Newspapers to Video 3

All across the country, newspapers are racing to embrace video.

It makes sense. First newspapers go the web because it’s the best way for them to get their information into people’s homes.

Then, the web goes to video.

The job of a newspaper is not to print a paper. It’s to go out into the community, gather information and deliver it to people in a way that they can understand.

So when papers go to the web, and the web goes to video, it’s only natural that papers go to video. And when they go to video, it’s also only natural that they go to it as VJs. Not one paper across the country, of the hundreds that have taken on video as part of their daily drill, have hired crews. Not one.

This speaks volumes about the VJ approach.

No one in their right mind would engage the archaic, expensive and editorially destructive process of crew-driven video newsgathering. The realities of the technology and the marketplace are speaking very very loudly now.

Conventional cameramen who got into this business on the tail end of a dying career might be a tad upset by all this (just read my email!). They are wrong. They are in a fantastic position to take the lead in this revolution….if….

If they can get their heads out of their a***s and take an honest look at what is happening and embrace the future instead of fighting it. They already have most of the skill sets that newspapers and magazines are looking for. The ability to see and capture a story. They just have to be prepared to throw their reporters under a bus. Throw!

Then there is the issue of ‘quality’.

Here are a few pieces from the Star Ledger project – 4 weeks after training:


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20 responses to “Newspapers to Video 3

  1. a good picutre is worth a thousand words

  2. More feature stories that can run any time, any day.

    Not important, day-of news.

    Even your Star Ledger can’t produce more than three or four stories a day, at best.

    And those are, surprise, soft features like how to make ice cream in a plastic bag.

    Yes, be proud of that kind of hard hitting, informative news being produced by those VJs.

    Your post, again, is misleading.

    The fact is several newspapers HAVE hired experienced television photogs to work for them.

    Newspapers HAVE hired “crews” since those stories involve more than one person finding them, then producing them.

    Three or four stories a day?

    The majority of them features!

    Then what other video is available on the newspaper web sites is from services like AP or local television stations which partner with the local newspaper.

    Your claims are hollow and lack a very fundamental element.


    But to those who have followed your VJ claims, this is simply more of the same.

    What is lacking are real results that you can claim as a success.

    No crews at the Star Ledger but there you are, like some old time studio camera man with a big camera and a teleprompter giving cues.

    Like your VJ claims which are mearly rehashed one man band coverage, in existence for decades, so goes your claims of something different and better when the truth is you, yourself, don’t know any way but the old way to produce a newscasts. Whether its from a broadcast station or a dying newpaper news room.

    When you have a real success, then you can make your claims.

    Until then……

    Cliff will always be around to offer his unpaid, unemployed endorsement of a skill set and approach to news coverage that has yet to pay off for those running real business’s in the real world.

  3. Dear $
    That is why I love you guys, you are so deep in denial. This, by the way, is what allows me to charge such massive consulting fees – guys like you on the inside who just refuse to face the facts. You are great! Keep it up!

    A massive tidal wave, the likes of which you cannot even imagine is about to hit you, so get ready.

    First, your argument was ‘quality’ – well, that one clearly has gone out the window.

    Now, it’s ‘hard news’, (are you already surrendering features to the VJs – that’s like half your newscast and we haven’t even started yet). Well, honestly, how hard is it to point a camera at a fire. If you can’t answer that one, take a good,hard, cold look at the ‘hard news’ stories on your own newscast. Vo/SOTs with a a few exterior shots and police tape? A sound bite? VERY demanding work.

    And, as for numbers, when we are done, the Star Ledger will put 50 cameras on the streets every day. The LA Times, (get ready) more than 200. How many cameras are you putting on the street every day? 6? 8? 11? Forget it. It’s over.

    As for newspapers hiring crews, I don’t think so. I don’t see a whole lot of vans going around town with New York Times on the side, – unless they’re delivering papers. I don’t see a whole lot of ‘on air talent’ working for newspapers.



    The first step to recovery is facing the truth.

    And, by the way, time is running short for you. Top management at the networks have already got the idea down pretty well. Trust me, this is coming to you very very soon, and my guess is, that those who don’t get with the new agenda will be looking for a job.

  4. The truth is up there at the Star Ledger your people can’t produce more than three or four feature stories a day.

    That’s not a “massive tidal wave”.

    Thats a joke.

    No business, especially one claiming to cover news for the community, is going to survive doing that small amount of work and still stay in business.

    I have my truth every two weeks.

    A paycheck.

    Which is more than almost every one of your VJs can claim.

    When the time comes, broadcast or internet, I have no doubt I’ll still be employed, getting a regular paycheck.

    The only thing that is changing is the delivery system of the product. Not the product itself.

    Three or four eature stories a day, produced by those with limited skills, will not keep newspapers in business.

    Only real news coverage or real events which affect peoples lives.

    I’m not talking car wrecks and house fires as you would love to claim.

    I’m talking real issues covering government and the economy delivered in a timely manner to those willing to pay for it.

    Newspapers have run out of people like that simply due to their own inability to change with the times.

    No amount of money spent on a traveling teacher, who bounces from one place to the other running beginner classes in video production, is going to save them.

    You know that as well as anyone.

    It’s why you stay on the move instead of sticking around to make sure things work the way you claim they should.

    The last thing you ever want is to be there when reality finally arrives for all those print folks as they shut down the presses and lock the doors of their dying business.

  5. The reason I keep bouncing around is because I have so many clients and there are so few of ‘me’. But thank God, there are lots of you. As I said, management at the top level is already sold. The implementation is the hard part, and the more internal resistance there is, the more I can charge.

  6. …you are so deep in denial…

    …A massive tidal wave, the likes of which you cannot even imagine is about to hit you…


  7. Here’s a blogger that spells out very clearly what is ahead for newspaper folks.

    Newspapers big or small are all headed the same direction and VJs are not going to save them.

  8. Yes,
    sadly there is someone who should have gotten aboard the digital revolution earlier. Had the writer been among the revolutionary Mr. Fadley’s minions, my guess is he would still be working. When the NY Times laid off 100 journalists, the first time in its history, it touched neither the online nor the video.

  9. To make it easier for others to read his blog, here is the link.

  10. Dear $
    I think I have found the key to Braydon’s failure in the workplace. It is buried in his blog about 3 entires down:

    “And I had to wake up at 11 a.m. (this is obscenely early for a newsman such as myself) ”



  11. $ – as par for the course with your rantings, you’ve failed to give solid compelling evidence to support your position.

    Michael OTOH, has done so.

    …sadly there is someone who should have gotten aboard the digital revolution earlier. Had the writer been among the revolutionary Mr. Fadley’s minions, my guess is he would still be working. When the NY Times laid off 100 journalists, the first time in its history, it touched neither the online nor the video.

    Bottom line – adapt or perish.

  12. Two staff still photographers, who were in the process of learning “VJ”, were also among those laid off at the Miami Herald.

  13. They probably should have learned faster, and Braydon should have gotten up earlier. Journalism is not a nurturing business.

  14. I completely agree with your last post.

  15. Ain’t it the truth.

  16. $’s argument does not address what newspapers bring to the table that TV news can’t touch. That is the power of combining a print story with a video. I believe video storytelling works best on an emotional level. The print component adds context and layers of facts that you can’t always jam into a short form video. When you combine the two (making sure to give equal weight to both on the page) TV news pales in comparison.

  17. $’s argument does not address what newspapers bring to the table that TV news can’t touch. That is the power of combining a print story with a video…

    When you combine the two (making sure to give equal weight to both on the page) TV news pales in comparison.

    Colin, your assessment is spot on.

  18. Viewership.

    Do newspapers in any market, get more hits on their websites than the local TV station does?

    How about networks such as CBS – comparison web traffic between their news websites… and lets say the NYTimes?

    I have no idea, just asking. Because that is the ultimate deciding factor for jobs… where are the viewers going. Also, not so much now, but in the future.

    In the future…down the road… your television set will be combined with the internet, and viewers will really have choices. They can easily view a newspapers’ video production, just as easily as CBS news. At that point… a few things will matter. Trust. Quality. Content. And Programming.

    In my humble opinion, newspapers are going to need to learn how to package and program… also, how to not make a :30 second video last 3:30. There will be so many choices and so much content, that viewers will not want their time wasted. Programming, content, quality editing, and trustworthy journalism, will all matter.

    No matter how many people shoot, edit, write or produce a video. To the viewer… that does not matter. They simply watch videos. Interactivity will matter in the future as well. But individual video production still involves certain fundamental aspects. It doesn’t matter how many people work on it.

  19. According to, New York Times is 42nd ranked US website with over 16 million unique visitors per month. The Washington Post is 104. NBC is 159, Fox 426, CBS 431 and ABC 2,083. Of course all of the TV networks include entertainment as well as news. Many of them get hits from people trying to reach local affiliates. CNN is the top-ranked new-site at 21.

    A careful search of Quantcast will reveal that newspapers in almost every market get more hits than the local TV affiliates. Often massively more hits. The networks rank higher than all but the largest US newspapers, but they don’t provide local news or even local features.

    But it isn’t just viewers that matter, it is advertising. Some say it will follow the eyeballs, but current indications are that it will never follow them the way it did in the good old broadcast conglomerate days when newspapers and, to a lesser extent, tv stations had near monopolies in many communities.

    The big question right now is whether their will be enough dollars chasing those eyeballs to keep newspapers and local affiliates going concerns until the sea change ends. I am not convinced video will save newspapers. But sitting tight certainly won’t.

    Having covered fires and traffic acci’s for years as a newspaper reporter. I’m going to guess that if there is demand for those it won’t take a very astute video shooter to deliver them. The good ones will get the good stories. Others will shoot the easier stuff or find other jobs. Heck, if things don’t work out, most of us newspaper and TV folks will be looking for other employment. Time to make your bets and roll the dice.

  20. I agree that advertising dollars is the only way to keep a media business afloat. I made the assuption when I said “viewers” …. the link to advertising was implied.


    The new media landscape will look like a ticker tape parade. 😉

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