Recently I was having a chat with a formet co-worker about the publication we worked togther at. They still work there, whereas I’ve moved on. They asked me what suggestions I had for helping increase the site’s visibility. I thought for a moment about it, then realized I’d approached the editors about this very issue a few months prior, when I was still working there.
This paper was lacking a lot, but the one point that stuck out was its extremely limited use of multimedia.
In 2008 many newspapers worldwide began experimenting with video on their Web sites. Some saw great success, while others made great efforts but returned mediocre products, and lost money in the process.
Then there’s the third category, of papers too scared to do anything with video because they’re afraid of the prospect of it not being instantly profitable. They were unwilling to take a chance on something that was “unproven.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Newspapers worldwide utilize freelancers. Recently their use has become increased due to reductions in full-time staffing. Often those freelancers are writers and photographers. What I’m suggesting is the freelance realm be expanded to videographers. Specifically, college videographers and those who’ve just graduated.
I noted in a previous post that interns and freelancers want to prove themselves to editors. They want their meddle tested. Photojournalism students are being taught the ways of videography in their degree programs, so why not use their skills? Pay them like a standard freelancer, and pay only for a product that you will run.
There’s the argument that the video won’t be good enough quality, them being still in college. If I were a college photojournalist, I’d be thoroughly insulted by that. Just because they’re in college, learning a craft, does not mean they’re not able to perform. As the editor you’re able to pick who you think would work best for you, and then offer those people the opportunity to prove you right or wrong.
Newspapers should be in constant contact with their local journalism departments, learning about who’s talented in their programs, and who they should be reaching out to for freelance videography jobs. You’ll have to pay them, sure, but it won’t be a lot. And in return the paper has a lot of multimedia content to choose from.
Whether it’s audio, video or soundslides you’re looking for, the best place to go for it is your local journalism department. You’ve got the best and the brightest there, and they all want the chance to show you what they know.