Friday, February 11, 2011

A.P. study: Many U.S. papers cutting back on video

The Associated Press' U.S. broadcast news director says papers are cutting back primarily for financial reasons -- even though video could be a cornerstone of social media and new publishing devices, notably tablets. Kevin Roach didn't share specific findings of the study, which comprised 100 U.S. newspapers.

Gannett, like many publishers, began pushing video four years ago amid the reorganization of newsrooms into Local Information Centers. Video was meant to keep papers competitive with new digital ventures while also attracting more lucrative advertising in the form of web-style commercials.

Compared to a year ago, is your paper producing more video? Less? The same? What's the impact on ad revenue? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.


  1. Our newspaper's journey with video has been interesting. It's been difficult to do because photographers want to produce nice, polished pieces, which take more time than viewership justifies. We've seen better results with Flipcam and smartphone video shot by reporters. Not as polished but gets posted faster. Not sure viewers care as much about production values.

  2. It's all about impressions or hits. At our site (non-GCI) a successful hit total for a video might be 300-400 views. Contrast this with a photo gallery that gets thousands of impressions. Of course our photo galleries average about 40 images in them, and some as large as several hundred pictures.
    If you're a publisher what would you want your photographers doing?

  3. When they rolled out video in 2004-05ish at our site, there was a push for new video every day. Now it's infrequent. Sports still does video, and there's some kind of how-to cooking video every month, but nothing for breaking news. We pull a lot of our video from Gannett/Content One.

  4. Big mistake. With tablets, video is certainly the future. It melds TV and newspaper reporting together, so is difficult to carry out well. Newspapers should be devoting more resources to this, not less. Shows how behind great newspaper thinkers are with what they confront.

  5. I agree 11:09,
    But impressions are still king at our site.

  6. Big G spent $10k training two people how to shoot and edit 8 second commercial pre-roll ads at our site. We shot two, total revenue $600, total wage cost $735.

    I did later win an award for editing my niece's bat video. So, ah, I got THAT goin' for me.

  7. Big G papers don't have enough reporters to fill the papers, and yet management wastes money and people on videos that no one watches.

    Videos on the home pages are even worse -- they slow down the page loads and send readers to faster loading sites.

    Leave video to television. Still gallery images, and good stories of course, are more popular and powerful.

  8. I remember in 2006, when Gannett was beginning their whole "Everything's changing! We're now a Local Information Center!" garbage, there was considerable talk about how we were all going to become those "Mojos" (remember that one?) It was going to be the wave of the future! We were all supposed to be trained to shoot and edit video.

    Only thing is, the paper I was at had a total of ... wait for it ... ONE mojo. The photogs were trained. The rest of us continued to do our jobs as before, with the exception of linking the videos up with stories.

    And of course, a whole bunch of us got laid off. So I guess that was the big change they were talking about.

  9. Jim's experiences with videos have been bad. For example, the shareholders meeting.

    Sometimes, when I need a laugh, I still picture that mess.

  10. If Gannett has been pushing video the result has been half-fast at best and lazy at worst.

    The Des Moines Register had a story this weekend that demanded video: Two girls are in the Iowa high school wrestling finals for the first time. I clicked the video link with the Register story and got raw video -- no narration, not even a soundbite from the wrestler herself. (Same at the non-Gannett daily in Waterloo.)


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