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1/ A quick thread about the pivot to video in journalism, inspired by...
81 replies and sub-replies as of Aug 01 2017

3/ It’s got over a million views already, so on that level it’s a success! But it doesn’t have @WIRED’s normal journalistic rigor
4/ If you follow @businessinsider on Twitter or FB you’ve seen many similar pieces, generally very fluffy and positive about #brands
5/ All of this is a function of the simple fact that video is expensive!
6/ So if you want to pump out video at volume, you’re at the mercy of #brands who are happy to send you glossy EPKs
7/ People love to watch glossy video, so you get lots of views by turning those EPKs into editorial content.
8/ The inevitable consequence is that outlets which would never just publish a press release as news, do just that if it’s in video form.
9/ People like @hblodget will point to the popularity of such things and say that hey, people clearly want them, who are we to judge.
10/ But EICs should be wary, all the same. Once you let the #brands make your editorial content for you, you lose something precious.
11/ All of which is to say, the move to video is fraught on a deep editorial level. Standards *will* slip. Are you OK with that?
PS Yes, this is the ultimate example of what I’m talking about. This is NOT a sponsored post!
You can now use your fingerprint as a boarding pass on select Delta​ flights
The "business" of this would make a great Slate Money topic. Someone is getting money here, right?
there is a limit to how much news can shift to video, as video consumes more time, less pieces are seen. reader/viewer time is finite.
Standards have already slipped.
How much is video about the alliteracy / functional literacy problem? The stats on US reading levels are Sad!…
Nope. Not okay with it. Video production costs have plunged in many areas of low budget corporate/promotional video.
Journalist can operate under same lower budget parameters without relying on EPKs. Video can enhance the editorial perspective of the journo
The question isn't is video less expensive now than it was awhile ago. The question is is it more expensive than what it's replacing: print.
True. It's not apples to apples either though. A million views is a bit more than most articles would get. As an extreme example. 😃
As outlets bulk up video output and cut back on print output, their trying to match their cost-per-pageview - and EPKs bring down cost.
I'd like to think that vacuous slick eye candy won't keep people interested, but who am I kidding.
TV news cos relay (4 free) more than produce it; rely on print news org infrastructures, institutional memory, projo man hrs into production
The problem is that pretty video still $$, and outlets that wouldn't think of reprinting PR text will use EPK video to attract eyeballs
I hate it when i click on what i think is n interesting story and it turns out to be video.
Also dpnds how much of overall vid portfolio the brand content occupies. Need other content people love to have an aud to watch brand vids.
We are addicted to free glossy stuff. It's damn hard to resist. Thinking is hard.
More typical is pivot to AJ+ style Getty images + animated text aggregated news re-caps. I say this as a filmmaker/video journalist myself.
Fine. There will be a bifurcation of fluff video and more substantial text-based journalism, appealing to different segments
Shift to video has nothing to do with consumer preference and everything to do with ad rates
Almost all of what you just said could be said of access-driven journalism. Free glossy footage does entice many. So does celebrity.
Point being: republishing PR is a choice folks have made, and will continue to make, for years. And it's our choice whether to watch.
EPKs and crappy TV has been around for years. The beauty of the internet is the audience does show a better way is possible.
Same thing that happened to local news.
* local _TV_ news.
local tv news is forced to run those segments because of the parent owner - wired doesn't have to run them
Yep. Exactly same playbook
VICE built docs from stock + stand-ups for years. Think they might use their own library to build videos for brand partners now?
All true & using only EPK on 7-min "story" is nuts. Also, using EPK doesn't preclude reporting / telling stories that meet standards.
After all, many of the videos in question are text-based videos, the video itself an after thought.
Seems akin to ALEC and lobbyists writing legislation for legislators.
will never watch Internet video.
Henry Blodget is a CONVICTED CRIMINAL (and failed to receive pardon from Obama, so that holds) who is funded by, you guessed it, Jeff Bezos!
...And Bezos of course was beneficiary of the crime that got Blodget BARRED from financial industry for LIFE! Whatchya worry abt BI ethics?
I'd much rather read than watch a video
aka VNR's (video news release), -fake news segments. Like a PR (press release) coming from the WH (4X) not produced by journos or news orgs.
Use of VNRs is not new. New for print news orgs. Marketing & PR VNRs have been slipped into TV news programs here & there for a long time.
When Trump bombed Syria, some of those clips in TV news of equipment involved were manufacturer marketing VNR given to military, (+ DoD VNR)
Worse: marketing VNR that play like news segs (some even have phony newscasters) & pass as news segs & 'intro' 2 fawning analysis/commentary
There's a chance that this is pretty Tesla-specific (or gadget/toy-specific). I, for example, only deign to watch local news bloopers.
Does advertising even work?
The reason outlets like video is higher ad $ - it was the same pitch for VR. But if the quality isn't there it gets old fast.
Increasingly vloggers / YouTube disprove idea high quality needs huge resources, @CaseyNeistat great example: news orgs need skills AND cash
You should probabaly check the Vice economics - they are making good quality videos very cheap
Not actually that expensive to produce anymore, even editorial-side. But, crucially, requires less wordy thinky chasey mindstrain than news.
Agreed…with the added wrinkle that Musk brings out the worst in tech/biz outlets. See, for instance, Wired’s text
This hed/breathless description juxtaposition is…[kisses fingers]
Hmm hard to know how many of those views are real, brands pay publications for x number views and then publications pay YT to hit those no's
I'd argue that a lot of Wired's written work is advertorial-like too
Yeah this gave me pause
So what you suggest is you're an advocate for a subscription based, ad free model?
nothing wrong with that
None. Folks are going to have to pay for their journalism or we're all going to suffer. Whether it's your local paper or national site.
But the standards don't have to slip if priorities are maintained throughout the process. And part of the goal.
I don't like watching news videos in general. I'd always much rather read. I think video counts aren't accurate though on most news sites
I hatevideos. I hate that they pop up when I'm trying to read the damned story. They often get stuck & cause my browser to freeze
I don't have the freeze issue but I suffer from the same annoyance as you when something is just blaring.
I think the play numbers get distorted from people reading stuff at work with mute on and videos just playing away.
Yep, happens to me ALL THE TIME and which is why I dislike e-newspaper or articles. Can't express how annoying it is.
The 'shift to video' is also an excuse to lay off more expensive legacy editorial employees and train up newer, shinier ones.
competent, experienced video pros are just as pricy as staff writers and require more infrastructure.
True! & good ones will always be in demand. But the video shift is laying off writers who perhaps provide less bang 4 ad buck.
Plus editorial video just coming into its own so lots of newer talent to bring in
i agree with some of this but I know good video is possible. @seattletimes for instance, has amazing vid team.
they aren't doing Tesla commercials.
Another problem with video: it's normally intended to be watched at certain speed. Text makes a better use of people's time and preferences.
Maybe worth noting that both examples here are brands - b2c where advertorial is a business model.
Not questioning the main point about standards but it's not editorially aberrant to see this type of video in that context.