Friday, 15 November 2013

Video First @ News Xchange

I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at News Xchange 2013 in Marrakech. One of the sessions I managed to attend was on the idea of “video first, bulletins next”, the idea being that it’s better to shoot video then assemble it into a story for TV later, rather than deciding on the TV needs and then shooting for them. The panellists were from NOS in the Netherlands, DR in Denmark and YLE in Finland, all of which are publicly funded broadcasters.

The Danish take on this subject was to divide the newsroom into specialist subject areas – politics, economics and so on – nothing new there, except that they also have a “news engine” team, who’s role is to create raw feeds on stories – sometimes from the specialists, but mainly from their own journalists and then assemble that at the behest of DR channels. It’s an interesting concept in that the news engine acts as a kind of internal news marketplace, where content is placed for use by any of the programmes or channels in DR. On slow news days, the journalists are free to go and research and record whatever stories interest them.

Another titbit, DR also has a data team, composed of people who understand math better than journos and can therefore create stories from data rather than investigative journalism.

NOS have a slightly different take on the theme. In their business the stories are still decided on in the same way as they’ve always been, but the raw content is fed to the web straight away. It’s assembled for broadcast later. This can include interviews being streamed near live.

YLE’s contribution was a more human one. The challenge of this idea of creating stories from fragments and the journalist being responsible only for the latter causes problems for the traditional employee of a newsroom, who’s often come into the business to make little movies about news and take the credit. The idea of shooting content for someone else to use and take credit for is very difficult for them to accept. I can see this being an issue – gathering is unglamorous without the kudos of doing the gathering. This is also often the issue with citizen journalism, as it happens.

I’d imagine the stories often lose a portion of the narrative and are more difficult to follow when assembled in this way… And yes – I’m posting this from the conference centre, just to demonstrate the point ;).

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