Monday, October 02, 2006

The New York Times out


The New York Times has gone into TV, and I think they might want to reconsider...

One day I clicked my way to nytimes.com and, to my surprise, saw a link to "video." Being in broadcast journalism, I couldn't help but check it out.

I mean, The New York Times is an institution. You know, the paper that fought off color on the front page for years.

But now even they see that being a newspaper isn't enough. And being a web site isn't enough either. No, to compete these days or to even be in the ring, you've got to be in TV, too.

What surprised me the most, though, is that the Times gave its print reporters cameras to go out and shoot the stories that would be played on the web site.

Um, is it just me or could that pose a problem?

Well, there is a problem. The video stories are long. I mean, looooooong. Five minutes. Six minutes long. And the stories get boring. What I can't believe is that the video section on the Time's home page is prominent, yet the videos themselves...aren't that great.

TV is a short form media, and done best in one to two minute packages. Even the Sunday Morning Show on CBS, which shows birds chirping for minutes at a time, doesn't have stories as long as the ones on nytimes.com. (Hope I didn't lose you with the birds chriping reference - B.B. gets it.)

The New York Times can get away with long form journalism on a daily basis. They're the Times after all.

But when it comes to video, the Times needs to think less newspaper and more TV. Short. Concise. Good story. Great video.

Otherwise, stick to good old newsprint.

- L

2 Comments:

At Friday, October 06, 2006, Anonymous Chris Antoniacci said...

I agree pretty much with the sentiments expressed in your post, but for different reasons.

Giving a print reporter a video camera is like hiring a plumber to fix the kitchen sink and then saying, "while you're in there, put up fresh wallpaper!" (all right it's a stretch, but Professor Petrovich will forgive me). These are VERY different jobs that require VERY different skills.

For better or worse, journalism is a business as well as a service. But it seems poorly thought out to believe that the people who work in the journalism business will be able to increase and diversify their output while maintaining the quality of the work.

I'll be visiting Professor Petrovich's class on Monday, October 9 if anyone wants to continue this discussion.

 
At Saturday, October 07, 2006, Anonymous LO said...

I think journalists can pull double-duty with print and video editing...but only very skilled journalists.

Seems that people can be one or the other, but it's a rare commodity to be able to do both.

I've worked in TV with very, very talented producers and editors who couldn't write their way out of a paper bag.

And there are printer reporters who couldn't figure out how to edit a concise and worthwhile package to save their skin (case in point nytimes.com).

 

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