The future of video journalism online (Part 1)

By VideoJournalismOnline

What’s in store for online video journalism? It’s a question we’ve had in mind as we’ve researched and written about the topic.

So here Alex Dibble asks Ross Cullen, Emily Craig and Toby Coaker for their predictions about the future of VJO:

Drawing Inspiration From Afar

image courtesy of psdgraphics.com

By Toby Coaker

Away from the UK, I draw your attention to two trends in overseas online video journalism that could come to influence how the medium is operated here.

USA – Vidcaster

As Ross Cullen mentioned in his latest post, video journalists are becoming more impatient with mass-content provider Youtube. It provides limited control over advertisements, offers little in the way of traffic reporting, and promotes a repellent comment culture.

In the US, Vidcaster is fast becoming a preferable platform for professional video makers to distribute content. You can create your own website, which is hosted on the Vidcaster platform. Yet the key point is that you can host your Vidcaster site on your own domain so that appears to users as if its your own. Think of it as a vloggers wordpress. Like the latter, it allows immediate interaction with a variety of social media and video sharing websites – meaning that video journalism can be professionalized and marketed at a convenience not yet present in British journalistic culture. Follow the link below to watch an introduction by co-founder Kieran Farr:

http://vidsf.com/759

Vidcaster offers users video site customization, as well as control over web distribution of content. In the US its now easier than ever to market one’s video journalism on the Internet. Let’s hope that a similar platform will emerge here soon.

France – Citizenside

As citizen journalism distribution becomes more established, one company has come up with a novel idea to encourage higher standards amongst its network of amateur journalists. Citizenside, a Paris-based syndicator of user generated content, sells its footage on to over 100 professional news organizations around the world.

Now, in like of heated competition from other companies, it’s decided to turn its journalism in to a video game. Users are rewarded with points for posting videos (and pictures etc.). The more points one accumulates, the closer one gets become to achieving virtual promotion (from reporter to correspondent to editor-in-chief of a region, for instance). The managers of Citizenside believe it is social validation that pushes people. Such an incentive will, it is hoped, encourage greater standards and thus the acquisition of more lucrative and engaging video content.

There are concerns that increasing the level of competition will promote ‘cheating’ and the doctoring of false material. We’ll have to see whether this technique will increase the ever-growing role of user-generated-content in online video journalism – it’s certainly an interesting idea!

Vlog on Vlogging

By Toby Coaker (Camera – Umar Farooq)

The vlog, vodcast, video blog… its an increasingly tamed beast. It’s also becoming more and more popular in the realm of online journalism. In this exclusive vodcast on vodcasting, I ask what exactly is video blogging, and what makes it stand out from conventional journalism:

VJO chats to… Broadcast Magazine’s Michael Rosser

Michael Rosser (Courtesy of BroadcastNow.co.uk)

By Toby Coaker

This week VJO spoke to Michael Rosser – Web Editor at ‘Broadcast’ magazine. Michael holds responsibility for the operation of Broadcastnow.co.uk, managing the daily news content and overall strategy for the site. He has been in the job since 2007.

Trying to paint the ‘big picture’ of VJO, we asked him the key questions:

Michael, how well are broadcast institutions making use of online video journalism?

The BBC are leading the way with this as always. All you have to do is look at how they’ve approached the recent earthquake in Japan – on the web page you’ve been able to find the latest  reports, interviews and other video from the ground. They’ve also been running a live stream as well as their news channel. I think this combination of streaming what is being broadcast digitally via cable and satellite, as well as furnishing users with pre-packaged reports – that is why the BBC is the strongest. ITV – not so much. Something they have significant problems with is ITV Player, where they have still got technical speed bumps to overcome there. All you have to do is go on Twitter and type in ITV Player and you’d find an absolute litany of complaints and criticism for this piece of technology. As devices such as iphones and ipads become more widely used, video online from major broadcasters is going to become increasingly important – it’s just a natural progression – but, again, it’s clearly the BBC that are leading the way with this.

How much does citizen journalism fit in to the online broadcasting market?

Hugely. I think that in general it’s going to be professionally produced content that will find it’s way on to major broadcast news sites. But for major incidents, citizen journalism has become an increasingly useful tool – from the 7/7 bombings, when citizen video journalism came to the fore for the first time, to again what we’re seeing in Japan with people shooting the most significant raw footage, because they are there first. This can be packaged together professionally with a voiceover. A combination of the two provides the most compelling footage.

Are these new forms of online video journalism a threat to the big broadcasting corporations?

At the moment, there is no significant threat to the major news organisations. It’s fair to say that, as technology improves so that anybody can have a camera that can shoot HD footage, and as people become savvier to how you shoot and present this sort of footage then, sure, there is an emerging sub-culture of video news outside of the major organisations. But traditional broadcasters have the resource to be able to cover everything. It’s the big boys that have got seemingly bottomless pockets; that can send their journalists around the world; that can buy in the library footage; that can attend the court cases or the inquests… They also have the proper training, the proper skills. It’s very easy to look unprofessional on camera. Just one tiny slip and that completely negates your professionalism. You only have to look at how a major news broadcaster could slip up on one shot and suddenly its all over youtube and everyone’s tweeted about it. Citizen journalism provides a service, but a cheap one in comparison.

Is the trend for online multi-platform journalism diminishing the role of broadcasters?

News brands have to move towards a multi-platform approach as print continues to decline. And they have done. While its not at a level that an organisation like the BBC can provide, it is at a strong level. But, for something like The Telegraph or The Times, their core product remains the newspaper. Times are changing and who knows how things will change. Yet do I think that Telegraph TV will eventually provide a rival service to BBC News? No. What The Telegrah’s core offering could be, going forward, is the Internet. It’s a newspaper still, its a source of news. But thinking about PDAs and apps… these could become the primary way in which their content is consumed.

Never Miss A Beat With Livestation

By Toby Coaker

If, in the age of 24 hour news channels and online media, you find it difficult to cram even more current affairs in to your schedule, think again.

While you might have used Livestation to stream live television over the Internet, perhaps you won’t have used its news video player.

It works in a similar way to the BBC’s iplayer. Yet Livestation aggregates all of the channels below (and more!) and allows you to watch each one – at the same time – on a multi-screen (see above):

Al Jazeera (English), BBC Arabic, BBC News, BBC Parliament, BBC World Service, Bloomberg Television, Channel 4, CNN International, CNBC Europe, euronews, France 24, ITV, RT (English), Sky News

The concept is simple – but it might just revolutionize the way we consume journalism.

Now it’s even easier than ever before to pick and choose between varying news providers – keeping an eye on all but listening to the one story you want to hear.

Such demanding news consumption has, up until now, only been accessible to those with multiple television screens or computer monitors. This is fairly rare beyond the walls of City University’s Journalism Department…

So for those savvy and concerned enough to use Livestation, it could mean the end of brand loyalty. Instead, we pick and choose what we want to engage with – an interview, a package, a two-way… The web is encouraging more competitive video journalism than ever.

There are other features too: Live chat allows you to share opinion with your community. If I was watching a compelling interview on Al Jazeera, for instance, I could encourage others to do the same.

The more impersonal but equally influential Twitter can also be used to quickly respond to changing events and broadcast titbits. Look below at how twitpic is used to rapidly inform others of what the news – and its providers – are doing:

If popular, Livestation will create the most hyper-responsive, critical, and discursive audience of video journalism ever. How should broadcasters react? Let us know.

A Discreet Monopoly

image courtesy of ITN website

By Toby Coaker

The growth of multi-platform journalism has been discussed vociferously in earlier posts.

The Internet has long offered a platform to unconventional media organisations (such as Demotix), local newspapers etc. to create their own video journalism.

Therefore a conventional wisdom has emerged declaring that traditional news organisations will increasingly occupy a diminished share of the online broadcasting market.

Yet professing that newspapers and other media platforms are forging their own original online video content is, in certain cases, simply not true.

One broadcasting stalwart is refusing to give up its share of the market to online rivals.

ITN has been extending its reach across the Internet, incessantly making sure its journalism reaches a larger audience whilst, at the same time, growing its profit margins.

Over a short period it has established a portfolio of partners to whom it supplies rushes and packages: Metro, MSN, AOL, The Daily Telegraph, The MailOnline, The Daily Express, The Daily Star…

Only two years ago Telegraph TV was making its own current affairs discussion programmes. Now, it offers only hard new packages using rushes distributed by ITN.

Behind this machine is subsidiary ITN Productions. Launched last year, t describes itself as ‘a central  creative hub producing content for the broadcast, online, mobile and corporate sectors’. As well as creating content, they offer clients ‘award-winning studios and graphics teams for hire’.

Perhaps this is the main selling point: ‘finding new ways to create exciting content tailored for any audience’.

ITN Productions has recently announced the launch of a Youtube Royal Wedding Channel. It will be a focus of all news content on the build up to the April event.

For a while the Internet has been changing the manner in which news is consumed. Niche interests are being satisfied to the detriment of broader news consumption.

ITN, one of the UK’s few conventional news structures, has joined this revolution. Its prevalence and continued expansion in online journalism is proof that traditional broadcasters are still the best at making and distributing video journalism – by computer AND television.


Worried about tighter copyright infringement rules?

By Toby Coaker

In 2010 the Government introduced the Digital Economy Act. Of most concern amongst amateur/citizen journalists has been the tightening of copyright infringement rules. The Act establishes a system of law which aims to increase the ease of tracking down and suing persistent infringers.

If you’re a video journalist, you might be confused about what you can or can not include in your online video content. To ease your mind, think about using an established footage and archive provider. Not having to worry about breaching copyright law is exchanged for a small fee. It also makes it easier to grab that much-needed iconic or relevant shot.

Ann Johnson from FOCAL International told VJO a little more about how they can help video journalists: