Howard Owens is a digital media pioneer. He started publishing local news online in 1995 when very few local news outlets had web sites. The header image on the site depicts the film camera he used early in his career and the press pass from his year on the staff of the Carlsbad Journal. For more on Howard's professional background, read his LinkedIn profile.
HowardOwens.com is the personal web site of Howard Owens and covers his range of interests -- political localism and libertarianism, music and personal interests, as well as his professional interests.
Howard is currently publisher of The Batavian and lives in Batavia, N.Y.
- Bob Netherton on Why I’m rooting for Vance Albitz
- seagazer101 on ‘Lede’ vs. ‘Lead’
- Pamela Lagahid on IFRA launches second vertical search engine for media
- kapiyo on My new Nikon F4
- bradleyplunk on Chris Tolles brings some stats to the anonymous vs. registration debate
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Daily Archives: March 17, 2007
What I find interesting here isn’t the interview, or Ilana, or the videos or even that it comes from AP. What’s important to note is that the idea did not originate in a news organizations newsroom. It began with somebody working on the business side.
In the era of personal journalism, of UGC/CitJ, there’s no reason not to look to other parts of our news organizations to help us find the best content. Continue reading
Good Lost Remote post for TV people. But here’s the important quote for all us concerned with online video:
Another trap: stations will put people â€œon cameraâ€? for web-only video when those people are absolutely not ready to be on camera. Sometimes, thatâ€™s charming. The wonderful thing about the web is that we donâ€™t demand perfection. We donâ€™t even want it. We like quirky. We like real. But there is a difference between â€œreal and quirkyâ€? and â€œbad delivery.â€? A person is either ready for an audience or theyâ€™re not. I find that some people who are uncomfortable doing web video are charming people who are smart about the web – but theyâ€™re trying too much to be like television people. Tell them to be themselves and that may help.
There’s been a few stories on the web recently about newspaper industry revenue, including online. This Phil Rosenthal piece sums up the situation best.
Here’s the math problem confronting newspapers:
If online advertising goes up 31.5 percent in 2006 while print advertising falls 1.7 percent, is it a good year?
The answer: Almost.
…. The $637 million increase from the Internet couldn’t offset the $797 million decrease on the print side, which left a $160 million shortfall in 2006.
This WaPo story on how presidential candidates are using YouTube is interesting for what it says about online video.
Several times a week, Kotecki, a self-described “political geek” turned YouTube celebrity, advises presidential candidates on their campaign videos — from his dorm room at Georgetown University. Equipped with a three-year-old laptop, a $60 Web camera and a $30 microphone — and a small, dusty desk lamp as a light source — the 21-year-old dishes out free, unsolicited suggestions (and the occasional compliment) to the candidates.
Kotecki has one recurring message to the candidates and their expensive media advisers: “The Web isn’t TV.” As in, Web viewers don’t expect to be spoken to, they expect to be spoken with. It’s a passive experience vs. an interactive one.
Other students of the genre have similar advice.
“Look at how the candidates are talking in their videos. With a few exceptions, they’re mostly looking sideways, not talking directly to the camera,” said Jeff Jarvis, who heads the interactive journalism program at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism and started PrezVid.com, a blog dedicated to watching the campaign through YouTube. “The important thing about this medium is it’s very human and intimate. A voter comes across and clicks on you. You should talk to that voter and look at him in the eye.”
Micah Sifry, co-founder of TechPresident.com, another blog that looks at how the candidates are campaigning on the Web, also makes a distinction between video online and ads on television. “There’s something fundamentally different about video online,” he said. “Viewers are looking for that rare, unscripted, revealing moment, to get a little sense of who these candidates really are.”
All of this goes right along with what I’ve said many times about the digital media being more personal. Content producers, whether they’re entertainers or news producers, should approach the medium as one-to-one communication, with a voice and a mindset that is direct, casual and has a sense of “I want to have a conversation with you.” That word “unscripted” is important.
Everybody loves OnBeing and most of it’s fans on the professional side talk glowingly about its production values (which are fantastic). But what makes it great isn’t the technology. What makes it compelling and engaging is the personal voice, the unscripted nature, the way it’s edited to enhance the spontaneous feel. The interactive navigation helps underscore the personal, interactive nature of the project. It isn’t just slick. It’s purposeful.
Web video isn’t about the equipment or even the storytelling (stories are great, but not the key point). What matters is the voice. Continue reading