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Industry Issues Blog Number Four

The Setup

Video is now a center piece of journalism. It has become what written stories were before the 1950s: the king of mainstream media. Any respectable news outlet includes media on its website. Multi-media, specifically video, is not an option any longer. It is a requirement.

The use of video opens up a wide variety of options and issues for the modern journalist. Two articles recently released by journalism websites, NewsLab and Advancing the Story , explain the pitfalls and advantages of video use.

Using Video Online

Using video on the Internet can greatly enhance a media outlet’s ability to hyper-customize its viewers. An article that recently was published on NewsLab details how NBC is doing this with some of its online pages. It is custom making videos just for the web. Some outlets have been placing content online which they originally put out over the air. In fact, this is a common place practice. However, making web-original content is something that is fairly new.

The benefits to this is that it gives companies something to tease on their over the air broadcast and vice versa. They can use special online content to direct viewers to their main programming.

Fair Use?

One site that has been home to original content for years is YouTube. After major events take place video often goes up on YouTube. This happened after the Boston Marathon bombings.

The ethical questions about using video off the Internet is examined in a recent Advancing the Story article. Many news outlets will take video off the Internet to use in their nightly newscast if they are not able to get their own video.

As mentioned above, this happened in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. News stations across the country obviously were not in Boston and did not know that the event would be occurring. Most of the footage immediately available came from cellphone footage which was uploaded from the scene. News stations everywhere were pulling it off the web and putting it into their news rundowns.

The Issue

YouTube technically owns a stake in the content that is uploaded by its users. The users also sometimes claim rights in lawsuits.

The issue with a news station taking down footage off the net is that they don’t own it. This is a issue when lawsuits come into play. Since the stations do not own it they cannot claim that it is there. At the same time, those who upload the content have relinquished some of their privileges as the original shooter. This conundrum is an issue.

Conclusion

Video has changed the landscape of modern journalism. It has forever altered not only the over the air part of the industry, but also the online component. That aspect of the industry is growing and video use is growing right along with it.

Video is enhancing websites and causing issues for news stations who pull video off the Internet to use on the air. Often they can get away with it, but not always.

Video is an asset that can make or break a journalist.

Media in Journalism

Separate But Equal

Media and journalism are synonymous aren’t they? You can’t have one without the other. Media is the various tools used to tell a story. Journalism is the art of constructing a story. Together the two are part of an elaborate dance that takes place on an hourly basis within our modern lives. Journalism is the creative side of story telling. Media is the technical component. Together the two create a story.

The Moving Picture

From a consumer standpoint, video is arguably the most popular storytelling tool modern journalist have. It also is a fickle medium. Video can quite literally show things audio and text cannot. However, it is painfully easy to tell the difference between a novice’s work and that of a professional. Video is very unforgiving.

A big reason it is so easy to mess up video is because the appetite of the modern viewer demands stories not only look good, but also be put together quickly. In “Telling great video stories, fast,” by Debora Wegner, of Advancing the Story, gives some helpful hints on how to put together a solid story.

Know What You Need

She says the most important thing to do is know what you are covering. The composition of your footage can be great, but it will mean nothing if you story lacks organization. In Super Semester classes, and in the textbook, the importance of planning out a story beforehand is preached. If you know what shots you need before you shoot you’ll have less of a headache when you sit down to edit.

Having a shot list or storyboard is a good way to ensure that you don’t forget to get everything you need while on a shoot. As a journalist becomes seasoned they won’t always need to write down the shots they need. Often veterans will keep mental notes, but for the inexperienced a hardcopy is usually a good idea.

The only way to truly focus strictly on storytelling is for the technical aspects of shooting to become completely second nature. The quickest way to accomplish this is to critique one’s own work. It is sometimes tough to do, but the benefits can be well worth it.

A Step Further

If some is good, more is better, right? Yes, at least when we are talking about media platforms it is. Video may be the current king of the media hill, but that doesn’t mean everything else is irrelevant. We do lots of combining of media in today’s world. In fact, you don’t even have to leave this site to find two mediums paired together.

The New York Times recently released a multimedia project which took approximately six months to create. The beauty of storytelling on platforms such as this is not only glorified in the Super Semester. It is also analyzed in “Snow Fall and the future of multimedia storytelling” by Deborah Potter from Advancing the Story.

Using more than one type of media when telling a story adds depth. The more ways you can present something, the more likely it is that your audience will gain a holistic understanding of your subject matter. The more options the better. However, it is possible the time it takes to put together a multimedia piece can take to long. If that is the case it is better to do less. Stunning work is negated by lack of timeliness.

Transmedia Journalism

A Changing Market

The world is changing and so is journalism. A lot more is require of news gatherers today than it was even 15 years ago. The consumer now expects not only to be given the necessary information, but to have it tailored to his or her specific likes. Multiple stories can now be expressed through multiple platforms. This process is defined as transmedia.

Journalist must be concerned with this concept, a cousin of multimedia, because it is shaping the job expectations of young journalists.

Five Keys to Transmedia

MediaShift by PBS recently put together an article outlining the best ways to succeed in creating transmedia content. They break down affective transmedia usage into five categories which are outlined below.

Be Different

The first is keeping content unique. Today’s market calls for fresh content. It cannot just be new though. It must also be creatively presented. It has to be better than similar stories. Several media outlets within a single market may all cover similar news stories on a given day. If one particular outlet finds different and inventive ways to package those stories they are more likely to keep the attention of the consumer.

Learning to turn out unique content is not anything new. Modern technology has simply given today’s creators more options for giving viewers, listeners, and readers something new to take in. This has made journalists’ jobs easier in the sense that they have so many more options for telling stories and grabbing the audience’s attention. At the same time a journalists’ jobs are made harder, because of this. The expectation is now hyper-customized coverage.

Easy Usage

Unique content is great, but if it is hard to use it does no good. A consumer will have little patience, or interest, if they cannot easily operate and process what is being presented. The MediaShift article says a good “point of entry” is necessary. The beginning should be easy to identify and access. Once that has been done, moving through the story should also be a simple task.

Don’t Go Solo

Modern journalists must be proficient in many tasks, and presenting various stories using diverse platforms, but collaboration is a staple of transmedia journalism as well. Having two or more people who are capable of recording stories on several platforms can make for powerful coverage. Collaboration is good and can lead to projects that are a richer experience for the consumer.

Cheap Price Doesn’t Mean Cheap Content

Transmedia can incorporate more expensive traditional forms of media. However it can use free platforms to tell stories too. For example, social media is free, and can be used to tell a story in a way that is interesting.

Remember What Counts

The story is always most important. If a specific  format doesn’t work for a particular story then don’t force it. Whatever a journalist produces needs to be organic. There is a right and a wrong way to present information. It is important that the method of storytelling not outshine the story itself.

New Methods, New Tools

Transmedia can be simple. Even something short can help tell as story. For example, MediaBistro.com ran a short article this week on the uses of Vine, Twitter’s new video app. Vine features six second videos cobbled together to tell a larger story. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, Vine is the perfect example of a new creation that can be used in transmedia journalism. It frames stories in new ways that audiences haven’t seen before. It, and countless other tools, are shaping the way the news is reported and consumed.

Sports journalism: An Oxymoron?

Tears poured down Brett Favre’s face. His 15 plus year career with the Green Bay Packers was finished. With a Super Bowl and years of Lambeau leaps behind him he was positioned perfectly to ride off into the sunset.

Then it happened. In front of a packed Lambeau Field press room he uttered the words that would change his legacy forever.

“As they say, all good things must come to an end,” Favre said.

In the moment, it seemed a fitting end to a majestic career. It became a punch line, and the ensuing coverage caused many to question the merit of sports journalism.

Sports journalism is a term used to describe the industry that covers sports in a non-biased manner. Satuaration of coverage in certain situations leads some to believe the term sports journalism is oxymoronic.

Not only did Favre play again after retiring, but he didn’t miss a season. A few months later he reported to training camp. He was still wearing green, New York Jet green.

His public debate about endinging his short retirement played out daily on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” North America watched as reporters staked out Favre’s Mississippi residence, and speculated his career status at the top of each hour.

A similar routine was repeated the following off-season. A premature retirement was followed by Adam Schefter and the “NFL Live” crew discussing Favre’s best option should he return. Meanwhile, viewers were treated to arial shots of Favre’s SUV.

After the 2010-’11 season, Favre retired for good as a Minnesota Viking.

ESPN’s relentless coverage of the Favre saga started a lot of conversations among sports fan. Most of them were negative, and not all of them were about Favre. It was frequently the work of the people covering him that was brought into question. The coverage, most fans agreed, seemed more like reality television than journalism.

Critics claimed serious journalists would not have given the Favre story as much coverage as it received. For a few months “SportsCenter” began to resemble “TMZ.” A MLB pennant race and NFL training camps were lost two straight summers as ESPN devoted every spare second to Favre coverage.

Situations like the Favre coverage are the primary reason skeptics say that sports coverage is not real news, but in fairness, network news stations are known to ride the ratings wave when it suits them.

Admittedly, sports journalism falls short at times. It inflates stories it should not. Journalist are people. They make mistakes.

People say sports journalism has to chase down the Favres of the world to get a story. That is not a fair assesment. Sports journalism frequently is more light-hearted than hard news, but at times sports become hard news.

The winter of 1980 was one of those times. As the Cold War simmered, the Lake Placid [N.Y.] Winter Olympics took on a significance beyond athletics.

A group of college aged Americans beat the U.S.S.R., one of the greatest hockey teams ever assembled. Worldwide people took notice. America made a statement not only about hockey, but political ideologies. It was a victory for capitalism and freedom, and there was not a thing about its importance that was sensationalized. Hockey played a real role in real life diplomacy.

The argument can be made that Lake Placid is only looked upon as a great moral victory because the U.S. won. That is a fair statement. If the Soviets had won, no one in North America would have been dismayed. Americans still would have considered western culture superior. Deep down inside, defeat would have undoubtably hurt though.

If the 1980 Olympics was misrepresented by journalists surely Magic Johnson’s story wasn’t. At one time, the world considered him a dead man walking.

Journalists chronicled his battle against HIV. Magic’s story proved being HIV positive wasn’t a death sentence, and the world was inspired to redefine the way it viewed people with HIV and AIDS.

Is sports journalism an oxymoron? The answer is no, at least, no more than a crime beat is. Sports coverage can turn into reality TV. That is the truth, but so can hard news. Any event can turn into reality TV. It is a reality world. When CNN reporters start showing up outside the homes of suspected killers the template is the same as ESPN’s Favre coverage.

Sports journalism is real journalism, practiced by real people. People mess up. They can can make poor decisions and sacrifice integrity for readers and viewers.

The process isn’t perfect, but the good news is there is a process. It brings us news, be it sports, politics or crime.

Review: @Koci — “Attack of the Interns, Students and One Day to Document the World!”

Courtesy of fensterbme's photo stream via Flikr.com.

-The title of this post caught my eye. As a young person, I saw the word intern and quickly identified that.

-Often interns and students are not expected to do serious reporting. The fact that their work is the inspiration for this article is really unique.

-This is an inspiring piece because it shows that everyone can make a difference. Youth does not have to be a disadvantage.

-There are a lot of new ideas and approaches being presented in the projects represented in this post. Seeing people come up with a new approach is inspiring because it makes you believe that you are capable of doing the same thing.

-The content on the videos embedded in this post and the sites the post links to is moving. There really are no sufficient words when thinking about humanity as a whole and the role journalists get to play in shaping and documenting it.

-Students need to care about this piece because this piece is about them. Young people need to understand that in today’s world the resources to produce great looking work are available to everyone. The days where you had to work at a network television station to access good technology are over. It is time for students to take advantage of the time period they live in.

-This post teaches that there is always something to be covered. In a world that is home to more than six billion people there is always some kind of story accessible to you. You may have need to gain an understand of where to look for it, but there is always a story around.

-This post teaches a lot about becoming a content creator. One of the biggest points it illustrates is that people need to be ready to report at all times. Stories are constantly unfolding around us so we always need to be ready to document them.

-There is no such thing as to big of a story. What a single person can cover is only limited by his or her ambitions. While the way in which a story is covered may have to be adjusted depending on the people and resources available no story should ever go uncovered because a perception exist that it is to big for a small group or individual to handle.

Seattle 911—A Great Beat Blog

Seattle 911 is considered a beat blog, because it focuses on a very specific niche. Inthis case that niche is crime in the city of Seattle, Washington.

Photo Courtesy of the Seattle Photography Collection via Flikr.com.

-This blog has created community around the content it posts. People share the stories that go up on the blog via Twitter and Facebook. There is also commenting that occurs on each story using Facebook.

– Something this blog does well that student journalists and media creators can take away from viewing it is that they tie social media into every post. The option to share content is embedded in every post. They make it easy for people to spread their posts.

– Seattle 911 does a good job of localizing content. Their posts include maps to showSeattle residents where crimes occurs.

– Another thing the blog does well is that it streamlines information. It is not an extremely flashy looking blog but it makes content easy to digest. Something the blog needs to do differently is that it should not allow any of its advertisements to expand to a full screen view when people first get to the site.

– This blog is changing the game by putting slide share style photo albums in their posts.

– They use lots of visuals in their post as well as text which makes posts easier to read.

-This blog has security camera video from crimes. This is interesting to watch.

How the Internet is Changing Media

Did We Witness History This Week?

Amazon and Viacom made a big splash this week when it was leaked that they have agreed in principle to a deal that will make them one of the biggest competitors to online video provider Netflix.

This deal which is intended to help Amazon bolster its Kindle Fire, and Amazon Prime content offerings is, yet another sign that Americans are perfectly happy to use the internet for the majority of their entertainment, and information needs.

It might only be a matter of time before kids are asking, “What are DVD’s?”

Television and video as we know them may soon be a thing of the past. Photo credit: Library of Virginia

Logging on Instead of Tuning In

The way information is being shared on the internet is changing. Media, and the jobs that accompany it, are undergoing a paradigm shift. Everything is moving online. This week’s activity by Amazon, and Viacom show that the industry is taking gigantic steps toward becoming internet dominated. In all honesty, it could be considered internet dominated already.

As much as the world’s older generations might like a hardcopy of the Sunday post, and renting a DVD from a video store those days numbered. Before long you might not pick up your remote to flip on NBC Nightly News. You may be left clicking instead.

If you followed the link in the previous paragraph you know that NBC actually has already made the jump. How long until the only place to get the news is the internet remains to be seen. TV, and the world-wide web remain partners for the time being. I for one am not so sure they can coexist in their present forms for much longer.

“Many of our viewers tell me they often miss the broadcast because they’re not home in time or tending to their busy lives, and families,” Brian Williams, Nightly News anchor told MSNBC.com, “This new service reflects the fact that the pace of our lives has changed.  For all the loyal viewers who have made us the most-watched newscast in America, there are others who want to watch, but can’t.  Now they’ll be able to join us every night, when it’s convenient for them.”

If You Don’t Hear Anything Else, Hear This

Here is the take away: we used to have to look to multiple sources in order to get them information we wanted on one subject. That is no longer the case. Journalists no longer hold all the cards. In fact, in some instances the consumer has just as much access to the content they want as the producer. For journalism, and communication students the lesson is that you have to learn to use all the resources available to you. Failing to understand the way information travels will either get you scooped, prove you wrong, or you will see the consumer get what they want quicker from somewhere else.

The internet is now the key to information sharing. A long time ago journalists were the gate keepers. Now the internet is the gatekeeper. Don’t like it? Too bad. It appears it won’t be changing anytime soon, if ever.

The Bright Side

The game has been changing for a while, and now that Viacom and Amazon have proved big money has bought in to the internet frontier it appears there is no going back. The good news is that if you want a piece of the action it is easier to get than ever before. It still isn’t easy to get, but it is easier to become a player in the world of media than it was even five years ago. If you start playing the game now who knows where you could be in a decade.

Today’s Developments Are Amazing, Don’t Complain.

Learn to enjoy the changes going on in the world of technology, because they are happening no matter if you like it or not.