Thursday was kind of a milestone here at The Spokesman-Review. It was a busy day for everyone. Our MoJo (mobile journalist) Thomas Clouse called me over to his desk. He was working on a video he’d just shot of a railroad crossing emphasis patrol by local police. He was ready to export his movie, but before he did, he wanted me to view it. Clouse made the classic error of burying the lede of his video. A quick reedit made his story a 100% better. As I stepped back from his desk, I was taken aback by what I saw. Two web producers were all working in Final Cut Express producing their own videos.
Andrew Zahler was editing a piece he shot on a new local restaurant, which used unusual works of art in their decor. Thuy-Dzuong Nguyen was editing a story shot by an entertainment writer on the strange Juggalo hip-hop subculture. Both Thuy and Andrew have only been using Final Cut Express since January, but they’ve taken to it with no fear.
A few minutes later I ventured back to the photo department. In my old editing cave sat photojournalist Dan Pelle engrossed in his dual monitor setup working on a story about a high school student who is painting a mural on large fiberglass cow for a national art competition. Four people, working simultaneously, editing video for Spokesmanreview.com. I just had to smile.
For the longest time I was a videographer of one. An anomaly at my paper. Now, I’ve pretty much put myself out of the shooting business. I can no longer cherry pick the assignments that have good video potential. There are now eight people in our newsroom able to use a video camera to tell a story. It is a number that is growing–one person at a time.
A year ago, I looked out in the newsroom and asked myself what would it be like if everyone, not only had the ability to shoot and edit video, but also do it well? What would be the impact? As our website grows in reach and content, I know that multimedia will play a bigger role in how we tell stories. Mojo Thomas Clouse remarked the other day how his news video communicated the story much better than anything he could have written. This from a former word-only reporter—wow.
The next item on my plate is to reinforce the training these budding videographers already have. I need to show them ways they can be more efficient in Final Cut. How they can learn to edit in-camera so the video they shoot can be quickly edited into an engaging sequence of images. The video religion is spreading. Three more photographers are now learning Final Cut. We have capital budget for 4 more Mojo setups this year that include a laptop, video camera, and Final Cut Express.
With a coming redesign and a growing cadre of multimedia journalists, the newsroom at The Spokesman-Review is becoming a very different place from what it was just a year ago.