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!

Advertisements

A selection of you surveyed!

By Umar Farooq

The results are in. 20 very kind people and video journalism enthusiasts (I’m guessing) took part in my “Online News Video Watchers Survey” published on 13th Feb. The aim was to get to know:

1) Our audience, and…

2) …their viewing habits

The raw data

The facts and figures from the Video Watchers Survey (in their raw form)

So what can we conclude…

A fascinating set of results. From the research, based on the short sample, I think the following findings are interesting.

  • An internet-savvy young audience: 85% are aged between 16-25. 70% watch news content online everyday or 3 to 4 times a week.
  • Video-sharing websites are only a part of your online news video watching experience: Just over half watch under 30% of their news content on video sharing sites. Furthermore, majority of this content comes from broadcast news providers (The majority watch over 70% of their online news content from broadcast companies) which shows that people trust conventional media with their news, even if it’s online.
  • The BBC’s YouTube channel is the most popular among you for news content with 53%. Interestingly, the BBC World News channel has been removed from YouTube. Sky News was chosen by 21%, Al-Jazeera and CNN were tied on 11%. Surprisingly, only one person selected ITN News which has one of the best online news channels.
  • Finally, many of you still prefer watching online news on your PC/Laptop in this day and age of the smart-phones and tablets. 80% choosing PC/Laptop.

A big thank you to all the entrants who took part in this short experiment. I think the results point to habits of a modern-day video journalist. The details are interesting and I shall leave you with them.

* The links in this post can be accessed and shared on the VJO delicious page.

Thank you!

Cut, Paste, Play

By Ross Cullen

The rise in use of video by both professional journalists and citizen journalists has called for an increase in online portals to aid the editing and storing of such videos.

You grab your smartphone or high-powered pocket camera and go. You shoot; you capture; you record. You have a lot of footage that needs tidying up before, finally, you can tell the story. Where do you go?

To follow the upward trend in use of video and the posting of videos online, there has been a rise in the number and capabilities of online video editing websites.

As this is a fast flowing and developing medium, editing-software designers have also had to adapt to the changes. There are many of these sites and some of them rival each other directly with what they can offer.

Both A-Frame (website shown above) and Pixorial have realised that video journalists need somewhere to store their work online, without having to use a default mass-content provider such as YouTube. There is a need for websites that have a more professional and editorial feel than YouTube, which can be seen, at times, as a multinational giant overlooking the small, corner shop-keeper.

For pure, simple editing, many use YouTube’s software, (although that can feel a little raw), Adobe’s ‘Premiere Express’ and JayCut (website shown above).

There are also sites like photobucket (website shown below) which strive to promote the simplicity and pleasure of photo and video creating and sharing.  On the other hand, other sites such as Kaltura, try to show off how their technical, unique editing platforms can help you.

However, the danger for these websites is that they can be squeezed for space in a growing and changing market, of which, as noted above, YouTube is the dominant power.

The Internet is now the base for video journalism, with the days of shelves of tapes and film reels long gone. Companies are moving their bases online as well, and offering the range of adaptable services that such a moveable medium demands.

Video journalism – on the radio???

By Phil Georgiadis

Building on Chris Creegan’s post about the role of video journalism on radio station websites, for our latest post Video Journalism Online has been speaking to the BBC’s Vassos Alexander about the ever expanding use of video content on the 5 Live website.

Vassos is the voice of sport on the 5 Live Breakfast show, and also presents many of 5 Live Sport’s outside broadcasts from around the world.

Vassos told us that video content is a key growth area on the website: ‘5 Live are trying to offer a fresh and distinctive product online, and an important part of that is our live streams of the shows. Not only can you, of course, listen live and back to programmes on the iPlayer, but you can also watch them, as they go out, live.’

Vassos continued that ‘this is a completely different way of offering content to the consumer, and I think it has been very successful’.

But what about the presenters themselves? Does the increasing role of video content change the way they broadcast?

‘To be honest, we forget that the cameras are there and get on with it, we aren’t treating it like TV, and constantly thinking where the cameras are and so on. I mean the thing is, essentially all your are seeing is a load of people in a studio talking into the mics, we aren’t looking into the cameras or anything, the audio still drives the experience- but web users seem to like being able to see what we’re doing’.

In addition to this, the 5 Live website offers highlight clips of big name guests in the studio, which allows one to watch edited clips of programmes.

There is a lot of discussion on this blog and elsewhere considering the relationship between TV and web video- but it seems that the radio is successfully getting in on the act too.

Changes are coming in the regulation of online video journalism…

photo courtesy of ATVOD

 

By Chris Creegan

A ruling published earlier this week revealed that the Authority for Television on Demand could gain the power to regulate the video content of online newspapers.

ATVOD, the body responsible for regulating the Television on Demand services offered via the likes of BBC iPlayer, 4OD and ITV Player, could be soon be able to regulate the video content on the online version of newspapers as well.

Newspaper providers are arguing that they should be exempt from this regulation. They feel the ruling should apply only to “TV-like” content, rather than the more journalistic and news-based content they offer.

These papers, which include The Sun, The Sunday Times, News of the World and Elle, are now appealing to Ofcom to try and have the decision rescinded.

If their appeal is rejected, it means that the newspapers and magazines affected would have to pay an annual sum to ATVOD for the regulation of their online services.

Those that fail to pay this fee could face fines of up to £250,000 and have their video offerings suspended.

What is interesting about this development is that it means, for the first time, the UK press will come under an external regulator’s control (it is currently self-regulated by the PCC).

Papers looking to expand their online video content in the future could now face a far greater challenge than broadcasters, whose news content does not fall under the same regulation.

This story highlights some of the issues that can occur when news organisations take their services to a new platform, and it shows some of the complexities found in online regulation.

This story is likely to develop throughout the coming weeks, but if you want to know more, head on over to the ATVOD website for more details.

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:

A Passion for Pictures

 

Cameraman (by Pansa Sunavee)

By Umar Farooq

In my journey through the world of video journalism, I’ve been asking experts for their advice for aspiring video journalists. We’ve already established that the area of video journalism is growing. The internet is a great platform for those wanting to practice their film-making skills and build a profile. However, a wider platform and more opportunities don’t necessarily make you a professional or successful VJ. The web is like a training ground but the hard work must come from the individual.

In this post, I will look back at what some of the interviewees said regarding skills needed to succeed, before bringing in my final interviewee.

 

The question:

  • What sort of advice do you have for aspiring video journalists?

David Parkin, TheBusinessDesk.tv

“The media is changing and so must the journalist. As the founder of the Business Desk, any journalist working for me needs to have three important qualities.

  • Firstly, know your subject. In our case that’s business. We need people with a genuine passion for business news.
  • Secondly, be multi-skilled. The modern-day journalist needs to be able to shoot, edit, write and work online.
  • Thirdly, just be enthusiastic. We’re looking for people who can create powerful and interesting content and are fascinated about the future of the technology.”

Lewis Wiltshire, Editor, BBC Sport Online

“I think it’s important for trainee journalists to be as multi-skilled as possible and video is a huge part of it, as is social media and written content. So the journalists at the BBC are always encouraged to have as many skills as possible. In terms of video, it’s a growing industry and an exciting industry to be in so good luck to all those involved because you never stop learning.”

Tom Chown, freelance video journalist, DigiTomTV

“In terms of advice for aspiring video journalists. Get yourself a camera, learn how to use some simple editing software and then go out there and find a story to tell. I remember when Michael Rosenblum was training us at the BBC, one think he said was that everyone’s got a story to tell and they have. You just have to engage with people and develop your journalistic skills. You have to learn, and you will learn the right questions to ask people to draw themselves, out of themselves. Put people at ease, make them relaxed and they’ll tell you the most fascinating things you never thought possible.”

Wise words from the three experts. I think David pretty much covers all ground in terms of journalistic qualities. Lewis from the BBC places emphasis on being multi-skilled and Tom speaks as an experienced video journalist.

My next interviewee is Abrar Hussain, Creative Director at Life Of This World Media. He started the company around 5 years ago and specialises in video production for charities.  I met Abrar outside Finchley Central Underground station to discuss video journalism online.

Abrar provides a very good explanation of how the internet is slowly transforming his business and video journalism. Once again we see emphasis on how video is being produced only for the online world, when he says that the number one question in any kind of production meeting now is how can we make this work online? However, for me, I think Abrar’s advice to aspiring journalist comes from the heart and he captures this overarching principle of ‘passion’ really well. There is no doubt that the modern-day journalist has to be multi-skilled and work across platforms. In video journalism, he/she must be able to pitch, shoot, edit, script, voice and deliver content for the target audience. Yet equally as important is the passion for pictures, the enthusiasm and the willingness to just go for it. Video journalism is an area where you’re constantly learning by watching and making mistakes so the passion must be there.

Here’s a transcript of Abrar’s response when asked to give advice to aspiring video journalists.

Abrar Hussain, Creative Director, Life Of This World Media

“Just make sure you’ve got a passion. Don’t be doing it because you think ‘oh this is cool, I’ll do this and get into it because it’s cool.’ Look at me, I was running around with a video camera when I was 10 years old, I was filming the family events. I had a video camera, I was doing it and I loved it because it was my passion. At University, I studied Business and IT, not media but I started making documentaries for my university and they were paying me for it. It was a passion and I grew up with it. Don’t think ‘I’ll get to meet celebrities’ or ‘I’ll get to travel,’ they’re the wrong kind of motivations. Just be really really passionate. The other thing, work very very hard. Work while other people are sleeping and you’ll get ahead.”

It’s all about motivation.

Finally, here’s another plug for the “Online News Video Watchers Survey” with some interesting entries in so far, so keep them coming. In the next few posts, I’ll be disclosing the results from the survey and look into some of the technology/devices used to film the interviews.

Carry on filming!

* The links in this post can be accessed and shared on the VJO delicious page.