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#newsrw: ‘Content is King’ for online video

Most news organisations shy away from the “talking head” video, afraid it won’t engage viewers. Not at the Financial Times.

“If I’m honest, our bread and butter is the ‘talking head’”,  said Josh de la Mare, editor of video at the Financial Times, a panelist on the online video panel at news:rewired – media in motion. “The FT audience is quite strange in that sense. I’m quite surprised myself.”

de la Mare was one of four panelists who shared their expertise on online video, including David Dunkley Gyimah, a video journalist, academic and consultant;  John Domokos, video producer for the Guardian; and Christian Heilmann of Mozilla.

Each shared a different view on video, from the Guardian using reader-submitted videos to the Financial Times talking head videos to Gyimah referring to all news video as cinema. One thing the panel all agreed on is that video will only work if your audience is interested in the content.

“Something needs to be happening for it to be good video,” said Domokos.

“If it’s compelling, they will watch,” Gyimah concurred.

Heilmann suggested video professionals should work on making content interactive by using tools such as HTML5 or Mozilla Popcorn. Different open source technologies like these can allow the audience to add live tweets to a politician’s speech or change an iconic scene from a beloved film. He advocated that “video on the web should use the web”.

“We have a great opportunity to make this engaging, read-write media really work and right now we don’t,” Heilmann said. “We should, as professionals, take that over.”

11:37

LIVE: Session 1A – Online video

Most publishers will have at least dipped their toe into the pool of online video, but what does it take to really make a splash in this area, and reap the traffic rewards? This session will feature innovative case studies of cutting-edge online video which can enhance the way content is presented and shared, as well as top tips from experienced online video journalists, publishers and those leading key developments in web-native video about the opportunities to be exploited through the online medium.

With: Christian Heilmann, Mozilla Popcorn; Josh de la Mare, editor of video, Financial Times; John Domokos, video producer, the Guardian; David Dunkley Gyimah, video journalist, academic and consultant.

11.44

 

With HTML5 the video becomes just another page element which can be edited and overlayed. “The timestamp is the glue.”

11.42

 

“video is a black hole on the web” – Google cannot find the content. To make it more ‘findable’ we must use a great headline and separate our content out from the presentation. If the text can be separated it out from the video (eg using Universal Subtitles) you can edit text after publishing video. Google can find the text and it helps readers to skip to the bit of the video they want.

HTML5 video allows for all of that.

11.39

 

He says when it comes to video online, shorter is better – otherwise people get fidgety and start checking Twitter or FarmVille!

Now it’s Chris Heilmann of Mozilla Popcorn – he says he has a background in radio.

11.34

 

David Dunkley Gyimah is up next – a video journalist, academic and artist in residence at the Southbank, apparently!
Reportage in 1991/2 was “the YouTube of the BBC back then” – young and disruptive.
It all comes back to cinema. You need to get people to feel something, and to do that you need to experiment with image and movement and how best to capture that.

11.34

 

“we’re prone to following trends when we should also focus on exemplars” – Gyimah studies legendary cinematic directors. He also recommends Media Storm as an exemplar for online video.

11.32

 

Question: “isn’t the FT just putting TV news online?”


A: we have a mixture of polished content and more raw, on the ground news. That seems to be what the FT audience want, but again, it’s an evolving medium. We definitely aim for much short videos online – almost always under 5 minutes.

11.18

“The human face is absolutely crucial” – the individual details that help you to understand the wider story.

Josh de la Mare closes by reminding us that “nothing is sacred” – the medium is still evolving and there’s no stable formula for producing online video.

11.16

The FT has had a studio for about 3 years. FT video produces short comment and interview clips that go deeper into niche angles of the broader story.

FT also use on-site camera crews and provide theirjournalists with flip cams, encouraging them to shoot footage all over the world.

11.13

 

Josh de la Mare: FT mostly uses talking heads because that’s most appropriate for our audience.
Video can get to the emotional heart of a story. The FT used video to represent the human side to the impact of 9/11.

11.10

 

User generated content (UGC) is not a free and easy way to get great video clips!


The Guardian is exploring ways to engage with readers using multimedia. Domokos shows us an example which worked – people speaking out against disability living allowance cuts. These videos worked because the subjects had a real personal reason to produce them. The raw result is also not something a traditional camera crew could ever have got by treating them as “case studies”. 

Every time we use video, we must be using it because it’s the RIGHT way to tell the story, not the easy way

10.52

The Online Video session has kicked off with moderator David Hayward from BBC College of Journalism.

Follow the twitter hash tag #newsrw

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13:58
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