Web video journalism vs. TV video journalism

First of all, whether we realize it or now, we’ve all become very familiar with the cliches of television journalism. That’s NOT what we’re doing online.

See, TV journalism is made to be watched on a TV, and that means:

  • The audience is passive.
  • It is shown on relatively large screens.
  • The segments are designed around commercial breaks.
  • It’s linear – there is a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Viewers often recognize the anchors and the reporters.
  • Viewers often have the TV on in the background while they do other things.

But people don’t watch online videos on TVs. They watch them on their desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. And they watch and interact with the videos in different ways.

So, how might web video journalism be different?

Here are some ideas to start…

Information might be the same, but the presentation is key to whether or not it will be watched and shared.
See same story by a local on-camera local reporter (2011) and ESPN’s website (2011). Note they are same length.

Authenticity and audience are key. 
Check out Black Gold Boom, a great interactive video about North Dakota’s oil boom.

Rely less on voice-overs and stand-ups.
See Beat poet uses ballpoint pens, not drum machines, NewsWorks (2011)

Cellphones will be there before the satellite truck and TV crew.
See Osama is Dead! Parade at Rowan University (2011)

Not confined by the TV schedule and commercial breaks. It can be short (like this six second highlight of a surfing contestor long (like this 8:33 video by student journalists about the Gulf Coast oil spill.)

It can be interactive and non-linear.
See 100 Gallons, UNC Chapel Hill (2012)

When everyone is a content creator, know what makes your video stand out.
Often, it’s the people. Here’s a cool video about a comic book shop owner in New York. And here’s another about a unique physics teacher. And yet another about a man setting out to hold the World Record for breaking the most World Records.

It can be more experimental and creative. You can help define what online video journalism becomes.
See Words, Radiolab and NPR (2010)

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