Time To Give Away Some More Consulting Advice (2)

Yesterday, I mentioned that I want to reveal what general advice my firm has been giving its clients this past year. To succeed in this new century, every online news organization must incorporate into its operations ten components, whose order is important because each (with the exception of the last) builds atop the previous ones.

I wrote about Immediacy, the first of those ten . Today, I’m writing about the second component, ‘Multimedia’:

The second component is what most people today call ‘Multimedia.’ Though I think that term is a misnomer, people mean by it is that websites need to provide a combination of text, still photos, audio, and video, rather than just text and still photos or audio and video.

Anyone can access a news broadcaster’s website as easily as the website of a news publisher, and vice versa. Publishers are no longer competing against only publishers nor are broadcasters competing against just broadcasters. The competition online for all providers of information will be in ‘multimedia.’ So, to compete most effectively online, publishers’ websites must offer stories not only in text and still photographs but also in audio and video, and broadcasters’ websites must also offer text.

I know how it is hard to find print journalists who are readily capable of reporting in video and audio, or broadcast journalists who can write at length. However, news organizations must immediately begin training their newsroom staffs to report in multimedia, not just in print or audio or video. Journalism schools likewise need to train each of their students to do all those things.

I often recommend two simple, quick, and practical methods that publishers can use to create ‘multimedia’ content from their newsrooms. The first method is to employ students or interns as videographers who accompany the publications’ print reporters. The second method is for those videographers to interview those print reporters in their newsrooms or at the scene of news. Let the print reports become the subjects of the videos.

The first method is a simple and quick for newspapers to create video reports. Many North American or European newspapers have begun to employ interns or students as videographers who accompany the newspapers’ text reporters to major stories. These interns or students are from universities that have schools of journalism or video/film. Because they are apprentices, the newspapers don’t pay them much or nothing at all. The interns or students work mainly for the job experience, hoping to gain enough experience to full-time work as video reporters in the future.

The second method is a quick and simply way to overcome print newsrooms’ the reluctance to use video. Let the newspaper hire a videographer (or use student or interns who can operate a video camera) and have the videographer interview the print reporters or editors. Let the print reporters be indirect subjects of the video reports Put the reporter or editor in front of a video camera (preferably on a video stage at the newspaper office or, at least, with the newspaper’s banner in the background) and ask that reporter or editor to describe the story they worked on today. The videographer can then edit the reporter’s description with the video of the actual event.

Most print reporters or editors are nervous the first time they are interviewed on video. However, most have discovered egos and also pride in their work; they are people who soon love to be themselves the narrator of video news reports about their work. Within a few weeks, they become very comfortable on camera and like to have a videographer travel with them to news events. This is particularly true of sports reporters.

These two ways quickly and inexpensively produce video content, plus get text newsrooms aware and interested in video production and use. An example of a newspaper that uses these methods is at the video operation of the Naples Daily News in Florida.

Many of you might think that it should be obvious that news organization should nowadays provide multimedia or that I’m giving ridiculous simply advice.. However, the sad truth is that most magazines and newspapers still don’t. That’s why I advice ridiculously simply ways they can begin.

Tomorrow, I’ll write about Podcasting/Vodcasting, the third of the ten components that news organizations need to succeed:

  1. Immediacy
  2. Multimedia
  3. Podcasting/Vodcasting
  4. Interactivity
  5. ‘Evergreen’ Services
  6. Wikis
  7. Structured Data
  8. Digital Editions
  9. Services to Mobile Devices
  10. Embedded Links

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