Monday, October 23, 2006

Video Killed the newspaper group

Two articles appear on the same day which, read together, perfectly illustrate the aimlessness of the current Newsquest leadership.

Firstly, we see Newsquest editorial Obergruppenf├╝hrer Margaret Strayton claim that the firm is 'leading the way' in the world of video journalism.

Hmm, where do we start?

For one thing, Strayt jacket, taking a rare break from her usual role, which involves trying to make even the group's most inept editors look mildly useful by comparison, to trot out the usual line: "We have accepted that multi-media, embracing all distribution vehicles for our journalism – print, digital, video, podcasts, mobile phones - is where the future lies."

We'll come on to the substance of that claim later, but let's look at the facts.

Apparently all 14 'publishing centres' are now on line. So why, when I visit the website for my local newspaper, is ther neither site nor sound of any kind of video? There isn't even a blog. Could it be that, far from the comprehensive video footage Strayton claims Newsquest is actually just handing 14 video cameras around its 14 centres and made a few wild claims because it sees others doing much better? Keeping up with the Jones? You decide, but consider this, if the multimedia efforts really are something to be proud of wouldn't you be shouting from the rooftops rather than introducing them 'quietly?'

As for the quality, I'll leave that for you to judge. They don't seem to be configured for Firefoz and Internet Explorer makes Mr Osato's computer do bad things. Had a quick look at one at work and it was pretty dire - teenagers on Youtube do better every day, although in fairness it was a one-off and by no means a represenative sample.

And they might improve, with a bit of training, although every minute spent with video camera in hand is a minute lost from the parent newspaper. Chances are you end up with two poor products. If you're serious about 'growing the business' down multimedia lines why not spend some money and hire professionals?

All of a sudden this has turned into a long post (or a rant, depending on your point of view). I'll post on the second article later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting points and yes hiring profesionals would have been the right thing to do, certainly until its up and running and the staff know what they are doing. I tried to watch my local papers video content and I cant even get it to play! Colchester evening gazette or should I say MORNING! newsquest are in a mess the sonner the americans sell it off into manageable chunks the sooner the local staff and management can get back to producing decent newspapers and multimedia content the reader wants!!

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