Maybe we’ll see each other in Lowell

If you’re in New England, I invite you to attend the New England New Media Associate fall conference.

NENMA gathering are always good events — neat people to meet and talk with.

I want you to come Oct. 30 if you’re in the area so you can hear my keynote presentation on “Reinventing Journalism.”

Last year, the keynote was delivered by Steve Yelvington. The year before, by Rob Curley. So I’m honored to be in such good company as a keynote. I hope I can live up to the standards they set.

Also, if you happen to be in Albany on Nov. 13, you can catch me on a panel for the Women’s Press Club of New York State on ethics in social media.  The panel is at 7 p.m. at The College of Saint Rose.

Speaking at SPJ convention on reinventing journalism

I’ll be attending two journalism conventions over the next couple of months to talk about digital-age journalism.

On August 8, I’ll be on the luncheon panel at the AEJMC convention in Chicago. The topic is Networked Journalism: The Changing Face of News. Also on the panel, Kate Marymont, a Gannett VP, and Dan Barkin, online editor for the News & Observer in Charlotte.

On Sept. 6, I’ll be in Atlanta for the national SPJ Convention.  It’ll be the first time I attended one of these since 1996, when I was president of the San Diego Chapter.  We’ll be reprising the AEJMC panel, and I’ll also  do an hour-long presentation on “Reinventing Journalism.”

Video strategy session webcast live at 6 p.m.

I always figured some day I would get a chance to make history. It looks like it’s happening tonight.  For the first time ever, the NPPA Northern Short Course is going to webcast a session live.

It starts at 6 p.m. EDT.  It’s me and Chuck Fadely talking about video strategy.  Notice I didn’t say argue or debate. I’m going to try real hard to be nice.

Come watch live streaming video and count how many rotten tomatoes get tossed my way.

With video, show me something interesting and check your storytelling at the door

Angela Grant:

While I do agree that photographers are uniquely qualified to enter the video world, I know for a fact that reporters can do it too. I did it myself! Reporters must learn how to tell visual stories, but they already know how to craft a narration to tell a story. Photographers already know how to tell visual stories, but they must learn to play a more active role in using narration to tell a story. Everyone has something to learn. We can all do it. (Bold added)

Of course, Angela is right — up to a point.

Every time I read Angela or any other video blogger talk about “telling visual stories” or being “narrative,” I recoil.

Screw the story.

Show me something interesting.

It takes a damn lot of talent to tell a good story, and to really make a story sing, you’ve got to get into that whole production value thing, which as we know, has damn little ROI on the web.

If you’ve got the talent, great, but even getting to the point where you can unlock that talent takes years of practice.  We’re not there yet.  What we need right now is lots of video that people actually want to watch.

As YouTube and other video sites have proven, they’ll watch something interesting, whether it has a story or not, whether it has high production quality or not.

Compare web video to music. In the music business, tens of thousands of songs are cut every year. A large percentage of them are very, very good songs. Unfortunately, only a very small fraction of those great songs ever become hits.

Fortunately for the music industry, even in these more constricted economic times, a few hit singles can make a few people very rich (and not just from the song sales).

So all of the effort on songs that never will become hits is still worthwhile. The ROI on one hit is so tremendous, that it makes the gamble worthwhile.

Your newspaper-produced web video has a very slender chance of becoming a hit (even less than a song in this analogy). And even if it does, it’s not going to lead to riches for you or your publisher. We haven’t built, at least so far, the economics around video to make that possible.

Storytelling video takes a lot of time and talent to produce.

“Show me something interesting” video — well, anybody can do that. All you need is a cheap camera and enough smarts to go, “wow, that could be really interesting on video.”

Think relevance, immediacy and fascinating.  Things like beginning, middle and end are not intrinsically interesting or valuable to a web audience.

Keep it short and sweet, and do it often enough, you might actually get people to start visiting your regularly for video.

And FWIW, before anybody starts in with the old red herring about promoting crappy video, don’t bother. If you think that’s what this strategy is about, you’re approaching this idea with more ego than business sense. I don’t buy into the false dichotomy.

Just show me something interesting with your video.

If you’re in the Rochester, NY area on Thursday, stop by the Hyatt to hear me and Chuck Fadely discuss video strategy. It might be entertaining.

Previously: Video can’t win on production quality alone

BlogTalkRadio interview at NAA Connections conference

If you missed the live stream yesterday, and you care, the archive of my interview with Mel Taylor on BlogTalkRadio yesterday can be found here

More interviews from the NAA conference can be found here.

UPDATE: My coworker Shannon Dunnigan also interviewed. I also just finished listening to my friend Bob Benz, who has some interesting things to say about his new venture.

Upcoming interview on BlogTalkRadio

I’ll be in Orlando, Fla. for the next few day attending the NAA’s Connections conference.

Beth Lawton was kind enough to schedule me for an interview with BlogTalkRadio while I’m there.  

Her post on it can be found here

What I didn’t realize is that people — people like you — can ask questions live during the interviews.

There’s a pretty impressive cast of industry leaders among those slated for interviews throughout the conference. Check Beth’s post for a line up.

The BlotTalkRadio page for the conference is here

My interview is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m.  I have no idea what I’m going we’re talk about or be asked, so it should be terrifyingly entertaining.

If you’re attending Connections and want to meet for drinks or coffee, drop me a line at howard owens (oneword) at gmail dot com. 

See Steve Yelvington at NENMA (and me, too)

For those of you in the north east, the New England New Media Association is holding its fall convention in Quincy, Mass. on Wednesday (Oct. 24). Steve Yelvington is the keynote speaker. I’ll be on a panel about community building. More info here.

I think I may extend my Boston visit through Friday and attend this event at BU, too, which looks pretty interesting.