Multimedia Journalism – Analysing the video on news websites

One of the things I want us to do today is look at some big news media websites and look at how they use video. Over the last three or four years, all news operations, from newspapers and magazines to traditional broadcasters, have invested heavily in the idea of multimedia journalism. In particular, they all began to add some sort of video content to their sites. Looking at YouTube's figures convinced them this was the way to big audiences. 

Now, however, there's some doubt about whether video really works on news sites. Lots of traditional media sites, especially those put up by the national newspapers, aren't quite sure what kinds of video to do and what really works for their audiences. 

That said, there are some interesting ideas out there about how to use video online. What we're going to do today is collectively look at the range of stuff that's out there and try to find some good stuff.

So here's a few news media sites:

BBC News
The Guardian
The Daily Telegraph
The New York Times (registration required)
The Daily Mail

I'm going to get you to work in small groups and look at one of these sites. Try to answer the following questions:

  • What video content is on the site? How would you describe it?
  • Who made that video content? Does it come from a traditional broadcaster or an individual journalist?
  • Is the video content like traditional broadcast news? If not, how is it different?
  • How is the video integrated into the site? Does it standalone as a sort of little programme? Or is it part of a story package that involves pictures and text? If so, how does it all work together

Write some quick answers to the questions on your blog. We'll pool our ideas about this once you've had chance to look through a site and post something. You then need to write a short concluding analysis of the site you looked at. 


AWJ – TED and online video

Here's something we might look at if there's time – it's a lecture by Chris Anderson, one of the TED founders talking about the way online video, via sites like YouTube, is encouraging innovation. Anderson talks about the way street dance has developed as a result of people sharing ideas and moves via YouTube and builds a more general argument about how this kind of crowd-driven sharing could have a more lasting impact on culture… 

TED is, I guess, would be an example of the kind of thing he's talking about – online video used to share ideas… I wonder if there's something revealing here about what works in online video – people talking, often passionately, often with humour as well as  intelligence, about ideas, about their research, about things they believe in. Perhaps that is one of the things that works well in online video… 

That said, often these people are experts, who might normally have seen their ideas mediated via journalists. If they are now going direct to an interested audience via online video sharing, is that a problem for journalists? What can we add here? Do we have a role? 


AWJ – Charlie Brooker’s broadcast news report

You've probably all seen this already – but it won't hurt to see it again. It's a good summary of a lot of the things online video journalists say they want to avoid.

AWJ – Today’s session

Today we're going to look at online video in a bit more detail. We were going to do live blogging but we're going to leave that until next week now. I think we'll look at some different types of online video and then get you to shoot some footage and learn a little bit more about different ways to work with and edit footage when it comes to telling stories on the web.