LA Times Goes Harry Potter (well why not)


Video ‘in’ a newspaper?  Why not?

In 1990, I ran a VJ training bootcamp in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

One of the participants was the Voice of American Bureau Chief for Kabul, Afghanistan – Scott Anger.

He had been a radio journalist and made the conversion to video.

He made the conversion so well, that he went on to shoot and later produce several award winning full-length documentaries for Nightline.

Now, he has been hired by The Los Angeles Times to head up a new Videojournalist department for the newspaper.

Like The New York Times and The Washington Post, along with The Guardian, the paper is rapidly moving into the world of online video reporting.

And why not. The job of that paper, or any paper, is to go out into the community, gather stories and bring them to people. No one says it has to be in text. And as the web gets better and better at carrying video, why shouldn’t the newspaper carry video as well. And who, in their right minds, would hire crews to shoot the video for the paper?


No one.

But newspapers, (who felt the impact of the web long before television, which is just beginning to feel its icy grip), are moving far faster than local TV to embrace video online. Because for newspapers, adaptation is a matter of life and death. Local news will soon find itself in competition with a very experienced news gatherer now working in the realm of video. And online users of the service won’t have to wait until 6PM to get the stories.

So good luck Scott.

Los Angeles isn’t Kabul.

But it’s close.


One response to “LA Times Goes Harry Potter (well why not)

  1. It is good to hear about Scott Anger. I hope he does very well. Scott’s work is outstanding. I haven’t seen it all, but I did see the documentaries he worked on for Frontline I believe – (“The Search for Osama Bin Ladin” it might have been titled, I can’t recall.) He was not working alone for those, he was working with another correspondent. But Scott’s work with a small camera…going into tribal lands in Pakistan… was powerful, high quality, and bold that I contacted him to interview him for an article in the NPPA News Photographer magazine. It is good to get an update on him. He will do a great job.

    Right now, these large newspapers are moving into video. And I agree they are moving into a more pure approach to video journalism. The stories are not shaded by TV personalities/reporters/anchors (two shots, stand ups, reporter involvement.) The video stories are more personal and direct…depending on reality as content (not staged content.) That is a good thing.

    But I think in the future – once newspapers get experienced and technology improves even more – that news papers will start to adapt the “best practices” of experienced television stations, and vice versa. In otherwords… you will see newspapers start to hire personalities who will in fact be the same as television news reporters. I think these websites will also rely more on anchor men and women, who present the news in a program type fashion.

    Why? Simply because the viewer is accustomed to watching news video like that. (for better or worse.) And there is some benefit and value. Having a personality you enjoy watching… helps you navigate through many various videos.

    Also, producing quality “nats sound” stories (with no reporter track) is hard to do, when you do not have strong nats sound – or strong voices or storytellers narrating the story. That is when an experienced reporter or voice can carry the package.

    The most important element in any video story… is the viewer. So the bottom line for future video websites (newspaper websites and TV) is how to present the best product to the viewer. A product that does not waste their time, gets to the point, tells a story, and/or entertains them. With increased competition…. comes increased need for quality, efficiency and talent. Television has been dealing with video storytelling for decades. That experience cannot be ignored.

    Yet, I agree… that most, if not all TV newscasts, do not know and understand the value of “pure” video journalism. In that area, newspapers – and people like Scott Anger – will start to have more and more impact. I am all in favor of strong video journalism. I hope Scott does very well!

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