Newspaper video: Belfast Telegraph goes TV

Belfast Telegraph

The Belfast Telegraph has become the second Irish paper to take the dive in to newspaper video and unveil a TV news bulletin on their site according to Press Gazette.

The Belfast Telegraph launched an internet TV station this week, two weeks after competitor The Irish News did the same.

The article continues:

Editor Martin Lindsay said: “Belfast Telegraph TV is an online fusion of the regional news agenda of newspaper journalists and professional broadcasters”

Interesting stuff – especially the distinction between journo and pro-broadcaster

In an Telegraph article explaining why they have taken the plunge in to TV , Deputy Editor Paul Connolly seems to have finally caught up with the rest of the world…

This is going to be the year of video on the Internet. And, more than that, it is going to be the year that the Web finally becomes truly participatory. No longer will consumers seeking interactive services have to contend with either just a few (mostly American) technology giants offering one-size-fits-all services. And no longer will customers have to put up with jerky, fuzzy pictures that promise much, but deliver little.

And he see’s the proliferation of broadband as the way to save us from that fuzzy crap we get from the yanks.

However, industry analysts warn that newspapers that don’t respond to the threat posed by high-speed Internet will surely flounder. The most important thing, warns Dr Dietmar Schantin of Ifra, a worldwide industry body for newspapers and other publishers, is that newspapers embrace new technologies, but add their own kind of value and identity.

Don’t copy broadcasters – do your own thing while sticking to the paper’s central values and beliefs, he told Oliver Luft on the website.

So it’s a surprise then that the Telegraph TV content is such a direct copy of a broadcast. In terms of content, it may be a mirror of the newspapers agenda but presentation is firmly in the TV style.

Maybe less of a surprise when you know that it’s generated, in part, by Macmillan Media who also produce the NI segment for GMTV (amongst other fingers in pies). In fact GMTV presenters, Aideen Kennedy, Kirsteen O’Sullivan and Lindsey Armstrong are lined up as presenters – a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by local commentators. Alan in Belfast for example, reflects…

It’s certainly good news for the local media industry … every report requires someone to accompany the presenter to do the filming. And it’s good news for local female presenters that are securing practically all of the on-screen roles for the Irish News and the Belfast Telegraph.

I can see the benefits of this approach. Macmillan seems to have a good hold on the non-traditional outputs, so hyper-local branding could work in a secondary market. But what else will it give the Telegraph and their journalists?

From a broader newspaper video approach I can see shades of the Studio55 vs Timescast debate in the stylistic approaches the Irish News and The Telegraph have taken. Comparing the two you can see the different approaches clearly.

Press Gazette calls the Irish News content “you-tube” style. I agree, but not in the fuzzy-yank way the Telegraph try and sell it. The BT approach may as well be ITV news.

Irish News TV

For me I like the Irish News more the than the Telegraph. The footage ‘dropped in” to the slick links of the Telegraph looks wrong to me. I get much more “personality” from the IN.

update: I’m not the only one who thinks that The BT missed the mark. Adrian Monck thinks it’s a “Nice try, but again it’s ‘smart idea meets mundane execution'” time.

See what you think:

3 Replies to “Newspaper video: Belfast Telegraph goes TV”

  1. Hi there Andy, I’m the deputy editor of the Tele you referred to so eloquently above.

    An interesting and enjoyable piece, but I would like to make some points.

    1. Quality: You would not put up with inferior websites, or badly designed newspapers. So why on earth should the public endure inferior broadcasting on the web just because it’s from a newspaper? Papers invest vast amounts of energy and money on their brand – why would we thrown that away by producing poor quality products?

    2. The news bulletin at launch date was the starting point. We don’t copy broadcasters, we bring newspaper values to TV in a watch-able way via the web. If you go on now (late Feb), you will hear the distinctly un-coached sounds of our reporters with their local accents breaking stories that leave broadcasters scrambling to follow up. In the past week or so, we have revealed a big sex abuse probe at a hospital for psychologically disturbed patients, a bugging scandal at Masonic HQ in Belfast and a secret plan to slash £300 million from the budget of our police force. We are big on showbiz, too, which, when local TV bothers to cover it, is so sycophantic it’d make you sick.

    3. The news bulletin is just a tiny part of our multimedia approach, don’t be fixated with it. We are forging ahead with our video and audio journalism and a range of other measures. First, we need to train our staff … then you’ll see the results.

    I enjoy the blog, keep up the good work.

    Paul Connolly

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