York finding success with quick-production video

If there’s one statement I’ve made about video that has drawn the most fire it is that reporter-shot video should take no more an hour to shoot and edit.

For most news videos, any more time than that is just a waste because you’re not going to get enough views from any one video (there are exceptions, of course) to justify the time commitment, especially when you’re talking about reporters who also have print responsibilities.

I think this line of thinking is especially important at small newspapers (the kind I deal with every day) where publishers will NEVER hire a full-time videographer (or at least not until video advertising becomes a major revenue stream).

Andy Dickinson points us to a newspaper web crew in Nebraska that is regularly doing quick-production video and starting to get some traction with the local audience.

Online producer Eric Eckert tells Andy,

This year alone, we (3 staff) have produced over 450 videos which have received over 120,000 views. Most of the videos are, as you stated, 2-3 minutes long. The numbers differ though when you look at how long it takes us to make the videos. We usually spend 10-15 minutes shooting the video and I usually spend 15-30 minutes editing the video. In breaking news situations, like car accidents, we are generally shooting photos as well. We probably average getting a 2-3 minute report and 100 photos onto our site in less than an hour.

And in a follow up, Eric says,

Melanie has been instrumental with helping to get more videos out fast. She takes flack from time-o-time because she might say “uh” here or there, but we generally get the shot done in one take and that’s what we want. Our number one concern is to get the information out there.

Sure, we could spend a day making a report, but when it comes down to it, it looks real, you can tell she’s not robotically reading off a prompter and once again, we can have it online faster.

There are many advantages to putting the emphasis on speed-of-production:

  • You can simply produce more content, and more content feeds the long-tail.
  • More, faster production, means you’re going to learn faster. Learning is still the number one task for all newspaper video producers (remember what Ira Glass says about this?).
  • More video means the audience is learning faster than your site is a go-to place for local video.
  • Speed to publication is exceptionally important to online audience growth.

Eric’s newspaper is the York News Times. There are two interesting things about that. First, the York paper is a GateHouse Media property now; second, while it’s a GateHouse property, we’ve never had a direct discussion with anybody in York about our video strategy. York developed its approach while still owned by Morris. It’s great to see York being successful with its own homegrown strategy.

UPDATE: Good follow-on post from Zac Echola.

3 thoughts on “York finding success with quick-production video

  1. it was great to hear from Eric. He dropped me an email and I was impressed by the turn round time vs. the quality.

    I took a bit of stick listing production times of less than a few hours for a minute in my survey but have always felt in my gut that there was a place for the type of video that could be done in that time(rather than the amount of time people thought they should have) .So it was nice to hear from someone just having a go

  2. I think journalists who care about both quality and speed will make much greater strides in creating online video content that resonates with audiences than those who think every video must be a visual storytelling masterpiece.

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