A request for TV shooters

Chuck Fadely is asking people to submit examples of good newspaper video. It’s a noble task that so far has produced only a few examples. I submitted a couple of ideas via e-mail, but I didn’t submit any examples from the award-winning Bakersfield.com because I know Chuck would never accept those, even though there are some great examples of great news site video coming out of Bakersfield (and notice, I didn’t say just “newspaper video” — but news site video, because it’s the kind of video ALL news sites should be doing, whether newspaper, TV, radio or web only). And I didn’t submit any examples from the Ventura County Star, even though I know they produce video even Chuck would like, because their best video is too hard to find on the site. What I’m saying is, I did my part, are you doing yours? If not, submit examples to Chuck.The request from Chuck arose primarily because of comments by Lenslinger and others asking for examples of good newspaper video. It was a perfectly reasonable request. And it’s a great idea to extend a real dialogue, a dialogue we can all learn from, not just bicker.

But I think the knowledge exchange should go two ways, so here’s my request for the TV shooters: Where’s your examples of great online video? What have you done that we on the print-background side can learn from? I’m not talking about repurposed TV spots, but video shot specifically for the web with every bit of understanding that the web is different and demands a different voice, different pacing, different style?

I fully get that most TV shooters are outstanding at their craft. Nobody has ever disputed that. But the question I still have is, are they ready for the web?

Clearly, newspaper shooters have a lot to learn. Nobody disputes that. But I think newspaper video producers are getting a lot closer in spirit to getting the web than what I see from TV folks, which as far as I can tell is just repurposed TV video — even if it’s outtakes and extended quotes, it’s still TV video and not web video.

It’s March 12, 2007. What exists on the web right now that is an example of great web video shot by a TV shooter? I’d love to see it, as I’m sure many of my print-side colleagues would to see ti, because I’m sure we could learn from it.

I already know about Cyndy Green’s great piece on the cattle drive, so what else is there?

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18 thoughts on “A request for TV shooters

  1. Cyndy, I was so hopeful to see that link from you … but I just did a quick check of four videos, and they’re all repurposed TV content.

  2. Howard I forwarded your request to b-roll.net
    ( http://b-roll.net/forum/showthread.php?p=158284&posted=1#post158284 ), the on-line watering hole for TV news photogs. I encourage you to peruse (and register for) the message board if you’re truly interested in the TV photog perspective.

    As for web-only video, you indeed have the upper hand on us – as everything you produce is internet-only, where is our emphasis is still squarely on-air. I understand your call for web-only entries, but I don’t think the viewer-user-reader makes that same distinction. In fact, I don’t think he cares where it comes from at all. Perhaps someday we’ll all be platform-agnostic. While the mass of what I generate appears on-air first (TV pays the bills, dontchaknow

  3. Lenslinger, before posting this, I went through B-roll a little bit (maybe not enough) to see if I was missing anything.

    That said, here’s at least one fundamental difference in our views: To me, online is radically different from packaged goods media (whether TV or newspaper). See the post I did later tonight for more on that, or my posts on personal journalism. I am firmly convinced that online audiences do have substantially different expectations. I would even argue that the online viewer who might also be your 11 p.m. TV viewer has profoundly different expectations from online and what you produce for broadcasts. In other words, the same individual has different expectations from TV to online. But more than that, online is made of a lot of people (like me) who watch very little TV … we consume online for its own virtues.

  4. To me, online is radically different from packaged goods media (whether TV or newspaper). See the post I did later tonight for more on that, or my posts on personal journalism. I am firmly convinced that online audiences do have substantially different expectations. I would even argue that the online viewer who might also be your 11 p.m. TV viewer has profoundly different expectations from online and what you produce for broadcasts. In other words, the same individual has different expectations from TV to online. But more than that, online is made of a lot of people (like me) who watch very little TV … we consume online for its own virtues.

    Trust me, I know all about the virtues of on-line consumption. Just ask my wife. As for TV watching I admittedly do very little of it myself, preferring instead to poke around the web for news and video. When I find the video, it matters not to me where else it may have appeared – as long as its clear and holds my attention.

    Surely local TV can put more emhpasis on web-only video. I’m not arguing that. Right now, however on-air ads pay the bill (quite nicely I might add) and we have tons of broadcast specific equipment to generate our broadcast product with. Internet video is soemthign everyone I know is interested in, but it certainly comes secondary to our many newscasts. For now.

    All of which I state in hopes of clarifying my position. I do not question the rise or value of newspaper video. Nor do I plan to radically alter my own methods in hopes of replicating it. Much is being discussed on how TV shooters might get into web-video. I’m not really sure any of us want to. Sure we like seeing our stories and attending synergy on our station websites. But we got in the business to make Television (with a capital T). New delivery methods are all very good, but not many shooters you meet will opt for the stripped-down production methods newspapers naturally have adopted. Why would we want to – when we have access to a station’s gear, reach, access and multiple delivery-methods? I’m not saying web-video won’t eventually change the core of what we do – but right now we’re satisfying our viewers while slowly extending their logo-loyalty to our website. Why on Earth should newspaper video folk take such umbrage at our current lack of desperation? I know I’ve ruffled some feathers with my views (how dare a knuckle-gragging TV cameraman know how to conjugate verbs?), but my opinion is shared by many in my business – as is my bewilderment at soem of the shrill and pompous chest-beating from the legions of the print-folk. Do the may newspaper folk I know locally feel the same way? They sure don’t act like it when we shoot the shit by the crime tape.

  5. Nice, thoughtful comment, Lens …

    You know, I used to have much the same argument, against the same attitudes, with print people four or five years ago or so. That rarely happens anymore.

    As I’ve said before, you really should read Innovator’s Dilemma.

    BTW: Does your employer’s TV station really have greater reach than the Greensboro paper’s web site? I know in Bakersfield, even with the crappy site that was in place when I got there, we beat all three TV stations in local reach. It was the #2 media in town without even trying.

    When I was looking for a job, I interviewed with a TV station, and while the general manager was desperate to figure out the web, he didn’t want to spend any money to make up for lost ground. I think there is a profound amount of desperation on the TV side. I hear that from consultants I know. TV is much more threatened by media changes than newspapers.

    As for me, I’ve worked along side many TV people in my news gathering days. I respected them all individually. But that didn’t change my attitudes about TV news. I don’t say that to get under your skin in anyway, just to say … old print attitudes toward TV die hard.

    One thing I’ve had reinforced about TV news in my conversations with you is that there are a lot of talented, dedicated, hard working people in TV news; it’s just too bad that is so rarely reflected in what is actually broadcast. I totally appreciate how dedicated you are to your craft, and given how well you handle words, I’m sure you are a very creative person, which probably means you’re a great videographer (truly talented creative people tend to be good in other media as well), and maybe the quality of your TV station is different … but I spent too many years suffering though Los Angeles TV news to take it too seriously any longer. My attitude toward TV wasn’t great, but not nearly as negative, before I left San Diego for the LA market.

    BTW: I don’t feel desperate about newspapers or newspaper journalism at all. I think that online is the greatest thing to happen to journalism since movable type. I love it. I see lots of great revenue models emerging. There’s a lot of great stuff that separately newspaper sites are doing … it’s all coming together. I’m not desperate at all. Quite optimistic, in fact.

    I repeatedly prod my colleagues to do better, but we’ll get there. It’ll be fine.

  6. Admittedly, I don’t have access to my emplyers website traffic as comapred to the Greensboro News and Record’s, but since we also cover m-a-n-y other citirs an counties than fair Greensboro, I feel pretty good about our comparative reach and penetration. That said, I’m sure the News and Recrds beats us when it comes to city commissioner mood change amber alerts.

    TV much more threatened by media changes than newspapers? Not from where I sit. As part of our network’s ownd and operated station group, our web strategy is admittedly decided from afar but we are making inroads – withOUT the unholy spasms exhibited my so many of our print cohorts. Perhaps your headstart will truly put you in first place, but I can look your website square in the screen and tell you that I and my friends are not the least bit worried about our jobs, sphere of influence or market-share. New innovations are ceertainly needed, but desperate we ain’t.

    Of course print folk look down on us broadcasters. They see us (often with good reason) as vapid talking hair-dos, peddling hype, innuendo and half-truths – much like we rightly view newspaper folk as self-impressed hypocrites who still lean into their TV screens enraptured far more foten than they’d ever admit. Old opinions die hard certainly, but it’s unfortunate the technological upheaval we’re now experiencing is further polarizing the two camps – when all this wonderful new gadgetry is pushing our two disciplines closer and closer together. Will Print Folk ever lower themselves to work with (gasp!) TV people? You know – a few years from now when television sets, radios and newspaper subscriptions are replaced by a ubiquitous glowing screen that offers the best of each ex-platform. I will – in fact I could already be toiling for at least one local paper – had I chosen to trade in my heavy lens for downsized gear, less pay and a laughably stuffy atmosphere. No Thanks.

    And judging all local news by L.A. standards? It’s like defining the very cheeseburger concept by what youy’ll find in McDonald’s grease-soaked bags. Poke around and you’ll find that often the best local television in produced in medium markets where individual crews have far more control over their work than the run and gun ckiche factory that is L.A., New York and many other cookie-cutter large markets. Would you have me judge your newspaper’s efforts by that dreck I don’t read in the National Enquirer? I’m guessing not.

    Not that what I produce is that much different from what you’ll find in other medium markets. I don’t expect to win any converts, but here is a grab-bag of my work now available on-line, cobbled together at random:

    A down and dirty, day-of piece I produced solo a few weeks back. Nothing extraordinary, just the average fare:

    Everyone loves pedophiles! Especially reporter-types looking for salacious series material:

    Then there was the other day, in which twenty minutes at a elementary cafegymnatorium resulted in a nice little edumacation feature

    Plenty more where that came from, but this cameraman needs his beauty sleep.

    EDIT: I fixed the HTML of the links.

  7. Lens, I loved the piece on the Valentines. Great composition.

    On the pedophile piece, I’m impressed how respectful and non-sensationalistic the coverage was … not something, frankly, I’m used to from TV news. An LA station would have found a way to use this story as a way to scare people.

  8. I hope that my friend the Lenslinger is not talking about us at the News & Record when he speaks of print folk looking down on the TV types. Maybe once upon a time, but now we’re looking to you guys to learn. You know I’m a fan, Lens.

    We, at the N&R, have been slow to leap into the video fray because we’ve been trying to figure out where and how to make our play. Done a little experimentation here and there, but mostly spent the time studying and watching. I don’t see us as competitors with broadcast over video, but I do see niches where we can do what we do best.

    And what’s wrong with reporting the “city commissioner mood change amber alerts?”

  9. True enough, John – I’ve felt nothin’ but love from your staff. It’s the far-off punditry that’s put a spur in my saddle. As you know, I’m a sucker for good storytelling, format be damned – but the backpatting over six shaky wide shots was more than I could quietly absorb. A shame really, since even a cursory glance of the web uncovers some fairly compelling content. All I request is a little less chest-thumping, a funny thing to hear a TV guy call for…

    As for the county commissioner amber alerts, you work in some kind of mood-ring giveaway into the Sunday edition and you got gold, Jerry! GOLD!

  10. […] Sunday, April 8th, 2007 in Musings I’m just your ordinary meat and potatos videojournalist. I love my craft and I know how to tell a story. But Howard Owens was wondering a while back why none of the the great broadcast videojournalists aren’t posting on the web. Easily answered: they can’t. Broadcast companies are very protective of their property – especially their video. […]

  11. I don’t think you can claim that newspapers are a lot closer in spirit as a blanket truism. Part of the problem is we are still finding out what the internet can do. When I worked for C5 in the UK in the 90’s as well as shoot for our stories we had to shoot a slow 360 so the web guys could stitch it together and people at home could view it on the net and feel like they were at an event. It was going to be the next “big thing” and we all know how popular that has turned out to be. I think that too many people are trying to force their own vision of what they think the future will be and the world doesn’t work like that. The web heads will make up their own minds and no fake buzz will change that.

  12. I don’t think I’m predicting the future. I think I’m saying this is what it is today. It’s really very obvious what it is today (if you pay attention), and it’s quite obvious that the average good newspaper video is a lot closer than standard TV news fair. Nothing fake about that.

    I’m not trying to force one single thing. I’m going what the evidence says to go.

  13. No what you are doing is setting out your own definition of what is a good internet video story in such a way that excludes the bulk of TV work. If a TV story has to have been shot specifically for the purpose of being on the web and not just repackaged then you are setting unrealistic limitations on the internet as a media. Should newspaper story’s not count if the story also ran as print in the paper? If you want to learn what good video is you should be looking to the best around no matter what format it is delivered on.
    The one thing to keep in mind when shooting for the internet is keep moves to a minimum. Other than that everything that makes a good story on TV works for the net

  14. What I’m doing it taken my more than a decade of experience in web publishing and applying what I’ve learned and observed to make a very rational obsertvation about what’s going on. If you don’t see it too, I can’t help you. But it’s true.

    “Should newspaper story’s not count if the story also ran as print in the paper?”


    Voice matters in writing and video. What makes good print does not necessary make good web. What makes good TV rarely makes good web.

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