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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.

LUTV Blog Log Three

Overview

The LUTV Super Semester is still keeping me busy. There is a lot going on. Everyday offers a new challenge. That’s okay. I’d rather have it be busy than slow. There is certainly lots of learning happening on a day-to-day basis.

Producing

Producing days are long. I’ve learned a lot though. Getting in there early has really been great. I’ve isolated three key areas that every task in producing falls under.

1) Writing

Writing is a big deal. Newscasts live and die with the quality of writing the staff produces. Great video and graphics can only go so far. If there is great visual elements, but what is being spoken is confusing, than none of the visuals matter. Not only is the writing in the scripts important, but so is what appears on graphics. A grammar mistake or spelling error is one of the easiest ways to kill credibility.

2) Graphics 

Speaking of graphics, they’re important too. I want to increase the amount of visuals I have in any given newscast. The more there is for a viewer to look at the better. I have not had lots of OTS graphics in the newscasts I produce so far. In the future that is something that hopefully will be changing. Sometimes, it is difficult to find a graphic that we can make that is both legal and feasible to produce. I’m starting to get the feel for how we can better position ourselves though.

3) Video

A picture of the scorer's table at Lincoln University [Mo.]. I travelled there for KCLC radio and to take video for LUTV in late March.

A picture of the scorer’s table at Lincoln University [Mo.]. I travelled there for KCLC radio and to take video for LUTV in late March.

Producing is a constant hunt for video. If you don’t have it, you need it. If you think you have too much of it, you are crazy. Video makes everything look better, if it is good of course. I’d call video the Band-aid of the newscast. It covers the things you don’t want others to see. I’ve tried to push for as much video as possible every time I’ve produced. I’m not unhappy with the amount we’ve had recently. I just know there is always room, and need, for more. Everyone is always really great about going to get video which makes being the producer easier.

Reporting

I have done one package since the last time I filed a reporter blog. It was a fun one. I got to go out and cover a massive CPR course that was being held a few miles from Lindenwood. The organizers were really excited to have us there. That is never a determining factor in how or if we cover an event. It does however make working there a lot more enjoyable.

I have shot a couple VOSOTs as well since  the last time I filed one of these blogs. They are fun to shoot. I’m getting the hang of turning them around quicker too. However, framing an interview is sometimes troublesome when you are shooting by yourself. I just need to keep doing it and I will get a feel for it. I’m not displeased with the current result. It has been on-air presentable, but I’d like to tighten it up.

Johnny Andrews: Photography Is Only The Beginning

Here’s Johnny

Before spring break my Writing for the Converged Media class welcomed in a special guest to talk about multi-media journalism.

Johnny Andrews (@johnnyandrews74) has worked for several newspapers across the United States. Andrews is currently a photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While he has been a photographer at the Post for the better part of the last four years his duties have almost never been confined merely to taking pictures.

The change that has occurred in the field is being reflected in the job descriptions and requirements of those who take part in it. Andrews enlightened students to the art of learning on the job and adapting to new circumstances.

Still Photos

He showed us the camera he used to take still photographs for the assignments you have most likely seen in the Post-Dispatch. When he isn’t shooting stories for the paper he is staging photos for potential feature ideas. He showed off some of his favorites which are available for public viewing on his personal portfolio website.

A lot more work goes into each photo Johnny takes. It is more work than most people would assume. Johnny’s shots are really well composed. They all tell a story which does not need words to drive home its point. To adequately tell the story his vision demands Johnny has to tweak the arrangements of each photo he takes. He will spend up to a half hour rearranging the elements in the shot. The outcome is well worth it though. His shots are incredible.

Video

Johnny has not just been confined to still photos alone. He was very clear in stating the way to be successful as a journalist is to learn. This is especially true for those who work with photos and video. One type of media is really no good without the other. Johnny taught himself the finer points of using video to tell stories.

One of the most notable stories he used video to cover was actually born out of curiosity. Johnny stumbled upon a group of kids in inner city St. Louis, Mo. who were spending their summer learing all about playing in a symphony.

Andrews routinely covers features or news stories using video. These stories appear on the Post-Dispatch’s website where they are frequently some of the most viewed content.

Turning Up the Volume

Johnny also produces a series of music videos which highlight the talents of St. Louis area bands. He is a proponent of trying out different methods in his videos. He uses lots of different cameras from all different price ranges to get the shots he needs to make his videos what he desires.

The video above appeared on his multi-media music column, Listen. It features a group called the Volcanoes from Lindenwood University who recently signed with a record label.

Bands like this are the kind of groups Johnny typically works with.

What Johnny Taught Me

Creativity is non-negotiable. If you want to make it in the media field reporting stories is not enough. You must generate ideas for content. Many of the stories Johnny tells are not ones he was handed. They are stories he had to seek out and pitch to his editor. Many times he even chronicles stories for his own personal collection.

Creating quality work is essential even when you know it won’t be published. That is how you ensure the strength of your brand.

One Final Note

Johnny is really down to earth. He even has been willing to interact with members of our class on Twitter since we met him last week. For young journalists like us that is really appreciated.

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.