to be used? Or tell me about your vision for the future: What works, in your eyes, and what does not? How do we harness this terrific medium and make it shine?
Even if you’re not closely connected to the topic, I hope you’ll take a stab at the issue. In fact, your perspective may provide a valuable view from the outside.
I was invited to speak at Jeff Pulver’s #140Conf in New York today. Jeff has done a very good job of galvanizing a community of interesting people. Not necessarily media types, not necessarily attention-seekers, just interesting people. I had hoped this would resonate across disciplines. I believe it has.
Why I’ve Left TV News …For Now
Delivered June 16, 2011
92nd Street Y, New York City
It’s an effing cat in an effing tree! I was a local TV reporter and that’s how I described on the phone to my wife the story I was assigned to cover.
And it wasn’t just an effing cat in a effing tree: it was a cat that had been in the tree and splashed on the front page of a major newspaper for three days. Even after the cat came down and scampered away – because after all, that’s what cats do, it was still a story on the 5 o’clock news that night.
So yes, I guess I was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it. That was my Howard Beale moment.
If there was one theme that could be derived from the cacophonous meeting rooms and corridors at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival last week it’s this: Mobile, mobile, mobile.
The production and delivery of news is increasingly mobile. Marketing is focused on mobile. Gaming is set on mobile. Music is tuned in to mobile. Even in the crowd there were far fewer laptops and far more iPads than I’ve ever seen.
Mobile devices are now essential hardware in our daily lives – and news organizations of all sizes need to consider mobile the battleground of the next decade, as Peter Gelb, head of mobile practice at Razorfish, put it. He notes the average person looks at their handheld 150 times a day.
It all seems so logical: If you want to connect with your neighbors, invite them over.
That’s the concept behind one of my favorite experiments going on in journalism these days. Just a few weeks ago, the Torrington (Conn.) Register Citizen opened a newsroom café – coffee and muffins and all – where the public is invited to be a part of the process. Residents can explore the paper’s 134 years of archive material, mingle with reporters and weigh in at afternoon editorial meetings.
But for every Register Citizen, there are a dozen other newspapers seemingly unsure of what to do with newly discovered extra space in their newsrooms (the result of a decade of downsizing), with an archival bounty and with the desire to connect with the community.
This is where universities can step in. These institutions of advanced learning, these manufactured communities, have built the fiscal infrastructure, developed the resources to archive materials and honed the skills to effectively teach people.
What if universities created open newsrooms that journalists from hyperlocal or community news sites could use collaboratively? Or, what if a local newspaper opened its doors so that a university-run news site could share its space?
One of the biggest journalism buzzwords in recent years has been transparency. The term so often used by journalists (as in, Congress ought to be more transparent about earmarks), should be used more about journalists.
Two steps-in-the-right-direction came this week, but both demonstrate the industry has not embraced the issue with the same fervor as it has Wikileaks blame and ski lift ‘tragedies’. One was a Walmart-sponsored piece on the Today Show that is not clearly labeled as such, and the second is an apparent third case of plagiarism for upstart Patch.
Today Spreads Walmart’s Cheer
The first was delivered just before Christmas, as Matt Lauer began a segment on military moms-to-be in much the same fashion as you might expect: More than a hundred excitedly screaming pregnant military moms crowded in a liveshot and after the heart-tugging taped story, Lauer was interviewing three military moms-to-be and a husband just back from Afghanistan, complete with child born during deployment held in the man’s arms.
And this is where things took a turn. I was fully expecting the “big surprise” to be a husband-and-pregnant-wife reunion on national morning television, one of those moments that touches your heart.
Despite all the gadgetry and gizmology, the pomp and the pundits, there’s still one thing missing from the horse race coverage of a night like tonight: Perspective. There are glimmers of it (NBC’s Brian Williams noted as I write that there haven’t been this few Democrats in the House in 60 years, for example), but we journalists should strive for more.
I have, for the first time in many, many years, a different perspective this election night. I’m not at a campaign “headquarters” with a sideline coach’s headset messing up my hair. I’m not in a newsroom frantically checking the latest wires and cuing talent. And I haven’t spent the day ferrying a campaigning family member around his district.
Lost in the coverage (including mine) of the much-ballyhooed launch of TBD.com is the fact that a revamped cable channel launched in Washington, D.C., too.
NewsChannel 8, a pioneer among local cable news operations, is no more. Taking its place is TBD TV with Steve Chaggaris at the helm as V.P. of Cable News (@stevechaggaris, bio).
Rarely does an opportunity come along to rebuild a television news operation from the ground up. Even more uncommon is the tail wagging the dog: A decidedly fresh website serving as the mold for the TV station, rather than a TV station creating a website in its image.
Chaggaris and I got a chance to sit down together a few weeks ago — and he recognizes this as a chance to revolutionize the way things have always been done. [Video after the jump.]
The title of this post comes from the first line of something I stumbled upon this week. In the footer of Bay News 9’s website is a link to its “Crime Guidelines” — what I find to be a refreshingly transparent and important move by a local news organization.
It goes on to discuss the placement of murders within a newscast: