Last week we reported on ITV News’ video blogs from its correspondents in the field and suggested that the tone and style of the posts were too similar to traditional broadcast news formats.
Ian Rumsey, head of output for ITV News, sent us this response, which lays out the reasons behind the experiment:
We’ve been experimenting with vlogs for some time and our correspondents and presenters are now providing an added dimension to our online content.
I don’t quite understand what you mean by a ‘traditional piece of broadcast news’.
These vlogs are far from traditional broadcast news. They’re rougher, edgier, sometimes more opinionated and don’t cover the same territory as our news pieces.
Earlier this year, we had Juliet Bremner showing us round the canteen and shower block in Basra. That’s far from traditional and a long way from the story she delivered for our on-air programmes.
Of course, they’re presenter driven – the whole idea is that they are not a report but a piece of behind-the-scenes filming that features the lives and conditions of our correspondents on location.
The launch of the News at Ten has seen an even greater premium placed upon eyewitness reports made by our top correspondents in the UK and right around the globe. To work in tandem with that on-air strategy, our web content taps into our location reporting – with a difference.
The stories we’re sent from location – whether in the UK or in far-away destinations – are polished, highly produced, edited pieces of reportage for television news.
So, to offer that added value we’ve asked our reporters to turn the camera, to show viewers what the locations they visit are really like, to talk to them in greater depth about the people, the places they encounter, to share the anecdotes and impressions they take away with them when they leave. The story behind getting the story.
The lives our news teams lead and the jobs they do are exciting and unpredictable, and I think we can let people in on what it’s like to really be there with them.
I think if you watched the on-air pieces that went across the week, you’d know that there was plenty of muck and bullets flying around. Clearly they provide the content for our news stories. Our vlogs reflect something different. We’re not going to ask someone to do a vlog for the web while they’re in the middle of a ‘blood and guts’ situation.
Finally, ITV News runs a very lean newsgathering operation – at home and abroad. What may seem like ‘millions of people’ to the uninitiated eye is actually a very small team compared to the plethora of staff the BBC is able to send on major stories.