Living in a Video World

I was having a beer with an old newspaper photographer the other day and he was complaining. This guy is highly respected by the reporters he works with and has won a number of awards. He knows how to capture the essence of a story in one perfectly composed still frame.

Trouble is, newspapers want more than that these days. He has been told he must also provide video with a small consumer camcorder. He sets it up on a tripod and pushes the button. All his editors care about is getting a moving image and some sound of the interview for the website. But that too will change and the editors will eventually demand better quality.

There used to be a defined difference between doing a newspaper interview and a television clip. Newspaper stories tended to be longer and you had the opportunity to explain things to the reporter, perhaps influencing the tone or focus of the story. But television interviews are judged by how you look and sound – 70 percent of what anyone remembers from a TV story is a visual impression. The actual words tend to be forgotten.

As newspapers expand their on-line video coverage, it will have an effect on how people prepare for the interviews. If every interview is a video interview, then every interview is a performance.


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