A Newspaper Leads the Way in Video

Newark – focal point for a revolution in video

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country. It is also the second wealthiest state in the country.

Strange then, that such a rich and powerful state should be so lacking in its own television power.

But it is.

New Jersey has always suffered from its location. Benjamin Franklin called it a keg tapped at two ends. In the north, New York, the number 1 media market in the country dominates. To the south, it is Philadelphia, the number 5 market.

Rich in income, rich in stories and rich in population, New Jersey has never really developed her own media base.

But now, as newspapers gravitate toward video and the web makes mass video distribution possible, The Newark Star Ledger, the 15th largest newspaper in the country, is poised to become the focal point of a revolution in digital media, and a beacon and model to newspapers around the world struggling to find their identity in this new digital age.

We have signed a deal with The Newark Star Ledger to shepherd them into this new age of online video. We will be transforming their print reporters and photographers into digital journalists; and we will be building an online video reporting component that we believe will rapidly fill the video/television vacuum that has been New Jersey’s fate for more than 50 years.

This is a long term project, but I am going to be reporting its progress here as it happens. There is an extraordinary opportunity to build something new, bold, powerful and profitable here. And that is what we are going to do.

We have just completed our first round of video ‘tests’ – a process in which we give staff members a small, inexpensive video camera and ask them to ‘tell us a story’ with the camera. No editing. No writing. 3 minutes.

The results have been fascinating.

You can teach someone to shoot and edit video fairly quickly. What you can’t do quickly is reproduce a lifetime of journalism and reporting experience, either in print or as a photojournalist. But you can harness it to a new medium. There’s talent here by the bucket full. And those buckets of talent are going to go a long way to filling the media keg that Franklin described a long time ago.

2 responses to “A Newspaper Leads the Way in Video

  1. fantastic news – newspapers can save themselves from bankruptcy without firing anyone or making any major investment in training or equipment.

    Let the rejoicing commence!

  2. I have read much here about how national and local affiliate TV news are in deep trouble. I have also read a lot about how newspapers, especially large regionals like The Star-ledger, are in deep trouble. Help me understand: if one financially troubled enterprise morphs into another financially troubled enterprise, how does that help it escape its financial troubles?

    BTW, I thought I read here before that The Star-Ledger already did video. I believe that blog item noted that they can be found at http://www.nj.com/multimedia/

    Granted, that video is buried. But that is a packaging/presentation issue. Bottom line, they appear to already have digital journalists and are still struggling. Is the secret to success just doing more video?

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