Friday, July 13, 2007

UK national newspapers racking up the anti

. . .And then there was a mini explosion. This summer sees the "Swan Syndrome" - looking elegant but pushing some hard work- for a clutch of British newspapers go into video drive.

The Guardian's appointment of former Press Association Robert Freeman to the job of head of video will now see some of their new developments take shape; namely embedded video ie inserting video within the body text.

I have met Robert several times whilst at PA, through my good friend and wonderkid Ms Asha Oberoi who snatched him from the BBC. He's a good choice given his development background formerly within the Beep.

The Guardian will also be the first to use agency feed to develop in-house material working in tandem with their very popular Guardian Films.


Having worked for Worldwide Television News (WTN) agency before it was subsumed by AP to become APTV I have got some idea of the agency- led video approach to news.

Agencies are principally suppliers of news video rather than end users, so even when they do produce for the networks, they use, obviously, voice-overs rather than stand-up or pieces to camera.

It'll be interesting to see what format the Guardian deploys. I have been told.

Talking to my former editor at Channel 4 News, Peter Barron, whom I worked alongside at BBC Newsnight in 1991 ( I was a researcher, he a producer) we discussed the crowded news market, and that consumers will inevitably be attacted to the brand and that comprises both the personality of the product and the people behind it, on radio, and in front of it, TV.

I have something penciled in with Peter; more on that down the line.

The FT has also recently completed a round of appointments for video journalism, together with a head of video - a former agency figure.

The Guardian like the FT will now be in the position to woo news broadcast viewers to their sites and if those original stories that splash front page are anything to go by, TV News has its work cut out. No indication whether the Guardian will adopt video journalism, unlike the FT. There is, I tell clients, a world of difference, particularly also with IM6 that's being developed.

The Telegraph is also reshaping. I have two VJs I have worked with on the paper and look forward to meeting up with them for a session in their boot camp later in the year.


I had the pleasure this week of meeting up with journalists retooling themselves into VJs. The skinny is their two former colleagues whom I trained are shooting everyday and developing very rich work.

With all this, we're likely to see some movement pass strong traditional video news in a bid to enrich users. Gripping news aside greater collaboration between multimedia teams and journalists could throw up metatagged news video.

Fancy that, the manner and news approach to your news will influence the tags and vice versa.

The manner and style of video, stripping the exposition and jettisoning impartiality whilst being objective SHOULD become a strong feature ( see 18 Doughty Street).

The whole point about pushing the news paradigm involves training up journalists to break free from present nomenclature. Why? If it's not broken why fix it. Is it broken? If it is, fix it. There's no point apping the BBC in style and policy. The BBC by dint of its public service and remit for instance must be impartial and objective.

But there's no reason for others to be - a strong point made interviewing Channel 4's Stuart Cosgrove.

My abstract for my PhD involves delving into the aformentioned, plus some of the stuff you can find on view

Question: how long should it take to edit a three pronged news item a point put to a number of key figures. You decide. I'll come back with who said what in a the near future.

1. 7 hours

2. 4 hours

3. 2 hours

4. 30 mins

5. 5 mins

And finally IM6 interview with Chatham House redux on view shortly

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