December 23, 2007

Newspaper Videos Blossom

We received a most welcome e-mail from our niece in Texas today. It provided an internet link to a video produced by the Lubbock (TX) Avalanche-Journal, telling the story of our grandnephew, Sergeant Shawn Walton, who was seriously wounded earlier this year in Iraq. We posted the video on the Galey Archives family web site.

Shawn has spent most of the past four months recuperating at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He’s been going through some aggressive physical therapy, and this video provided some good news for family members far and wide. The production quality of the video won’t win any awards, but it was still good news.

And these kinds of videos may also be good news for the newspaper industry. As the Fifth Estate becomes more adept at using video, perhaps they’ll also land upon a business model that will allow them to continue and expand creative uses of video and other internet tools.

Last week, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin Martin, pushed through a new media ownership rule. It will allow newspapers to own television stations in the largest markets of the country. It’s a dumb idea. There already is too much concentration of power within the media.

Chairman Martin waxed eloquent about the plight of newspapers, citing significant declines in subscriptions to many well-known dailies. He neglected to mention that despite such declines, profits within the newspaper industry remain quite high, thank you very much!

While I’m opposed to the kind of increased concentration promoted by the cross-ownership rule, I fully support the blossoming video activities being pursued by newspapers and reported extensively in a recent article in the American Journalism Review.

Even the Rapid City Journal has been getting into the game of late. I find their video offerings -- categorized under "Multimedia" to the right side of their on-line news page -- a bit sparse. The interface is a bit awkward, but I suspect that they’re still taking baby steps with the new technology. Look for them to improve over time.
Happily, Journal Editor Mikel LeForte told me some time back that the paper plans to continue its emphasis upon print reporting. They view video as merely complementing their print effort. And that’s the way it should be.

But for those of us who’ve advocated converging technologies to maximize journalistic efforts, this is a move in the right direction.

No comments: