Use video when it works.

One of our students, Nigel Barlow, linked in to my tips on shooting video and linked it with Pete Clifton’s comments about video on the BBC site. (reported on

Interestingly whilst Andy is extooling the virtues of online video,the BBC strangely wants it journalists to cut back on the medium.

Sorry to disappoint Nigel but no disagreement from me. I think Pete makes a great point. But I don’t think he is saying video is ‘bad’. Just that it needs to be used in a different way.

On my video course for newspaper journos we spend a while talking about why we are doing video. From a business point of view there are many commercial reasons why but when it comes to editorial I like to switch the emphasis to when: when is the right time to use video.

I have always made a point of saying that I hate the way that most web site video is channeled away, hidden in a player in some other part of the site with no relationship to the rest of the content on the site. And there I find myself in good company:

“We should think more about what that page does in the round and come up with a piece of video that absolutely complements the text… we should do less video but be much more focused on how it works and give it a higher profile where it can work alongside the story.”


2 Replies to “Use video when it works.”

  1. Agreed Andy,

    Video used in the correct way on media websites will greatly enhance that sites content.
    It is very important for journalists to establish exactly why they want to use video and it is excellent that you first establish when it is the correct time to use.

    As you say though,there is far too much video content on the web that it is simply put there because sites feel that they have to include it rather than using it in a positive way.

  2. The question that always need to be asked is: Does the story demand video? Is this a story that needs video to make a point, could the point be made better by slide show or sound or text?
    There will be a lot of pressure to use video. Partly because it has a buzz about it and has (wrongly) come to be seen as synonymous with “going digital” and partly because the new kit cost a lot and should therefor be used often. editors and reporters need to be able to resist these pressures.
    If we keep the story as our central point of departure then we will less often make mistakes.

Leave a Reply