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Homeless guy video & what went wrong

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 9, 2011, 7:28 a.m. permalink

Good story on the KobreChannel & points made about the many things that went wrong with the Columbus Dispatch video of the homeless guy with the golden voice & lessons we can learn from it. 

Story is here -->

Among the points made;

A sound bite is not a story. Look at how much basic journalistic info is missing from that initial story -- wonderful details filled in later by TV reporters who did due diligence. We didn't get to see Williams' makeshift tent, nor the homeless man he shares it with. We didn't find out about his nine adult kids (!), his grandchildren, or his 90-something mom he hadn't seen in 20 years.

Know what you've got. Incredibly, the videographer waited a week after he first saw Williams -- and heard his voice -- to come back with a camera. More incredibly, when he did return, it was with a cheap handheld Flip cam with its awful internal mic that doesn't filter out wind noise. Most incredibly, after he shot the video, it sat on a shelf for six weeks, waiting for "a slow news day" to make its initial appearance. 

Clean up your act. And while we were looking at the Dispatch's video offerings, we were especially struck by the godawful navigation scheme -- just a complete hodgepodge of disorganized thumbnails artlessly slapped onto a Web page, with no apparent thought given to luring or keeping viewers. (Even the Ted Williams-related videos are not clustered together, nor are links provided between similarly themed videos or even to their text counterparts.) Again, to be fair, this is a common problem at newspaper Websites -- video remains a low-priority afterthought because of low viewership. It's slapped up there carelessly because "no one watches it anyway," which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Seriously, look at this page, and tell us that your average teenager couldn't have done a better job designing it. 

Personally, I'm glad Williams is in a better situation because of their video but stories like this RARELY happen for us so sieze them with better storytelling, get your papers name on it & be more proactive about it all.

What are your thoughts??


Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany Jan. 9, 2011, 10:24 a.m. permalink

Beat me to it Eric. This video and the problems KobreChannel point out are still rampant at many "clueless" newspapers. When I first saw this video I was blown away by the missed opportunity by the videojournalist. This could have been a killer story for their website. And waiting six weeks to post? Epic fail.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 9, 2011, 10:58 a.m. permalink

Sorry man ;-)

Saw it on KobreChannel this morning and was glad Jerry made some great points and also had the balls to put it in all in writing. Some people are thinking he's ripping or shaming the guy from the Dispatch but we all know (or should know) it is far from that.  More like lesson we and our editors, web folks and those with power at our newspapers need to know about and remember right?? 

I had posted the video on this forum a few days ago not knowing then it was a Dispatch video.  No one had a clue as the intro and exit of the video had no newspaper logo etc. It was like Joe or Jane Public just threw it together in iMovie or something.

I agree with you Colin, it could of been such a killer story in so many ways with the paper blowing it out from much better video to print/web stories, going viral with it on their terms not some guy who saw the video and posted it to YouTube himself.

Should of taken total OWNERSHIP of the story on so many facets!

They went to New York with him for reunion with his mom and another miss opportunity (unless there are videos and stories on their site I haven't seen)

Here is the video of the reunion

Wish they would of thought about putting a lav on the mom and Ted Williams, hung out with them afterward (when the media left), done something about his whirlwind reunion, trip etc and put together a nice package on it


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 9, 2011, 11:12 a.m. permalink

Ted Williams is interviewed on the Jimmy Fallon show and talks about how it all happened.  I had no idea (according to Williams) he was given money a few times by the guy who did the video, Yikes!! My paper would have a big problem with that. 

Jimmy Fallon show

Collection of videos etc that Dispatch put on their site

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