Portable video has gotten lighter and simpler enough to change the way local news is gathered.
And it can help papers thrive in a competitive media industry, a former editor now teaching journalism said.
Spot-on Video Editing
What: A how-to workshop with digital news guru John Strauss on the basics of shooting video and editing and presenting it using low- or no-cost tools
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 19
Where: Art & Journalism Building, Ball State University, Muncie
Cost: $30 by April 22 and $45 after that date. Lunch will be provided.
Registration and information: Look for the brochure mailed to your newsroom or click here for more information and to download a form.
Even small community newspapers are facing competition for ad dollars online, said John Strauss of Ball State University, a former online and print newspaper editor and reporter with a background at The Associated Press and in radio and television.
That’s why Strauss stresses websites populated with short updates and multimedia.
“The new media competitors offer much less quality, but their costs are also lower so they can make money on the Web,” Strauss said. “We have to be sure that they don’t take away our audience by offering something – quick, newsy video – that we can do even better.”
Strauss speaks to journalism groups across the country about what he calls “light” video, which features relatively low-cost equipment that’s easy to use. He’ll teach Hoosier journalists the basics of putting video on the web during a seminar sponsored by HSPA Foundation on May 19 at Ball State University.
Spot-on Video Editing will cover how to produce multimedia packages that complement newspapers’ print product – with little money, training or time invested, said Karen T. Braeckel, Foundation director.
“Many of us can record video on simple cameras – even cell phones,” she said. “But then what? How do you decide what to keep and what to delete? How do you make it look professional?
“This workshop will answer those questions.”
In the hands-on course, journalists will learn to log in video files, handle edits and audio transitions and upload files to the Web, she said. It also will touch on the basics of gathering photos and sound.
The cost is $30 by April 22 and $45 after that date.
“The HSPA Foundation subsidizes this program to allow members to participate at a reasonable rate that even includes lunch,” Braeckel said.
Registration information has been sent to member newsrooms. To download a form, go to hspafoundation.org/ events and click the appropriate link under “Spot-on Video Editing.”
Participants will work in a state-of-the-art computer lab at Ball State University’s Art and Journalism Building. Strauss plans to cover video-editing software programs that come standard on most computers – Final Cut Express for Mac users and Windows Moviemaker for PC users – but will be flexible depending on the needs of the class.
“Our philosophy for this workshop is to teach the most widely available equipment,” he said. “Most of these editing programs are pretty similar. So if reporters learn to use one setup they’ll be in good shape to use just about any video-editing equipment.”
Newspapers routinely send reporters out with video-capable, point-and-shoot cameras, he said. New devices, including cell phones that shoot high-definition video, weigh mere ounces and can be carried in a pocket.
The growing consensus is that speed and newsworthiness are more important than technical perfection on the Web, Strauss said.
“Light video is just another part of digital-first publishing,” Strauss said. “This doesn’t mean giving up on print newspapers. It means starting stories online and giving readers some of the things that we can’t do in print: breaking news, documents, databases, light video.”
In practice, an “everybody carries” attitude toward cameras is essential, he said. Reporters shoot headshots of their interview subjects and take other pictures when the regular photo staff isn’t available. They have their video capability on hand when a news event warrants it.
A reporter at a fire, for example, could get enough Web video to create a 60-second look at the blaze. A conversation with the commander on the scene could yield quotes for a short story and sound bites.
In a field with no shortage of buzzwords – user-submitted content, reader engagement and interactive storytelling among them – Strauss has a catchphrase of his own:
“We should call this ‘commando video’,” he said.
“We have to think of ourselves as fighting a serious challenge to quality community news. “The good news is, this is our turf – local news,” he said. “Nobody does that better than our reporters and photographers. This is about making sure they have the tools and training to win.”
For more information on Spot-on Video Editing, click here or call (317) 803-4772.