industry news / Training / video

Mulvaney: Newspaper video has to improve

vixiaColin Mulvaney writes an excellent post on his blog: Video at newspapers needs to improve – that I want to highlight because it’s as good a summary as any of the ways that newspaper-produced video needs to go to reach the storytelling heights that still photojournalism has reached in the past.

He identifies the following problems with much of newspaper video:

  • Storytelling
  • Bland Videos
  • Structure
  • Editing
  • Journalism
  • Narration
  • Collaboration

Some of these problems stem from the obvious fact that newspapers are still trying to figure out what works for online video, and still photographers are still learning the basics of video storytelling. And when some of the best newspaper videographers get shown the door, or land in academia (Hernandez and Gitner), or must shift careers for personal and geographical reasons, and others (like Mulvaney himself) get pulled off video duty, figuring out what works and indwelling those skills within newspaper staffers just gets that much harder.

A lot of this mediocrity is doubtless self-inflicted. Stories that work in print don’t work so well in video. Stories that benefit from video don’t always get the time they deserve to get it right.

But the greater point is that people (especially student journalists) who want to be videographers for newspapers need to spend a lot more time honing their craft. That includes paying attention to broadcast videographers. While I firmly believe that web-based video necessarily is different from broadcast video, the fact is that broadcast videographers have a lot to teach in terms of video storytelling.

Some of that honing of skills should come through classwork. But a newspaper journalist might only get a few weeks of video training in an intro class. The rest must come from practice and DIY learning (including some of the workshops Mulvaney mentions in his post above). To that end, below are several sites I’d recommend for more advanced DIY training:

Edit Foundry: Shawn Montano’s site hosted by NPPA focuses very sharply on the depths of video editing. What I like about the site is that Montano breaks down a concept – say, Video editing transitions – complete with detailed commentary across the entire video, along with screen grabs.

News Videographer: Angela Grant continues to explore videography from a newspaper veteran’s viewpoint, despite her career developments. An excellent resource.

Mastering Multimedia: Mulvaney’s blog is another excellent resource, which takes a more theoretical approach to multimedia storytelling. Even though he spends less time shooting video, his thoughts are worth the time to absorb.

Multimedia Shooter: Originally set spinning by Richard Koci Hernandez, this site is chock full of tutorials, advice, and inspiration. Not just about video, but a range of multimedia (see Multimedia Rules to Live By and Seven Steps to Train Yourself).

I’m sure there are other excellent sites around the web that focus on video gathering and editing. These are some I’m familiar with and enjoy reading. There are also some excellent sites (Mindy McAdams, among others) who devote some time to video, but also examine a much broader vista of multimedia and online journalism.

Got a favorite site for learning video techniques? Please let us know in the comments.