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Newspapers retreating from online video

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Feb. 11, 2011, 1:35 p.m. permalink

Sad news indeed and perhaps some members of FtF have been affected by this as well.  The Associated Press did a study of 100 U.S. newspapers and found that most are cutting back from online video due to budgets.

"Touted just three or four years ago as a promising editorial and business opportunity for newspapers to compete with local television stations and to grab new visitors and revenue streams, a large number of newspapers are cutting back on video and laying off video journalists, according to a study of 100 U.S. newspapers undertaken by the Associated Press."

Here is the link to the story and a video (of all things when talking about the decline of video)


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Feb. 11, 2011, 1:54 p.m. permalink

After I read that story and watched the video I read a comment from a guy named Rickr who said the following;

"Personally, I'd rather just read a story rather than have someone else read it to me on a video. Most of the time, I just want to click and get the first few grafs. By the time you have to sit through the 10-15 second ad preroll, I'm losing interest fast and become hesitant to click on any other videos."

I don't know where he finds this stuff of reporters reading their story on a video in the first place and his comment angered me to the point of me wanting to repsond.  Perhaps he has been under a rock and doesn't know of the quality work being, work that is shown by us on this site. Sooooo.........

I replied with this;


With a comment like;

"I'd rather just read a story rather than have someone else read it to me on a video." You MUST be looking at some different videos than what a majority of video journalists at newspaper shoot and produce man!

Hell yeah I'd get bored as well having to listen to reporters read their stories on a video if that is indeed what you're trying to say here. Personally I don't know of newspapers that actually do that kind of thing. For us it's all about powerful, good and interesting storytelling that MAKES you want to keep watching, be informed, connect and learn something that you might not be able to in a print story.

For a real education Rickr, look for videos done at newspaper websites and done the right way. Check them out at

Lots of quality work from many different video journalists from around the country along with discussion, dialogue, critiques all in an effort to make everyone better.


Hopefully Rickr will look at FtF and be impressed with the quality of the work done by you guys!!  :-)


Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany Feb. 12, 2011, 10:07 a.m. permalink

Thanks Eric for the response to "Rickr." I found this story disheartening, but not something that I did not already know. My newspaper is one that has pulled back--for now. 

I think it might be time for everyone to take a deep breath and realize some realities. Staffing at newspapers is not going to increase--even after the economy recovers. Digital platforms like the Web and tablets are only going to put pressure on traditional print newspapers to change or die. But guess what? Tablets are multimedia devices that are going to need a steady stream of visual content, whether it be stills, audio, or, yes, video. My advice to those multimedia producers sitting on the sidelines is to keep working on the craft, even if it seems you are under-appreciated right now.  When the turn to digital devices happens, you'll want to be on the right side of the burning bridge. Where we are undervalued right now, I believe there is a bright future for video journalists and multimedia producers. It might not be with print newspapers, but with a new generation of publications that will spring from the well water of innovation taking place right now.

Finally, to the several hundred people that belong to FtF, you are the backbone of the newspaper multimedia community. We have planted the seed with Finding the Frame. Now it is time to grow this community. We will build it, but you need to tell Brian and myself what you want. It is time to get off the sidelines.

Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi Feb. 13, 2011, 3:13 p.m. permalink

Maybe rickr was being harsh, but he has a point. While not exactly a reporter reading to a camera, an awful lot of video out there is little better. I've argued for a long time that if we bombard viewers with crap, they'll tune out. Rickr is evidence of that. If we can produce quality, engaging stories with regularity, our viewers will come to expect it.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Feb. 13, 2011, 4:04 p.m. permalink

Rickr only has a point for those video journalist or those that think they are who really don't have a clue or care how to tell a story and keep the viewers interest. 

Some at newspapers (be it reporters thrown a camera or still photographers who reluctantly shoot video) just hit that record button and in one fell swoop shoot, walk around and post it on their newspapers website and call that a video. We all can be much better than that so when folks like Rickr watch they are engaged and informed and not turn us off.


Rep: 8
James Cuff Feb. 19, 2011, 9:53 a.m. permalink

I agree Peter, the stories need to be thought out. Not everything that works in print will make a good video. The story needs to give the viewer a reason to watch and the production needs to keep them watching.

Rep: 14
Phil Carpenter Feb. 20, 2011, 4:26 p.m. permalink

So true.  One thing that bothers me are those who think that quantity is more important than quality.  I'm so opposed to having videos online for the sake of having them.  When resources are scarce at newspapers serious though MUST be given to what works and what doesn't.  Too many traditional print journalists photogrpahers, writers and editors alike, still don't take online video storytelling seriously.  The result is lack of resources including time dedicated to producing quailty work.  "Quck hit" news clips just don't cut it.  If viewers like, want and watch breaking news stories, for eg., then put the time and resources into doing it well. 

Rep: 33
Adam Wisneski Feb. 20, 2011, 9:42 p.m. permalink

Has anybody here had success showing their work outside the newspaper's site? Any screenings at coffee shops? Independent movie theaters? Your backyard with a sheet and a projector? 

It's a thought I've been kicking around with our web editor. My main reservation is that, to impress the general public, the quality would have to be 10x what we (my paper are producing now. Has anyone tried it? 

Rep: 14
Phil Carpenter Feb. 20, 2011, 11:07 p.m. permalink

Good point, Adam.  One person I know had at least one of his pieces shown at the Toronto International Film Festival couple years ago. 

As for myself, when I returned from covering the Haiti earthquake the paper had  kind of town paid hall thing at a theatre with members of the public. My colleague and I presented, and fielded questions the paper was shown during the event.  The funds went to Haiti rebuilding efforts.

I was also asked to submit a few pieces to this Online Film Festival by a site which some of you might find useful.  Some WICKED stuff there man!

But what if some of the stuff we produce was made available for sale on DVD, just like we offer pictures for resale?  Is anyone doing it?  TV does it regularly.

Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan Feb. 21, 2011, 8:52 a.m. permalink

At our newspaper, we're investing in video. We just recently starting sharing a newsroom with the local NBC affiliate. It's going pretty well. The newspaper photogs now have an additional outlet to show our videos and a staff of videographers to help us along.. The station has been really interested in the kinds of stories we like to do. A lot of my videos tend to come from community feature stories, the kind of stuff they might not have the resources to spare a photog for. For a little more investment in time, the paper gets stills for a print story and a video for the web and TV.

I agree that quality has to be more important than quantity. Ideally, you shoot a video because it's the right medium to tell the story, not because someone has a quota. If you are going to make someone wait 20 seconds through a preroll, the payoff better be a really good video. People have pretty high expectations. If they are looking at a professional site, they expect to see professional quality work.

I gotta say, I'm really excited right now. The new tools are opening up all sorts of new possibilities, and I think giving newspaper photogs more independence. This stuff is not easy. There is a huge learning curve and hopefully those who put in the time now to figure it out will be in good shape down the road.

Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi Feb. 22, 2011, 8 p.m. permalink

Phil, we offer our videos for sale on DVD. We don't do a ton of them, mostly parents of high school athletes, or the subjects of the videos themselves. It's not a huge money-maker. It's also a bit of a pain, since as far as I know there's no fulfillment service like myCapture that we use for photo sales. That means I have to do all of the customer service and fulfillment (DVD burning, packaging) myself. Enough people requested copies that we decided to sell them, but I'd be a lot happier if there were an easier way.
We've been talking for quite a while about looking for alternative outlets, but in the end, what we really want is the traffic to the website. Showing at a local theater or a film festival is a nice bit of promotion, but it's hard to imagine a real increase in traffic from those. If anyone has had success, I'd love to hear about it.

Rep: 0
Joe Karandy Feb. 27, 2011, 8:02 a.m. permalink

I recently graduated and throughout the 4 years of school I interned every semester at a publication or newspaper struggling to adapt video.  Many of them struggled with getting people to watch these videos buried deep within the publications website.  With maybe only a blurb in the magazine or newspaper directing people to their website I can definitely see how these expensive to produce pieces get almost no views.  That plus a 15-30 second ad and archaic viewer window would most certainly turn me off from watching a video.  I feel these companies are technologically always two steps behind the guy posting a viral cat video and if they would just embrace the internet as their friend the future for cutting edge video journalism would be much brighter.

Yes, I know lots of people will argue that print journalism has made great strides as far as web content, but the largest magazines and newspapers in the country are still run by fairly old fashioned editors who don't even know what a double rainbow is (currently at 25.6 million views).

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