Newspapers vs TV

Less blips on the blogging radar this week as I have been preparing and running a training course on Video for print journalists.

The whole area of the use of video online by non-traditional broadcasters is of real interest to me at the moment. – which I suppose is a nice way of saying I am fascinated by the spin the newspaper industry is getting in to over video on their websites. – so two posts from TV people on the phenomenon caught my eye.

Mark Hamilton, a journalism tutor in Canada, highlights what he sees as the arrogance of the newspaper industry in its approach to video.

The post was prompted by a post from US TV cameraman Stewart Pittmans (lenslinger) with the ominous title “fish wrap video”. He takes Howard Owens to task for what he sees as myopic arrogance in the face of a “hemorrhaging market share”. He singles out this quote

“It’s my personal bias of course, but I think newspaper journalists naturally produce better video stories than TV. Newspaper reporters begin with two advantages — no preconceived notions about time limits, and no preconceived notions about hyping up the story — they are more likely to let the story tell itself and edit it for interest, not time.”

Hamilton runs with the apparent bullishness of Owens quote, suggesting that TV isn’t preaching adherence to its form; simply recognition of its experience in producing video

I’ve written that newspapers shouldn’t take the model of TV newscast video as The Model as they move into video. There’s so much potential with the form, and so much about the internet that frees storytellers from the traditional strictures of time straight-jackets and the need to get the talent on camera.

In that respect I can agree with their view. There is a lot to learn and chief amongst those is how to keep online video short! But I also think they missed Owens wider point.

Lenslinger finishes his post with a warning to those who would, apparently dismiss the importance of TV.

Perhaps TV news isn’t the pristine verbiage currently rotting in my driveway, but neither is it graffiti. Come to grips with that and you just may have a future in moving pictures. Otherwise, I’ll see you at the revolution.

I’ll be the one eating your lunch.

What Owens is saying is that we are defined by our audience. Newspapers do well with a local (and now, if we must use the term, hyper-local) audiences, but traditionally they have competed with local TV. Video on the web gives newspapers the chance to go toe-to –toe with them on their own turf.

One of the reasons I wanted us to aggressively pursue video in Ventura was video seemed like an opportunity. When you consider all the ways that newspapers are being disrupted, why not spend a little time to try and figure out who newspapers can disrupt — among the chief candidates: Local television.

Newspapers aren’t really after your jobs, they are after your audience.
Whilst you’re eating their lunch, they are dancing with your date.

4 Replies to “Newspapers vs TV”

  1. Can we email…I’m a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Assn and just particpated in a workshop for our members. More than one hundred still folks and only four video members. It felt as if the still people had just discovered this new medium and did not want to communicate with their broadcast brothers. Strangly enough the first session of my workshop (basics of nonlinear) was packed with still people who wanted in the the secrets of producing/shooting/editing. They were excited and passionate…and it concerns me that THEY were, but not the TV folks.

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