Writing for the Converged Media — Content Review Two
The second half of this semester in Writing for the Converged Media has demanded I think about how content is presented in the twenty-first century. The most important thing to know about the newest ways of presenting information is that once you learn them they may be irrelevant. The lesson is that you cannot settle for keeping up with the pace. You must set the pace. Story telling has changed drastically even over the last year.
Johnny Knows Best
This was illustrated when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Johnny Andrews (@johnnyandtews74) came to visit our class. He stressed that a non-versitile journalist is not a journalist long at all. Johnny has adapted his talent to fit the changing coverage demanded by the Post-Dispatch.
Once a reader sees something they like they will not want to regress in the area of technology. At the very least they will demand options. They might not dislike still photos, but you better have some video too. If you don’t someone else probably does, in which case, you are in trouble.
Johnny utilizes every tool available to him. He does not just cover events he immerses people in them. That is the key to good coverage. Hit every possible angle. If you have told a story one way why not take a different approach next time.
Being First Helps
Satisfying people’s need for immediate news is key. If you can inform the world about something before anyone else you gain major credibility.
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) April 12, 2012
Having to get involved in an article or newscast can be a real turnoff to some consumers. When they can get the initial news quickly it helps them decide if they want to get involved further.
Being mobile is important. If you can get somewhere and produce content as quickly as possible you will be giving yourself a huge leg up on the competiton. Part of this lifestyle is being curious. Johnny was clear that curiosity may have killed the cat, but it can make a journalist. A willingness to investigate can really push a career to the next level.
Pictures are key to good coverage. These last few weeks I have learned that you can really tell an entire story with a photo. Staged or candid, comical or serious, a photo is a self contained way to say everything without saying anything. If you don’t believe me talk a look sometime.
While professional photography is usually the best option to make sure that every aspect of an event is documented more and more it is simple cameras that are telling the story. The photo to the right was taken by Johnny Andrews at a concert at the Firebird (@firebirdstl). He may be a professional photographer, but he took this photo using his iPhone.
Smart phones have made it easy to upload and share visual images from live events. They are changing the way journalism is practiced.
Video is arguably the most important form of media we learned about over the last few weeks.
We learned that varying shots can make holding the audience’s attention a lot easier. This was not necessarily a new idea, but I did learn some new ways to execute this concept.
Tight shots that focus on the hands are good for putting together videos. I’ve always liked sequences that include these kind of shots, but it was nice to hear the methodology behind them.
Something that I learned about internet video is that it does not have to be professional grade to be acceptable. What airs on the six o’clock news and what goes up on a pro-am journalism blog can both be examples of solid reporting even if the video quality is significantly different. Equipment impacts outcome and that is okay. Use what you have to do what you can. You can do a lot with relatively basic tools.
I also learned that video can tell a story without using a narrator. In fact, it could be said that in some situations stories with out a narrator are more credible. Again, this style is different than traditional journalism, but that does not make it any less valid.