Reflections on the life of a videojournalist

Having spent April 1 shadowing the two-person web video team at the Express and Star, I came away with:

  • 3 minutes 41 seconds of video footage
  • 14 minutes of audio
  • 54 photos

After a day spent gathering the material I then spent approximately two days editing it for the piece on the site, entailing two slideshows with audio (40s and 48s), one audio clip (6mins 49s) and one video clip (2 mins 20s).

Okay – so I’ve not been specifically trained as a multimedia reporter, which might not make me the fastest when it comes to editing. But essentially two days work resulted in one feature.

Similarly, on the Express and Star‘s team, videojournalist Victoria Hoe spent two hours boiling down 16 minutes of footage into a 1min 50s final package.

The Express and Star’s set up with a dedicated video team trained on a Press Association videojournalism course means that it’s time well spent: they put up around 20 videos a week – many shot, edited and published in the same day – and are using the medium in a variety of ways to add value to other areas or stories on the site, as well as for standalone pieces.

But not all publishers have such well-established roles and departments and, having now experienced it first hand, trying to be an all-in-one multimedia reporter/editor/publisher is extremely time consuming.

This is why I voted for ‘Not on its own – video has to be part of a mixed media package from papers in the digital age’ in Journalism.co.uk’s poll on whether video can save newspapers.

While creating such a role may enable publishers to stretch their resources and staff to increase their multimedia content, the benefits of doing this for staff and the resulting content must be slim. As it is so time-consuming, surely it’s better to get it right?

From my day out last week ‘right’ to me means seeing video as a new way of storytelling. It can work with text, but should add something new to text articles and not just as a scripted piece to camera rehashing the article.

The VJs I spoke to said it was crucial to think visually and in sequences to ensure you get all the shots needed while on location. Think visually and video can become a great medium for explaining and representing stories in an alternative way to print.

What’s more it’s another way to reach out to your audience and new members of that readership, so if set up and executed well it will add value – and hopefully traffic – to your site.

One thought on “Reflections on the life of a videojournalist

  1. bill lemorande

    I see this type of journalism as a tremendous financial opportunity for the struggling newspaper industry.

    I believe it would be best executed as a writer and a videographer working together. Rather than one person trying to do both jobs.

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