Adrian Monck: Monck’s Maxims® for online video

Adrian Monck has penned a piece of the BBC’s Journalism training website reflecting on online video.

His summing up starts in to the digital illiteracy discussion that kicked up here a few posts ago (which I want to comment on)

For all the hub-a-hubba and newsroom redesigns, newspaper power online resides with newspaper people, the younger of whom now ‘get’ online. But, if you look at where video journalism could be heading, the presentational equivalents of content visionaries like Adrian Holovaty haven’t yet stormed the executive barricades.

So, a quick review of video online tells you newspaper guys are still in charge of newspapers, and TV and radio people at the BBC control the commissioning strings for the content that ends up online.

If companies are serious about video innovation, then we need a faster, less destructive and less threatening route than managerial regime change. And a serious commissioning budget for online video to go with it.

A valuable perspective, and a good point. With money comes identity, so a serious online video budget might be a good step, especially for the beeb. But on a practical level he also comes up with Monck’s Maxims® of online video.

1. No newscasters. News anchoring is a presentational trope borne of the complex organizational demands of analogue TV studios. The newscast is to online as Top of the Pops is to YouTube.

2. Make sense. Reporters need to deliver their own intros/lead-ins, to camera or over picture or graphics. Images and clips need labelling if they’re raw. The most important thing video clips online require is standalone coherence.

3. Stick to your part of the story. Reporters shouldn’t try and tell the tale in one giant wrap. Text, graphics and other sources can carry a lot of the extra context and narrative required.

4. Get graphics. Voice and video aren’t the only ways to skin the cat.

The key rule for me there is number three. – Stick to your part of the story. This is spot on. The web is multiple media medium;think different.

The rest, being presumptious, I would like to tweak:

  • No newscasters – use editors and journalists. News anchoring is a presentational trope borne of the complex organizational demands of analogue TV studios. But journalists on screen can be a trope for trust and transparency.
  • Make sense in audio and pictures. Images and clips need labelling if they’re raw but remember text may not render properly on screen given the size of player. Reporters may need to deliver their own intros/lead-ins, to camera or over picture or graphics. The most important thing video clips online require is standalone coherence.
  • Get simple graphics . Voice and video aren’t the only ways to skin the cat but graphics need to work in the limited space and image quality online players allow. If in doubt refer to Maxim 3.Stick to your part of the story.

Tweaking aside, sorry Arian, I think this is useful stuff for the debate – more how we are doing it and less why is what we need to move this along. Perhaps we can get more ‘leaks’ of content for the Beeb site to see where they are heading.

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