Newsclipper: Why video matters

I’d just finished replying to a comment on the newspapers & video post when a post from Techcrunch popped up in my RSS feed and highlighted exactly why any media outlet who is doing video online needs to take it seriously.

Techcrunch highlights Newsclipper, a sort of Google News for video. It’s only sweeping the big American broadcast networks, and there are copyright issues here, but with video becoming a popular medium or both broadcast and print outlets online it’s only going to be a matter of time before somebody, probably Google or Yahoo, come out with something similar (or buy up a Newsclipper-esque site) that trawls the web for video news from media outlets.

This should, and I realise I’m making a few massive assumptions here, make online video for news easier to search for and will provide a far more effective link than just embedding on YouTube (sites should still continue to embed on YouTube – the more you’re getting your clips out there, the more they’re going to be seen, even if it isn’t easy to get the views up with some much swishing around on there).

A larger Newsclipper-style site probably won’t be too far down the line. That means good video is even more important when you’ve got a tool that will put the wheat next to the chaff and let the audience sort it.

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While I’m here, it’s worth highlighting an example of video done well by the Reading Evening Post. I really like this video of chef Anthony Worrall Thompson visiting Reading FC captain Graeme Murtyto dish up a spot of chili lobster. It feels like a small snippet from a show like Saturday Kitchen.

A quick browse around Get Reading’s video news is a mixed bag but shows there are clearly staff there who can frame a shot and edit together a 2-3 minute piece pretty well. There are videos on there that do the simple things well and, with a bit of training, aren’t far off broadcast quality.

If I’m being picky, the white balance is out on some videos, while others could benefit from a tad more trimming. A bit more quality control could be exercised in places as well – there are some videos on there for the sake of being videos.

Also, the sound quality varies, although I’d suspect that’s as much to do with low-quality microphones than anything else. [1]

All of which raises the question: if they’ve got people who can shoot and edit properly, why are the news bulletins so poor?

[1] And I’ve fucked up sound more times than I’d care to remember. My favourite was spending an hour driving out to Bridgend and coming back with perfectly shot footage and a well-framed interview and no sound. I had the dunce’s hat on for the rest of the week, not to mention the kitten-up-tree stories.

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