Wednesday, March 05, 2008

We've trained a million -- no, a billion on video!

Turns out that even Corporate is having trouble staying on message about the online video program that's caused so much comment on this blog in recent days, here and here.

Consider these dueling figures on the number of journalists who've become videographers -- one from CEO Craig Dubow, the other from news division Senior Vice President Phil Currie:
  • Dubow, 2007 Annual Report, Feb. 28: "More than 800 journalists are shooting video for their newspaper websites."
  • Currie, News Watch, Feb. 21: "in the past two years we at Gannett have provided equipment and trained more than 600 newspaper journalists -- reporters, photographers, editors -- to shoot and edit video."

Don't these guys work near each other? Couldn't they have just flipped a coin? Use this link to e-mail feedback, tips, snarky letters, etc. See Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the sidebar, upper right. Or leave a note in the comments section, below.

[Photo: Dr. Evil, who couldn't keep his numbers straight, either]


  1. Fantastic pic of Dr. Evil, but isn't it possible that 200 staffers already had been trained prior to the last two years?

  2. I'm not sure how: The video training program was rolled out in August 2006. And while we think of online video as ubiquitous these days, consider this: YouTube, which basically created the whole online video phenomenon, was only founded in February 2005 -- and didn't start to get serious traction until summer 2006.

    Whether it's 800, 700 or 600 matters less. What matters more: Corporate loves to throw around big numbers like this -- when they suit Corporate's needs. But I spent a lot of time in my Gannett career, pulling together All America and Well Done contest entries and other such stuff. I know how these numbers get magically created when the need is suddenly there.

    If two guys, working in adjacent offices, can't even get the numerical spin right, why should anyone in the field treat anything they say as credulous. Dueling figures like the ones I cited in this post only make folks in the field roll their eyes -- and Corporate needs to know that.

  3. Those numbers are laughable lies.

    Let me tell you what happened at the Asbury Park Press when Gannett rolled out its digital initiative: A handful of reporters, and I mean like four people, received training down in Virginia. The rest of us (and I was on the newly-assembled breaking newas team) were given Treos and what not and told to get to work. Even the reporter who was trained to shoot video did so but a handful of times before leaving the paper - the photographers did the lion's share of video.

    Those people who received training were supposed to in turn train their peers. This never really happened.

    What's hilarious about video is that unless it's of a burning building or car crash, no one watches them. At the APP the web hit numbers spoke this fact loud and clear, yet they and other local rags cling to the mindset that they must have video to be relevant.

  4. You guys are right, let's ask the 10 years old kid to shoot the video and get the news on the web. If we don't fix this attitude we will all be out of job soon. If you need to train you peers, then do, otherwise, don't bitch when you get the pink slip.

  5. 800! are you serious where do they work in INDIA

  6. Jim, it's hard to imagine you ever worked at McLean. Do you really think that Currie's office is next to Dubow's? They're at least 7 floors apart.

  7. News to me! (I worked at McLean just three weeks over the nearly eight years I was with USA Today. I was never invited to the Corporate Tower.)

  8. I don't know what's more unbelievable: the current pitiful state of local broadcast news or the idea that in order to be better than local broadcasters, a print reporter or photog needs only three days of training.


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