Writing is part of video, too

Andy Dickinson writes about training print journalists to write, shoot and edit better video. Amongst all the talk of lighting, framing and interviewing, writing still remains important. As print journalists get deeper into video, writing and story boarding will play a vital role in quality online video.

The stories came out, on average at between 3-400 words. The script, I told them, should be a minute – around 150 words. This caused horror. We were wasting 200 words.

We shouldn’t forget that words are a print journalist’s primary means of expression. We often lose sight of that in the accuracy, clarity and brevity driven ethos of the newsroom where the tight-writer is top of the class. We emphasise the concept of filling space, counting letters and words to make sure we don’t bust a headline. But the reality is that, if the information is there, space will be made for the longer piece.

In TV, even if the information is there, we still have finite amount of time, less on the web, and it isn’t likely to be 400 words worth. That makes script writing practice a vital issue. Not for the tone or the style, but to ease the pain of restricting the use of one of a print journalists most treasured tools.

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One thought on “Writing is part of video, too

  1. Thanks for the link.

    It will play a vital role. But it is as important that the reality of the medium filters down (and up). Print skills are not as transferable as everyone would like to think. If anything there is a lot that holds print people back.

    My point was that those of us the other side of the digital divide need to recognise that. But the print people, especially the management who are expecting results in this area, also need to recognise what a cultural change it is.

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