Newspapers Go To Video

feel the power

The New York Times has now moved to their new building on 8th Avenue and 41st Street.

But deep in the bowels of their old building stand massive printing presses.

They were simply too large to move out, too deep in the ground, and probably bolted directly to the Manhattan bedrock.

Before the Times moved their printing operations to New Jersey, the paper came from West 43rd Street. And when they rolled the presses, the entire building rumbled with them.  It was like firing up a 747 in the basement.

That was the ‘power of the press’.

Approximately 75% of the cost of a newspaper is the sheer physicality of the thing. The manufacturing process.  25% is the editorial.

Think about it.  Paper, ink, presses, plates, distribution.

If you want to expand circulation, you have to first make a massive capital investment to get the ‘thing’ into people’s hands physically every morning. That is a Herculean task in itself.

Then along comes the web.

Suddenly, you can publish your paper, put it in, quite literally, a few billion homes, from Schenectedy to Shanghai, for free.

For free.

And you can update it as often as you like. (Try recalling a newspaper).

That is why the web is so irresistable to the newspaper business. \

That is why they will inevitably go there.

And as newspapers move inexorably to the web from the content side, video also moves inexorably to the web from the technology side.

It is a marriage made in heaven. In fact, it is a necessity, because in the world of the Internet, there is a kind of Gresham’s Law: More dynamic media will drive out less dynamic media.  Ads for real estate with only text are trumped by ads for real estate with photos, and soon ads for real estate with video will trump the earlier two iterations. The same holds true for the delivery of information.  (Note the failure of Text TV in the 1980s).

And as newspapers go to video, they are not going to go out and start hiring expensive traditional ‘crews’. That would be an act of insanity.

They are, however, embracing the VJ model as quickly as they can. It is the only logical way to go.

It is happening quite fast, and the product, although plagued by the publisher who simply gives out the camcorders and says ‘go’, is getting better and better all the time.

The American Journalism Review does quite a good piece on this, entitled The Video Explosion.

Take a look.


9 responses to “Newspapers Go To Video

  1. papers are really getting lame (or desperate).

    instead of touting the N-E-W-S value carried within its pages, you now see them touting “$200 in valuable coupons inside” printed right on the front page as your reason to buy the damn thing.


    what will they do as coupons move to the net?

  2. hey,

    on my 2 month mini-vacation to the island of molokai i ran into the publishers of both island rags.

    i stressed to them the idea of how easy it would be transition from a still camera and “pencil” to a cheap video cam. left running through an entire event the reporter could then rework the story for print AND online.

    naturally, they looked at me like i was nuts.

    but, i do take a little credit for the following-

    check out the molokai minute.

    yes, only in hawaii can a “minute” take nine.

    that’s the publisher Todd and his intern reporter Jennifer.

    Jennifer, ! and another reporter were at the island tree lighting ceremony back around xmas. one of the things i’ll never forget about that trip.

    if themolokaitimes is moving to video, what the heck is taking everyone else?

  3. I just finished watching this video created by IFC and now understand why the detractors rail against those who espouse the Solo VJ paradigm and web video/internet broadcasting.

    The video tells it like it is.

  4. BOTH methods of gathering news…. correction:

    ALL methods of gathering and telling visual news stories should be and will be used….. by newspapers…and TV stations.

    It’s called “Convergence” And the newspaper…that thinks it doesn’t need to incorporate the best practices of TV news… will fail.

    It would be foolish to throw out all that has been learned by television stations.

    The fact is…. and anyone can argue with me here…. television visual storytellers….using great lenses… have learned a great deal about the

    Content, Craft, Creativity, and Commitment needed to tell strong, visual stories. Those who have developed the skills and talents…. to create quality stories…. will have a place.

    Young VJs – the new breed – using smaller cameras and laptops…. telling longer form, more personal stories…. will also have a place. They can and will successful develop into better quality storytellers, telling stories with compelling content.

    But I think – and anyone can argue with me – that the best practices developed by a reporter or producer working with a photojournalist/videojournalist will never be illogical.

    It is very logical in some instances — because – and anyone can argue this point – Millions of viewers are accustomed to watching video news stories…. in the format developed by television news. For better, or for worse, its a fact that the “style” that television news crews are known for —- is familiar.

    For better or for worse… there are positives and negatives. Just because there are negatives, doesn’t mean the positives will become extinct.

    Television news reporters and videographers….can do two jobs at once. That is a positive. One can shoot while the other writes, or gets an interview. And vice versa. One can specialize in writing, the other in shooting and editing. These are positives.

    Certainly, the economics will factor in… and media outlets will need to weigh their scales to figure out the best balance. Certainly the pay scale of network news crews (what MR is talking about probably) is different than the cost of a local TV reporter and photographer.

    But the large companies….and newspapers…. I think….will – or should – incorporate BOTH and ALL methods of producing quality video journalism. Not just one way.

    I predict newspapers will eventually hire on air talent and produce newscasts….very similar to what you see on TV right now.

    When the internet and TV become one and the same…. then you will really start to see WHY “quality” television news videojournalism has value.

    Quality Content, Craft, Creativty and Commitment will stand out more. Newspapers, websites and TV stations over the web…will all strive to provide paying customers…with high quality in all the Four C’s. If they do not…. if they decide that there is only “one” way to shoot and edit and produce a news story…. they might find a niche, but someone can compete with them by doing a better job.

    That competition will exist. Just as it does in any industry. There is competition…and there are different levels of service.

    To predict that newspapers will not hire crews….and utilize the best practices that TV has developed…I think is foolish.

    The wise newspaper….would do the best job of telling news stories… however it needs to be done. Closing their eyes to what is being done…by television…. I think is foolish.

    Watching newspapers….move forward….. thinking they do not need to learn anything from the history of TV videojournalism…. is foolish, and arrogant.

    The newspaper that keeps their eyes wide open…learns from TV video journalists… and reporters, and producers….will probably better compete with TV stations on the web. Because TV stations who are going to the web…already have developed a number of concepts….that should not be thrown out the window.

  5. Speaking of “Convergence”

    The NPPA is putting on “2008 Convergence”
    in Louisville, KY the last weekend of May.

    If you can make it Michael, please give me a heads up…. I likely can have you on a panel.

  6. Umm Cliff you do realize eb just disagreed with most of what Michael is selling???

  7. pg – I don’t totally agree with Michael’s position, but I do believe his position is generally correct that there is more than the traditional way of shooting, editing and delivering video content. And I can disagree with what points I don’t see eye to eye with him on in a way that isn’t adolescently derogatory – unlike some of the other posters who are of the detractor persuasion.

    Some of you have made some sort of assumption that I and others who come here regularly bow down to Michael as the all knowing, all seeing.


    Michael is a fallible human being like the rest of us – something the rest of you would do well to remember when you post your comments deriding those who don’t see eye to eye with your positions.

  8. Pingback: Gannett Stations go Solo VJ | Solo Video Journalist

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