Social videography – the future of short-term multimedia?

Posted on

Admittedly, the majority of projects I highlight on II are long-term multimedia projects. However, that does not imply that good multimedia takes weeks to produce.

In this changing environment, it is crucial that producers are capable of turning around stories on a daily basis for our news-hungry users. We all know Flash interactives are extremely time consuming, so are videos the best option for short-term multimedia?

Alexandra Wharton, Vice President of Marketing and Community at, wrote me an email talking about the importance of short-term multimedia.

“While I do not question the value and craft of long-form multimedia, I would love to see more outlets focus on creating regular short-form multimedia that is equally accessible on the television and computer as it is on the iPhone. As print news audiences continue to decline while the blogosphere grows exponentially it is Newsy’s brand of curated multimedia [that] is a sustainable model for the future of journalism and it should be examined with equal attention as long-form multimedia journalism.”

Will Sullivan of recently pointed out some startling statistics about video consumption that signal the strong future of video journalism. Furthermore, Angela Grant of has also been pointing out recent online video studies.

From these studies we know that users are increasingly wanting videos, and we know that videos take less time to produce than interactive graphics, audio slide shows and other multimedia packages. But, an important question is whether users are strictly interested in watching videos on social networking sites.

Colin Mulvany of MasteringMultimedia wrote a recent post titled, “Leveraging social media to gain video page views.” In it, he discusses ways to promote videos on news sites using social media to make the pageviews match the effort that went into producing the video.

For any journalist who has produced videos and watched the dwindling numbers, this is an all too familiar feeling: “A common complaint I hear from other video producers is that their news and feature videos are not getting the page views they had hoped for. I too, have struggled with this since I started posting video stories on my newspaper’s Web site five years ago,” Mulvany blogged.

The New York Times published an article on Sunday, “Now on YouTube – Local News,” about local news organizations posting videos on YouTube and sharing the profit revenue.

“To date, nearly 200 news outlets have signed up with YouTube to post news packages and split the revenue from the advertisements that appear with them. In addition, Google searches now show YouTube videos alongside news articles, helping the videos reach a wider audience.”

Regardless what format you consider short-term multimedia, everyone seems to be in agreement that daily turn-around visuals are what keeps the boat afloat. From the sampling of sources listed above, I would argue that videography is the answer for sustainable short-term multimedia. Furthermore, video journalists need to utilize YouTube, Vimeo and other social media sites to secure this growing community of video enthusiasts.

For even more insight into this topic, here is a sampling of what my followers on Twitter had to say:

Mindy McAdams from Teaching Online Journalism commented about the importance of factoring in the ratio of the project’s shelf life to the production time when deciding on a short-term project. The majority of videos out there, regardless of storyline, pass this test.

Flash developer Jason Tucker also brought up a great point: “Short-term multimedia projects help fund long-term multimedia projects. And if scalable, they can be used for breaking news.”

Lastly, MNN multimedia producer Nick Scott probably said it best:

“They keep the likes of you and I employed!”

Tags: , , , ,

  • duckrabbit

    spot on (as ever) get your work into as many spaces as possible I guess is the maxim.

  • Pingback: Wardrobe designer

  • Chris Jordan

    Great post! The only thing I would dispute is that an Audio Slideshow can definitely be produced in the same amount of time as a video if you are dealing with a well-trained photographer/multimedia producer. I am referring to both soundslides (exported to video or shared in flash) as well as photo/audio stories told with final cut.

    Thanks for all the great work you do on this blog.

    Chris Jordan

  • Pingback: Dale Cressman

  • Pingback: Multimedia » Innovative Interactivity | Social videography – the future of …

  • Pingback: Agência Diga!

  • Pingback: Tatov

  • Pingback: TVN Lab

  • Tracy Boyer

    Thanks for your input, Chris. I’m surprised @duckrabbit didn’t also comment on audio slide shows …

    Although Soundslides makes it easy, I would still argue that there is a quicker turn-around time for videos than for audio slide shows.

    Videos can be edited on the fly using one program, whereas you need at least three editing software for audio slide shows (Photoshop for images, Audacity for audio, Soundslides for combo). This complex post-production process eats up valuable time.

    Furthermore, I would argue that it takes longer to capture a sequence of strong images for a slide show than it does 2-3 minutes of decent video footage.

    I almost feel the heated conversation after typing that last comment … Other opinions are welcome!

  • Chris Jordan

    Hi Tracy –

    I see your point, and for non-photographers this could be true. I personally do all of my editing right in Final Cut after toning the images in photoshop. Now that you make your case I can see that for someone who is not photo and photoshop savy, the ASS could take more time. For me personally I find importing and editing video to be a massive time suck. This probably has to do with the fact that I am still learning video and therefore shoot entirely too much in every situation. But hey, practice makes perfect right.

    Regardless of this debate, the important thing is that audiences are up and stories are being told in interesting ways.

    Hope all is well and keep rockin’


  • Pingback: zefred

  • Pingback: links for 2009-08-05 | News Videographer

  • Adam Westbrook

    A really good point Tracey; I think there is a strong demand for the latest news *now* as well as more attractive in-depth pieces.

    As for the debate about audio slideshows, I agree with Chris, I think they can be as quick to put together as video.

    I’ve just started using Soundslides and although it is a bit clunky, probably no more so than FCP was when I first used that!

    I wonder though, for daily news stories, could there also be an appetite for raw multimedia? Unedited footage of press conferences or speeches, original documents and photographs…do they always need to be packaged?

  • Kevin Cesarz

    On Adam’s comment: “I wonder though, for daily news stories, could there also be an appetite for raw multimedia? Unedited footage of press conferences or speeches, original documents and photographs…do they always need to be packaged?”
    I think the next step for journalists (and a future discussion on the Poynter site) is to secure credibility with “un-edited” content to accompany a concise, crafted news story. The Palin/Obama video hubbubs around “out of context” and misquoting could be solved with two pieces of video content – edited and unedited.

  • Tracy Boyer

    @Kevin I definitely agree with you that unedited footage can provide the credibility that is many times needed, but I also think we can’t assume our users have the hours necessary to watch the raw take. Therefore, you are extremely right that it should be given IN ADDITION to an edited down version.

  • Kevin Cesarz

    Agreed. The majority of readers/viewers are scanners, and it will continued to be that way regardless of format. Try some unedited (no narration) news footage on
    Silence is golden, sometimes.

  • Pingback: Sam Meddis

  • duckrabbit

    A quickly thrown together audio slideshow is unlikely to generate traffic(though not impossible). On the whole they need to be crafted and this is time consuming. I guess it depends what you are trying to achieve.

    Paul Kerley seems to work fast and do a great job on the BBC

  • Pingback: David Anderson

  • Pingback: LECTURNITY

  • Pingback: Markus Huendgen

  • Pingback: Recommended Links for August 13th | Alex Gamela - Digital Media & Journalism

  • Pingback: Video beast: Feeding the appetite for raw media |

Email Subscription

RSS Subscription